Not many people think that modern housing would be a potential threat to the environment in Rwanda.
In Rwanda, 50% of environmental threats come from housing structures in cities especially Kigali, according to the Rwanda Institute of Architects (RIA).
The organization comprised of professional designers and house planners is starting a project that seeks to reverse this trend.
Through its Rwanda Green Building Organization (RWAGBO), the association of architects has launched a project that will provide environmental friendly house designs.
Several architects are launching an exhibition of house plans giving more emphasis to green spaces inside compounds replacing pavement styles.
The plans will also suppress the current trend of glass and steel houses, which they said, cause a lot of heat more like air conditioners and refrigerators.
“We want to sensitize people to plant grass and trees to fight the heat and restore environment,” said Dr. Kamiya Hakizimana – a RWAGBO Staff.
The project, Hakizimana said, will promote locally made construction materials and cut down construction costs.
According to scientists glasses on a house, pavements, refrigerators and air conditioning systems emit Hydrofluorocarbons – greenhouses gases that trap heat in the atmosphere at up to 1000 times more than carbondioxide which is a huge environmental threat.
Eudes Kayumba, the RWAGBO Director said there is a possibility of changing the housing structure to preserve the environment; “We have to do something as soon as possible to sort out this problem,” he said.
Kayumba also said there will be an assessment to ensure all houses adhere to environmental standards and if necessary ask the owners to make adjustments.
Environmental issues in construction sector will be discussed at a conference that will bring together all Rwandan architects between November 22 and 23.
The expected participants are Rwanda Housing Authority (RHA), Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) and Engineers from Singapore, a country that offers a good construction model for Rwanda.
In October this year at the 28th meeting of Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Kigali, President Paul Kagame said the responsibility to act lies not only with governments but also scientists and private sector.
“The faster we act, the lower the financial costs will be and the lighter the environmental burden on our children,” he said.