As global attention shifts towards sustainable development and national policies are framed towards an environmentally-sustainable future, African nations continue to lag behind in terms of policy and practice.
The situation, according to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of architectural firm, Spektra Global, William Evans Halm, will have adverse repercussions on the continent as the population of Africa is expected to double by the year 2050.
In an interview with Lord Kweku Sekyi during the 17th International Building and Construction Exhibition held in Accra, Mr. Halm called on African leaders to champion the cause for a future of net-zero energy building (NZEB) by supporting sustainable building projects.
He said African nations must emulate the example in countries such as Mexico where financial institutions are more willing to fund sustainable building projects.
He said buildings consume about 40 percent of global energy as against 20% for cars thus the need for more sensitisation to ensure that developers understand and request for sustainable buildings from architects.
He said as Africa’s population is expected to double by 2050, African leaders must start planning and looking out for ways to meet the energy demands of the future.
“Government must champion the cause by offering incentives to sustainable building projects which will lead to their culmination into cities and ultimately, to a net-zero energy building future.”
“The West is moving toward NZEB, where buildings generate their own power to make profit for owners, however, in Ghana, development goes ahead of planning.”
“About 70 percent of new buildings in Ghana are investment related, so it is prudent to adopt sustainable strategies to cut down energy use and save money.”
According to the building expert, until the era of industrialisation which began in Britain in the 1760s leading to widespread adoption of steel and glass for construction, designing sustainable buildings have existed throughout history as humans construct homes with biodegradable, climate-friendly materials.
He said sustainable building will soon be a necessity for cities and called on government and private investors to start incorporating it into all building project, adding that sustainable strategies such as rain water harvesting and solar panel installations can save up to 30 percent of water as well as 30 percent energy to ensure maximum overall energy efficiency which means enough energy to power future cities.