Affordable housing

Alignment of affordable housing with green certification and finance

January 17th, 2023

Kwangu Kwako Ltd (KKL), an affordable housing manufacturer and developer, was commissioned by FSD Kenya in October 2022 to share its experiences and insights gained from working on the IFC  EDGE platform through the lens of affordable housing.

The EDGE platform is designed to ensure resource efficiency in buildings (by reducing consumption of water, energy, and environmentally unfriendly materials) and to promote green building culture through certification of these buildings.

To achieve EDGE certification, a building must demonstrate a 20% reduction in energy consumption, water use and embodied energy in construction materials in comparison to a local base case.

The KKL study revealed that low-income housing conforms with EDGE standards, and arguably has greater water, energy savings and embodied energy savings than expected by EDGE in principle.

The study shows the need to work more closely with EDGE stakeholders to formulate a base case that recognises the lower carbon footprint of low-income housing especially addressing the following:

  1. The actual consumption of water and energy which appear to be much lower than the current base case.
  2. That energy from the grid in Kenya is primarily produced from renewable sources (90%) and hence is inherently greener.
  3. The housing units are smaller and more space efficient and hence use very little embodied energy in construction materials per capita.
  4. Efficient and affordable fittings that are locally available and may not have the requisite datasheets but whose flowrates can be determined by alternative methods.
  5. Low-income households do not use appliances like washing machines and therefore assessment of their energy savings using efficient or green star rated washing machines and other appliances does not apply.
  6. The households typically rely on public transport rather than private cars which is a significant cost saving both in unit delivery (infrastructure) and consumption patterns.

Proposals included in this analysis include the use of actual consumption to measure the resource efficiency of operational low-income homes, revisiting the base case and giving the users the option to opt out of systems that do not describe the units that they seek to certify.

There is also a need to promote use of locally available efficient fixtures, which may not be EDGE certified, and to allow certification of smaller projects at a lower fee in order to make it attractive to developers who provide rental housing which is the most common tenure in urban areas.

Education of all the stakeholders on the value of EDGE, incentives and collaboration are also key recommendations.

Read the study report: Review of the EDGE certification process (affordable housing focus) – Case study Kwangu Kwako Homes (PDF)



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