Green construction not only enhances water and air quality, but also reduces waste streams while improving and protecting biodiversity and ecosystems. To promote green technologies in the construction sector, the government is preparing to incentivise green buildings. ALSO READ: What would it take to have more green buildings in Kigali? Edward Kyazze, the Director General in charge of Urbanisation, Human Settlement, and Housing Development at the Ministry of Infrastructure, announced the intention to incentivise green buildings while addressing issues raised by senators on November 14, 2023 regarding non-compliance with the green building code. ALSO READ: Govt considers rewarding green buildings The New Times lists 10 eco-friendly buildings, both finished and in progress, in the City of Kigali. 1. Nyarutarama Plaza Nyarutarama Plaza is Rwanda’s premier environmentally sustainable-certified commercial building, with the accomplishment of the Building and Construction Authority-BCA Green Mark Award (Singapore). The award is presented to green building professionals who are driving positive change in built environment sustainability and have made exemplary contributions to green building development. With several sustainable features, Nyarutarama Plaza is progressing the green building and sustainable development agenda of Rwanda. The building is estimated to save 184,515 kilowatt-hours per year, 1,183 cubic metres of water per year and reduce 92.26 tonnes of carbon emissions per year. It was designed with a minimum direct west-facing facade and windows to allow as little heat gain as possible, to diminish the usage of air-conditioning. This double feature allows as much natural daylight as likely to stream into the windows. The wall paints are water-based, reducing the exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which contribute to respiratory illness and other health effects including eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; and damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system. 2. RURA headquarters The Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) headquarters received the Gold Green Mark Provisional Certificate - BCA Singapore. The building may not seem as sustainable as it isn’t surrounded by plenty of plants, but its features show its ecological energy-efficient systems like solar panels, and smart lighting that reduces energy usage. The headquarters also entail other features like potent waste management which necessitates recycling and composting thus diminishing environmental harm. The building has efficaciously assimilated green building compliance with the assistance of green consultants. 3. I&M Bank The 3,540 square meter building is part of the bank’s commitment to support the government’s strong dedication and obligation towards promoting and facilitating sustainable urbanisation. The bank invested more than Rwf25 billion in the environmentally conscious and sustainable construction project which took about four years to finalise. The bank premises’ roofing generates 210 kilowatts of solar power. This reduces the reliance on electricity from the national grid. The building is modified locally by manufactured bricks and concave windows to assist in cooling down the interior of the building. This lowers the usage of excessive air conditioning. ALSO READ: The case for green buildings in Rwanda The bank structure holds the rainwater and converts it to fully potable water (suitable for human consumption) within the building. 4. Norrsken Kigali House Norrsken Kigali House is a model of green building development and will be EDGE Advanced certified—a green building certification programme that aims to make structures more efficient in terms of resources such as energy, water and materials. ALSO READ: PHOTOS: Kagame tours, inaugurates Norrsken House Kigali The buildings possess 40 per cent or more on-site energy savings. For temperature control and ventilation, the design enhances clay-shaded facades and natural ventilation, and integrates a thermal labyrinth, a pioneering sustainable cooling system, to lessen energy demands. In addition, a solar photovoltaic system covering the facility’s roof helps to maximise energy independence. Norrsken Kigali House is an entrepreneurship and innovation hub established in 2019 to offer a platform for start-ups to exchange ideas and knowledge and generate innovative ideas to boost their business. Other projects underway: Kigali Green Complex The 29-storey Kigali Green Complex (KGC) is set to become the tallest building in Rwanda. The new environmental-friendly, all-purpose multi-billion project that is being developed in Kigali will be taller than Kigali City Tower, which has 20 storeys and is the country’s tallest building. This is the First Ever Gold Rated LEED Green, Well, and Smart Mix-Use Complex in Rwanda. It will be built in the Central Business District on the land formerly occupied by the French Cultural Centre. ALSO READ: Construction works for 29-storey green tower to begin in January With six basements, the building is expected to have an 82,971 square meter gross floor area and will be set up on a plot of land with a 7,600 square meter area. It will have a multifunctional space that includes bank space, retail space, office space and car parking with 430 slots. Kigali Innovation City The building is yet to be LEED-certified. It is developed as a mixed-use, master-planned, innovative city to be positioned on 60 hectares in Kigali. Kigali Innovation City-KIC will enable the growth of pan-African talent and act as a technology innovation hub. Its plan contains four universities, office spaces, and start-up business incubators, supporting facilities for retail, hospitality and accommodation. The project will integrate international and local green and sustainable design guidelines, and will proficiently manage water through the development of a wastewater treatment plant. It will also comprise adequate green spaces which help avert atmospheric damage and extreme heating. Bwiza Riverside Homes Bwiza Riverside Homes is a public-private partnership between a private investor, The ADHI Corporate Group and the Government of Rwanda. The homes will be green-certified and constructed with materials that reduce carbon emissions from the buildings. This is to be attained through minimised construction waste, energy efficiency, and recyclable construction materials, reduced transport by using the pre-engineered house structure, solar-powered street lighting, waste water treatment and recycling systems, permeable pavements and storm water management systems, among others. With patented construction technology that uses modular parts, pre-made in a factory, for plug-and-play construction, the project aims to be environmentally friendly in both its construction methods and community layouts. ALSO READ: Inside new eco-friendly 2200-unit housing estate in Kigali Kigali International Finance and Business Square (KIFBS) The construction of the proposed Kigali Financial Square, a business complex set to serve as a regional hub for financial services, will provide grade-one certified eco-friendly offices. The regional financial hubs play a critical role in attracting investments and contributing to the country’s ambitions. It will boast a complete office of a 24-story building, a hotel, apartments and retail spaces. ALSO READ: Kagame lays foundation stone for Kigali Financial Square towers Nobelia Tower The 19-floor structure under construction is a green building close to the main roundabout in the city centre. The building is part of Amarembo City Center, a large project with architectural buildings expected to make the city more colourful. The project will encompass water-efficient green buildings using renewable energy. The building will be extended to 11,469 square metres of which 9,284 will be for businesses. It will have offices for commercial buildings, restaurants, and so forth. Some of the features measured for a building to be categorised among six-star facilities include the source of energy, construction materials, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, and water and waste recycling among others. The solar panels of the building will have the capability to generate 198,804 kWh per annum. Additionally, it will contain a waste management for all organic waste which will be used to create compost onsite. Vision City Phase II Vision City Phase II is intended to improve the general quality of life for its residents by incorporating retail units, community centre, school, kindergarten, recreation centre, and hotel. The project centres on comfort and environmental sustainability. When it comes to wellness and health, the project has considered it a priority as fitness and wellness centres and green spaces are included to stimulate physical exercise, relaxation, and a healthy lifestyle. The whole project phase encompasses 40.7 hectares of land, starting with units of one-bedroom apartments to five-bedroom affluent executive villas.