Social Economic Benefits of Green Buildings in Tertiary Institutions in Kenya
AbstractSustainable development is a global concern given that the natural resources are getting depleted. Conventional buildings consume a lot of electricity and water and release carbon dioxide gases into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming and air pollution. The green building concept is the practice of creating structures that are environmentally friendly and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle. Research revealed that a minimum increase in cost of two percent to support a green design results in a life cycle savings of twenty percent of the total construction costs. Cost Benefit Analysis carried out using life cycle costing shows that green buildings are cost effective investments. Green buildings address the challenges of high cost of electricity, perennial water shortages, waste disposal, and occupants’ health issues accompanied by declining abilities to learn or perform tasks. The Kenya building industry is slowly embracing the green building concept. Kenya currently uses two rating systems for green buildings; Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Green Star certifications based on specified features and points are earned. Out of the nine green buildings certified in Kenya, two are for education institutions; Strathmore University and Catholic University of Eastern Africa. Education institutions are considered ideal for green buildings because a large population spends more days in school. Despite the enormous benefits of green building concept, out of 141 universities and government Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges in Kenya, only two have attained certification which account for 1.4 percent. This brings to question whether the concept is understood by the Kenyan population and in particular, whether the tertiary institutions are aware of the benefits of constructing green buildings. This paper therefore, puts into perspective the immense contribution that tertiary institutions stand to benefit by adopting the green building concept.
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