Nairobi’s Garden City Raises Bar On Environmental Design
Backed by private equity real estate investor, Actis Capital, Garden City is one of Kenya’s largest mixed use developments. Actis Capital is headquartered in London and focuses on investments in emerging markets in Africa, China, India, Latin America, and South East Asia.
Garden City was awarded Vision 2030 status by the Government of Kenya in July 2013, in recognition of its potential economic growth impact.
The master plan will feature 50,000 square metres of retail space, 420 apartments and town houses, 20,000 square metres of office space, 120-key business hotel and a three-acre park incorporating water features, children’s play areas and an amphitheatre, upon completion.
Phase one of the project consists of the retail section and 76 two & three bedroom apartments and duplexes set to be completed by the end of May, 2015.
This project has raised the construction bar on environmental design. Garden City is one of the first projects in Kenya to receive a LEED pre-certification by the Green Building Council for implanting practical solutions for high performance in sustainable site development, materials selection, energy, water savings and indoor environmental quality.
WEB Limited, a locally based sustainable construction consultancy company, was commissioned by the project managers, Mentor Management Limited (MML) to provide Green Star SA VI facilitation services for the Garden City Project. The project has been registered on the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) Green Star SA certification program and is currently pursuing the award of a Certified Rating from GBCSA.
For a building and construction project to acquire a LEED pre-certification, it must meet the minimum programme requirements prior to registration and submission of the pre-certification documents to the Green Building Council.
LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognises best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive a LEED certification, building project must satisfy prerequisites and earn points on different levels of certification. LEED certified buildings save money and have a positive impact on the health of occupants, while promoting use of renewable, clean energy.
The program has five rating systems, Building Design + Construction (BD+C), Interior Design + Construction (ID+C), Building Operations + Maintenance (O+M), Neighbourhood Development (ND) and Homes (HOMES). Each rating system is made up of a combination of credit categories. These categories include integrative process, location and transport, materials and resource, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, sustainable sites, indoor environmental quality, innovation and regional priority credits, to name a few. Additional categories can be employed.
Within each credit categories, there are specific prerequisites that projects must satisfy and a variety of credits projects can pursue to earn points. The number of points the project earns determines the level of LEED certification that the project will receive. The four certification levels are Certified (40–49 points), Silver (50–59 points), Gold (60–79 points) and Platinum (80 points and above).
Garden City Retail and Residential achieved LEED for Building Design and Construction: Core and Shell Development (LEED BD+C: Core and Shell) pre-certification Gold.
The principles to which the Garden City projects earned points were sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy & atmosphere, materials & resources, indoor environmental quality and regional priority. The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) recognizes Garden City Retail and Residential as reflecting a realistic set of project goals and intentions to incorporate green features.
This pre-certification allows owners to market the proposed green features of a building to potential tenants. Projects that have gone through this process can state, in their marketing material, that they are on the certification path. Only projects registered under the LEED for Core & Shell rating system can apply for pre-certification.
In the 21st century, green buildings have been proven to have a positive impact on the design and construction costs, asset value, operating costs, workplace productivity and health, risk mitigation and offers the best platform for scaling up economic priorities, both in emerging and developed markets.
Alphage Mwazi. BSc. Construction Management. PM, Mentor Management Limited (MML)