Government has dedicated 14.4 hectares of land for the construction of 2,000 affordable 'green homes' through a public-private partnership in the Kinyinya, Gasabo District. In July 2023, a private investor also announced plans to build 40,000 affordable green homes in Rwanda. ALSO READ: Govt allocates land for 2,000 ‘affordable green homes’ in Kigali The price per unit in Nyarugenge district ranges between Rwf 16 million and Rwf 35 million depending on the size and features. The New Times lists eight features characterising green (eco-friendly) homes. 1. Choice of construction materials Green homes employ materials efficiently, resulting in reduced waste during construction and renovation. These homes incorporate recyclable or recycled materials, non-toxic paint, carpeting, and furniture with reduced volatile organic compounds. The primary construction materials for green homes are sourced with consideration for environmental protection. ALSO READ: Investor plans to set up 40,000 green homes As an illustration, the Green Gicumbi project employs modern bricks that are fired using bio-waste in a contemporary kiln, minimizing emissions and alleviating stress on forests, as opposed to traditional wood burning. Construction involving metals or planks is recommended over the use of immature trees. Furthermore, there should be a rehabilitation plan for areas where clay extraction for brick-making takes place. 2. Energy saving The design of green homes focuses on optimizing energy consumption. They are built with energy-efficient or saving appliances, lighting, heating, and cooling systems. LED lights save energy since they consume less electricity and do not require bulb replacement for many years. Smart lighting can turn off lights you've forgotten when you left or be programmed to your routine. 3. Renewable energy Green homes have solar panels to generate solar energy and can also use geothermal energy (heat within the earth) as well as wind energy. 4. Water saving Green homes use water-saving fixtures and other measures. Toilets and other plumbing fixtures should provide dual flush toilets that allow selecting a lower water or higher flush rate as needed. Sinks and toilets must use significantly less water. All plumbing fixtures, including faucets (devices that control the flow of liquid, especially water, from a pipe) and showerheads (fixtures for directing the spray of water in a bathroom shower), can have decreased or low-flow water use. 5. Indoor air quality and cooling system Green homes are built with high-performance windows to generate more sunlight and daylighting. Windows are purposefully designed and placed to give residents a connection between indoor and outdoor environments through the introduction of sunshine and views. Having these types of windows can also provide natural heating with minimal to zero energy used. Low emittance (low-E) windows reflect harmful rays and heat from sunlight, keeping homes cooler. Cooling roofs reflect heat and light away from the home, increasing the overall efficiency of the home’s heating and cooling system. Green homes are often constructed with walls that moderate inside temperatures. Natural ventilation brings fresh air inside, helping people breathe easier. Dust and other outside air pollutants are reduced using advanced air filters. Some homes also utilize thermal walls, a method that prevents heat, and double-glazing low emissivity glass to reflect heat out. Such approaches reduce the usage of air conditioning systems, which contribute to carbon emissions that cause climate change and also save energy bills, air conditioning costs, and money. Smart thermostats can regulate the temperature in your home and adjust this based on your daily routine, turning the heat off while you're at work and back on before you're due home. 6. Rainwater harvesting Water from the roofs is harvested in large underground cement tanks for home consumption and small-scale irrigation, allowing erosion control in the settlement. Rainwater harvesting systems can be used for watering your garden, washing the car, and even for toilets, saving gallons of water. Rainwater harvesting controls soil erosion and flooding. 7. Waste management Human waste management is done using waterless composting toilets that allow turning waste into organic manure. Wastewater is also recycled for reuse. 8. Eco-Friendly Location Green homes are typically developed in patterns and neighborhoods that encourage walking, bicycling, or taking public transportation, reducing reliance on personal cars and their related environmental effects. The location must not be a high-risk zone and should have gardens and trees.