Why Kenya should walk path that is green affordable housing – Business Daily
Today’s home buyer is looking for a structure that saves costs and is eco-friendly. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK
Green housing is a novel type of building that advocates energy and water saving, eco-protection and the general well-being of occupants. Owing to the increasingly serious environmental pollution in recent years and the call for corporates to conduct their businesses responsibly and embrace sustainability, green housing has certainly attracted many eyes and ears.
The central feature of green buildings is a significant cut in environmental and social impacts. Foremost, buildings use power to run, water for occupants and construction materials. Each of these generates carbon emissions. Some of the key features that make buildings sustainable include efficient use of energy, water and materials; use of renewable energy and waste management measures such as reuse and recycling.
Adoption of suitable construction methods and appropriate materials, as well as the use of innovative practices in developing green affordable housing, can lower annual operating costs for developers, which may in turn enable them to build cheaper units.
Green developments avoid the need for major future renovations and cut costs associated with energy use, water use and maintenance. It is, therefore, critical that we consider house development as an end-to-end process and build houses with as many green features as possible. Households can, in turn, use the freed-up funds for other living expenses or put them away as savings.
As the industry continues to evolve, developers are keen on greening some of their projects whose designs, construction and operations reduce or eliminate negative impact (and can create positive impact) on the climate and natural environment.
The popularity of green building technologies in Kenya is rising, with more stakeholders opting for green or environmentally sustainable architecture in housing development. According to a survey by Knight Frank, 29 percent of home buyers in Africa prefer green homes and do not mind the extra costs. Another survey by KGBS estimates that 19.3 percent of Kenyan homes use solar power, indicating an affinity towards green housing.
Superior value comes down to just three fundamentals: lower operating costs, higher sales or rental income and lower long-term risk vis-a-vis changes in regulation and cost.
Financial institutions play a huge role in the affordable housing sector. Best practice would be for these stakeholders (financial institutions) to continually engage with developers to help reinforce their understanding of the economic benefits of greenhouses and provide technical support on how to cost-effectively construct green.
As a stakeholder in the affordable housing sector, Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company plans to promote green affordable housing in Kenya, including by issuing green bonds to fund climate-friendly affordable housing projects.
Since the start of its lending business, KMRC has been instrumental in increasing accessibility and affordability of housing finance enabling more Kenyans to own homes. This has been made possible through KMRC refinancing on single-digit, fixed interest rates and long repayment tenors of up to 25 years.
The writer is the CEO of Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company.