Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sustainability, Nigeria buildings, and Nigeria Electric Power

Miss America on Monday
News dispatch from Nir. Thanks, Nir.
The current Miss Rhode Island, Allison Rogers, promotes global warming awareness, and writes on this site, itsgettinghotinhere.org. She'll be competing in the Miss America pageant on Monday.

Material-cheap Building
My father lamented long ago about how Nigerian homes are over-designed and modern homes use way too much materials. He was contrasting the concrete and marble duplexes of Lagos with the lighter, simpler homes in the United States.

I wonder if green-building has taken hold in tropical areas with similar needs.

If you're looking for a hobby and like architecture, green-building just rocks! And they have nifty magazines and jobs; there is a thriving community of (eco-)architects with various interpretations of sustainable building. These range from using less material and using more natural or biodegradable materials, to using natural light/ventilation/heat and integrating more nature/scenery. Please add links to great eco-building sources...Nir knows a lot about this?

Basic Electricity
In this day and age in Nigeria, people would really appreciate sustainability in their electrical power supply. Why this is not already a solved problem is a small mystery. To all Power-detectives: I'll be posting all I find about solving the Nigeria Electricity Problem. I need a lot of help with this project, so give all you can.

Welcome, Welcome

Also, note a couple of new people in the community. They both write blogs that are sisters of UPNAIRA/Money Talk:
One is the writer of one of my favourite links, Timbuktu Chronicles, where hundreds of African businesses are profiled. It's an utterly beautiful piece of work.

The other is Benin, the author of an Africa Business blog-magazine that even features cool entrepreneur interviews.

They, and all private readers and blog contributors are all very welcome. Peace and love.

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4 comments:

t said...

LUCK!!!
African Architecture and Design is a blog at africanarchitecture.blogspot.com. Pretty blog on sustainable tropical architecture.
The funny thing is I did not search for it, I was browsing another blog and saw the author profile...

Benin "Mwangi" said...

T:

Hi, that's really interesting. You know, in my conversations with folks who've never been to Africa, I always try to convey to them how diverse the continent is whether it be in:

*people and language groups
*economic status
*Religion
*Cultural views
*architecture**
*etc, etc...

But your comment about energy and energy efficient buildings leads me to think that in energy efficient structures, both residential and commercial, 1 interesting commonality** in sub-Saharan Africa is the strong focus on upper- end and/or energy-inefficient dwellings, perhaps to the detriment of the more cost-conscious residents and even to the environment. You know, I mean you see new residential and commercial subdivisions with all of these ornate and elaborate buildings being built almost all over SSA. But it is rare that you hear of energy efficient or affordable "cost-concious" designed communities being built.

I have friends from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, and Nigeria (you). That have mentioned the same thing that you just mentioned.

It's as if the builder and architectual communities at large have completely forgotten these other segments. Perhaps, it may be due to less adequate financing afforded to individuals or businesses who demand these alternate structures. So, I agree with you that this should be further investigated.

geon said...

Practices for energy-efficient comfortable buildings are different in the tropics than in colder more seasonal climates, cf. some ideas at http://www.energybulletin.net/22792.html . Traditional buildings will be necessarily energy-efficent; wealthy elites in Africa build with Euro-American models and materials, which are even more wasteful in the tropics than they are in the midlatitudes. Green-building projects in wealthy tropical places like southeast Asia would be worth emulating in equatorial Africa - see, e.g. http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/002578.html and http://skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=331383 . Dry parts of Africa could benefit from techniques used in traditional Mideast construction - e.g., www.inive.org/members_area/medias/pdf/Inive%5Cpalenc%5C2005%5CRoaf.pdf

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