Chinese construction firms boosting Kenya’s green buildings agenda: official

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Chinese construction firms are boosting Kenya’s green buildings agenda through implementing environmentally-friendly housing designs, an executive said on Friday.

Raghav Gandhi, chief investment officer with the real estate developer Acorn Holdings, told journalists in Nairobi that Chinese companies have developed competencies in implementing energy and water-efficient real estate projects. “Chinese contractors can play a significant role in increasing the country’s portfolio of green buildings,” Gandhi said.

According to Gandhi, Acorn Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) currently has four student accommodation assets with 2,470 operational beds and six projects in the pipeline that will have 5,924 beds. In March, China Zhongxing Company was awarded a contract to construct two of the projects in the pipeline that will cater to about 3,000 students in Nairobi.

Green buildings are those designed to ensure that there is minimum use of energy and water resources and the construction materials are sourced from sustainable sources that have a minimum environmental impact.

He believed that through partnerships with Chinese companies, Kenyan contractors can have an opportunity to benefit from and accelerate the uptake of green housing technology.

Gandhi noted that the Chinese companies are systematic and process-driven in the way they undertake real estate assignments. “They also give due importance to health and safety procedures which are very important for the construction industry,” he said.

“We are happy to work with Chinese companies because they are assisting us to develop affordable green buildings in Kenya,” said Gandhi.

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