The impact of green buildings in climate change mitigation: an investigative study on selected office buildings in Westlands, Nairobi County
Climate Change is one of the major global environmental challenges facing the world today. Devastating impacts on the environment such as, hurricanes, typhoons, floods, droughts and global warming have been wide-reaching due to rapid increase of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere. This has been aggravated by rapid urbanization and growth in the building and construction sector. The building sector is among biggest consumers of energy globally and consequently one of the largest emitter of GHG and consequently a leading contributor to anthropogenic climate change. The main objective of this research was to establish if there are green buildings within the area of study in the Westlands area of Nairobi, and subsequently determine their impact on climate change mitigation if any. This study looked at 'green buildings' as a measure to mitigate and adapt to the vulnerability and impacts of climate change particularly GHG that are produced by buildings. 'Green Buildings' can be defined as those buildings that are deliberately designed such that they emphasize on, sustainable site development, energy and water efficiency, healthy indoor environmental quality and sustainable usage materials and resources with minimal negative impacts on human health and the environment. The study covered 33 buildings within zone 3 of the Westlands area of the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD). This translates to 64% of the buildings within the area of study. The research established that most buildings within the area of study do not qualify as green build'ngs to Never other buildings within the greater Nairobi such as the New United Nations Environment Programmee (UNEP) and UN-HABITAT Office Building in Gigiri, Nairobi Kenya offers an ideal case study of how buildings within the tropical climate can be designed and built to effectively reduce GHG that are produced by buildings. This research recommends the setting-up of a Kenya Green Building Council which will be mandated with spearheading the green building agenda in Kenya.