Prof. Izael Da Silva, Deputy Vice Chancellor – Strathmore University was featured in the Standard newspaper on 11th February 2016 discussing Kenya’s path to being a green technology nation.
Green building refers to the planning, design, construction, and operations of buildings with several technologies that help saving energy by using natural lighting, rain water harvesting, water evaporating cooling system and solar technology. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a US organization acts as a framework for decision-making for project teams in all of these areas, rewarding best practices and innovation and recognizing exemplary building projects with different levels of LEED certification.
I have started the Centre for Research on Energy and Energy Conservation in Makerere – Uganda. I also helped start a Masters in Renewable Energy in Makerere with support of the Government of Norway. I also started Strathmore Energy Research Centre in 2012. We also house the SMA East Africa Training Academy and the German Solar Academy. I also spearheaded the installation of the 600 kW solar system in Strathmore making it the first zero-carbon footprint in Sub Saharan Africa.
The plant is a plan by Strathmore University to become a close to zero carbon foot print university with sustainable energy of and green buildings. We want to be a model for all other universities in Kenya and the region.
What part can the government play towards ensuring the nation adopts sustainable energy?
The government has put in regulations promoting use of renewables in Kenya via tax exemptions on solar equipment and putting a law where companies are expected to perform energy audits and implement energy efficient measures. Some of these measures include implementation of renewables as alternate source of energy.
We advocate for it as this is a smart way of doing things and we should promote green technology as the only suitable technology to embrace in the near future. We lead by example. We walk the talk and adopt the technology ourselves. Besides we do capacity building, testing and consultancy to improve adoption.
Kenya is already on the path to a green technology nation as more than 60 per cent of the electricity use comes from renewable sources, that is hydro, geothermal, wind and solar. Solar is the technology to watch.
There is funding through different multinational organisations. Also, the Kenya Climate Innovation Centre offers capacity building services and financing to Kenyan entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises who are developing innovative climate mitigation and adaptation solutions.