greenhub

greenhub : Sustainable solutions for our built environment

Lang'ata, KenyaKwale, Kenya
Year Founded:
2015
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Greenhub aims to create a culture of energy efficient and environmental friendly buildings in our society. We design and develop energy saving systems for buildings and research on Eco-friendly materials, that lead to the construction of structures that are sustainable throughout their life cycle.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if our 'built environment' actually complemented our natural environment?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Buildings consume 40% of all raw materials, 30% of energy produced, 15% of our water resources. They also generate 40% of the solid waste stream and 35% of greenhouse gas emissions. This is largely due to unsustainable construction practices that not only makes them destructive to our environment, but also hazardous to their occupants.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

greenhub employs a road map to create buildings that have a more social impact than traditional ones. This begins with an integrated design process to determine the purpose(social,residential,commercial), and set energy and environmental demands/goals for the building. For energy efficiency, on site renewable energy, energy efficient systems and glazing are designed to ensure we attain the energy goals. Alternative construction techniques as SIPs, container recycling e.t.c are then employed for sustainability. For environmental sustainability, construction site inventories to allow passive heating and natural ventilation, land restoration, eco-friendly, recyclable materials, roof gardens, rain and grey water recycling systems are employed.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Consider our lead project at coastal Kenya. We first did a site analysis to gather information on climatic conditions, environmental resource mapping to that provides information on trees layout, water bodies e.t.c. that helped in determining the building's layout. This was followed by a material resource research to determine locally available materials, energy star rated materials and eco-friendly materials to be used in the construction. We also adopted SIPs that lower on the cost and energy of production. We are also designing a solar backup system to be used on lighting, grey water renewable system that filters water used in the buildings for irrigation and outdoor uses. Providing the client with a sustainable building once completed.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

In the four months since inception we've convinced two property developers in adopting a sustainable approach as opposed to the normal approach. This has seen them benefit from low cost, time saving construction methods and sustainable materials leading to a 10% cost reduction and an energy reduction of up to 30%. Their buildings also offer a better environmental quality and thus attract more occupants and higher income premiums of up to 5%. Replicating this success with more developers and projects will see us develop more sustainable buildings that can save up to 50% on energy costs and employ techniques that use materials and techniques that don't harm the environment. We aim in creating a culture where buildings will be at the forefront of climate action and environmental preservation, encourage healthy living, reduce urban sprawl, and build on our partners environmental reputation.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We plan to get more developers on board as this will give us access to work on more projects. This will provide us with resources to be able to build a design and research sectors that are vital in building us as a leading green building enterprise. We also target on starting branch in my hometown Kisumu, Kenya by end next year and expand to a regional enterprise in the next 5 years. On getting a foot hold in the construction industry we aim to venture in to providing solutions to humanitarian organizations, a move that will set us up to scaling in to a globally recognized company.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Our target clients, property developers and building owners, have access to finances and resources for construction. Although a new idea, we seek to sensitive them with sustainable benchmarks that will ensure we are involved in their projects. We then charge a percentage of the total project cost which caters for our running cost and profits are re-invested to diversify our solutions into housing, transportation, etc and reach out more clients.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are less than five firms offering green building solutions regionally(e.g WEB Ltd, Pharos architect) and in so they all offer consultancy services in various sectors, as none offers the full range range of green building techniques. Our model encompasses all of the green building solutions and also offer design on environmental and energy efficient systems. Their approach, being more bureaucratic and less technical, provides a gap which we seek to exploit by working with them. In so we provide the systems and they can help us in marketing them to organisations and government institution.
Team

Founding Story

Having worked in a geothermal power plant and a renewable energy firm, it occurred to me that energy needs in buildings were high not because of high consumption but due to wastage of energy. It is then that I embarked on a journey to transform the building industry in to one that adopted energy efficient solutions. A path that saw me grow from just being interested in energy efficiency to other building parameters such as environment, building materials their air and thermal properties. As my passion grew, I began to research and learn of more sustainable solutions like green roofs, low U-value windows, solar chillers, bicycle parks and passages for the less capable people.

Team

We are team of four university students: I'm in charge of financial and public relations, furthering a front in new investments opportunities and partnerships; A mechanical engineering student, whose in charge of the energy department in developing new energy efficient systems and does our field operations; A civil engineering students in charge of construction methods and materials sector and is also responsible for project documentations; and an architecture student who does the designing and drawing of buildings and is also in charge of our graphic designing and presentations. Together we all serve in marketing our company, ideas and systems to the industry players.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Social Media

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Founder

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Being a member of an engineering society member in our university, we have been able to organize talks and energy expositions that show case on the fore fronts of energy saving and renewable energy technologies. I have also been involved in the organization of successful poetry and spoken words events in different avenues, and did serve as the chair of the environmental club in high school where my curiosity on the relation of energy and environment began to develop.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

I have been able to approach other building developers whom we work with in providing solutions and they provide mentor ship advice on our progress. I have also been lucky to have a team of friends and family who provide me with an array of help ranging from financial to advisory assistance in running the company.