Towards Net Zero Buildings in Kenya

An Advancing Workflow project to support BuildX in the development of carbon analysis approaches and benchmarks for sustainable design in Kenya. Sponsored by The Autodesk Foundation.

Towards Net Zero Buildings in Kenya

BuildX Studio is dedicated to working towards net zero carbon buildings in Kenya by measuring and lowering the carbon footprint of building projects. The objective of the fellowship was to improve BuildX Studio’s internal approaches for carbon analysis and the data generated provides the firm with insights on the design of their internal carbon calculator in terms of further development and implementation. Furthermore, the fellowship set out to establish carbon benchmarks for traditional building approaches by contributing to the body of knowledge on sustainable design in Kenya by providing local Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) data.

The fellowship mainly focused on carbon analysis of different types of design projects in BuildX Studio’s portfolio: Zima Homes (a high-rise affordable housing project), the Alchemist (a commercial project), and Green Heart Village (GHV – a residential project featuring individual homes). The scope of the carbon analysis compared the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of the product stage (also known as the ‘cradle to gate’ boundary) by calculating the embodied carbon for modules A1–A3 of the LCA.

A subsequent comparative analysis of the results of the Global Warming Potential of modules A1-A3 from the BuildX Studio’s carbon calculator and Tally was carried out. The deviation of the results which averages 22%, is attributed to the different databases used by each calculator, the data input methods accuracy, and the error margins allowed by each platform.

The research concludes that BuildX Studio is a more sustainable practice than typical Kenyan construction. The choice of construction material has a significant impact on project carbon footprints. The project will position BuildX to optimize project carbon analysis and has generated internal capacity for the use of Tally, an Autodesk software for carbon life cycle analysis.

Combined bar graph showing the embodied carbon of BXS Case Projects for BXS materials and typical Kenyan construction materials, Attribution: Sheila Atieno Ojwang and BuildX Studio

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