Botswana Technology Centre (BOTEC) urged stakeholders in the home-ownership industry to support environmentally friendly housing projects as the nation strives for its long term Vision 2016, geared towards having affordable shelter in the next 10 years.
Speaking at a Stakeholders’ workshop on Sustainable Housing Project targeted at all segments of the society, the Director for Housing, Esther Serati, said the “ concept of sustainable housing is critical to the country.”
“The concept of sustainability in housing is very critical and relevant for Botswana,” Serati said, adding that while the government is faced with the challenges of providing housing, Botswana is subject to global environmental issues such as global warming and depletion of natural resources.
“Rapid growth within the Botswana construction and housing industries means that it is imperative to respond to these global issues and adopt sustainable building practices in line with the ideas of sustainable development.
“It’s high time Batswana adapt to the sustainability in various developments so as to reduce consumption of non-renewable resources and reduce negative impact on the environment,” Serati said.
Busisiwe Sianga, who talked on issues of sustainable housing, said global requirements for change to sustainable development and energy efficiency are not gaining effect into the building and construction sector of Botswana.
“The reason why we should be concerned about global changes is because of the environmental impact that it brings hence the increase in energy demand leading to depletion of natural resources. Global changes also have impact on health as they cause water, air and soil pollution hence cause diseases,” Sianga said .
Speaking at the same occasion, Mosimanegape Mhaladi, said Botswana is a home of the highest levels of solar radiation in the world brought by the sun which could be harnessed as energy source.
“This sun that causes extreme weather conditions can also be used as an invaluable energy source for the country and can inform the design of buildings to meet these extreme climatic conditions.
“BOTEC has extensive experience in the design and construction of passive solar designed architecture. BOTEC headquarters building is a showcase building demonstrating principles of passive solar design and low consumption energy systems,” Mhaladi added.
When addressing the participants on building baterials, BOTEC architect, Tebogo Kemmefhele, urged them to use materials with long life span, for instance Hydra-form-stabilized soil block, which will also reduce cost at construction. He said they should always make sure that their buildings are balanced in order to reduce solar heat when weather is hot.
“There is also a need to research and develop what materials we have locally, for example, Maun reeds and Kgalagadi Sand (KSBB). Our challenge is to investigate their potential for building as they are suited to the climate and are likely to be cheap and will have the benefit of low embodied energy. Data base for ease of reference by public, private architects and engineers should be developed,” Kemmefhele said.