UN-Habitat presented the 'Energy Efficiency in Buildings in East Africa' (EEBEA) project to approximately 100 architects and town planners of the Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK). The architects had gathered in Nairobi for their annual breakfast to discuss 'The Role of Smart Technology in Buildings'.

Before UN-Habitat presented the project to the building industry professionals, the participants looked into the role of smart technology, especially gadgets, software and appliances assisting in the design and implementation of construction projects. Also participating were Korean government, East African Cables, a regional operating cables and conductors manufacturer, Autodesk Softwares, the City Council of Nairobi and Communications Council of Kenya. The key points of their presentations were how smart technologies assist in reducing environmental degradation.

Marja Edelman, project manager and member of the UN-Habitat Urban Energy Unit, together with Ruth Maina, project officer for Kenya, presented a brief overview of the project and its five major components. They also showcased the Ecotect software, which assists architects to design a local climate-sensitive building. Basically, the software informs the architect on the best designs for an energy efficient building in a given location. The architects and town planners found the software to be very innovative and useful.

Various synergies between the AAK and the project were recognized:

  • AAK suggested inviting the EEBEA team to collaborate in some of their workshops and trainings for architects, quantity surveyors, town planners, landscape architects, environmental design consultants and project managers. The UN-Habitat Urban Energy Unit would thereby contribute to build capacity on best practices in energy efficiency among the professionals.
  • The AAK architects chapter vice-chair Emma Miloyo also expressed AAK's interest to participate in EEBEA workshops, especially with regards to the components on building codes and finance, in order to contribute with their knowledge and background in the region.
  • EEBEA articles shall be included on a quarterly basis in the AAK magazine, contributing to both public awareness and professional capacity building.

The interaction between the Urban Energy Unit with the Architectural Association of Kenya was very positive as the latter is a strong platform to assist in capacity building of professionals in the building industry. The Urban Energy Unit and the EEBA project hope to develop a strong partnership with AAK on future joint activities.