Green Design Centres

Collaborative design and research labs that empowers young people to develop eco friendly solutions for Africa's housing and energy problems

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Eligibility Criteria

  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
  • I am 18 years old or older.

Initiative's representative name

Brian Ouma

Initiative's representative date of birth

20th July 1992

Initiative's representative gender

  • Man

Headquarters location: country

  • Kenya

Headquarters location: city

Nairobi

Where are you making a difference?

SAME

Website or social media url(s)

www.greenhub.co.ke https://www.facebook.com/greenhub.ke/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/briouma/

Date Started

January, 2017

Project Stage

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working toward the next level of expansion)

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • €10k - €50k

Organization Type

  • For-profit

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

Having worked in the solar industry for a while as an engineer, designing and installing solar solutions for homes it one day occurred to me that clients weren't fully benefiting from the full impact of going green as other factors in their homes still weren't green. Their waste and water systems would still consume as much energy, their house orientation didn't allow for passive heating and cooling and many more issues. It is at that moment that I began discussing with other professionals such as architects and environmental consultant who also shared of the same frustration and thus our 'Aha' moment of collaboration was created that lead to the birth of greenhub.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Most of Africa's infrastructure has been built in traditional ways without much thought on making them sustainable. As such the built environment contributes nearly 40% of all its greenhouse gases and consumes 1/3 of all the energy it produces. Other sectors such as transport, waste management, water and farming have also proven to be a negative influence to the environment. These issues are what give us the drive that for Africa to develop it needs solutions that are sustainable all round.

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Greenhub is a design and research hub that supports young architects, engineers and environmentalist to collaborate and develop innovative solutions that will ensure Africa's infrastructures are sustainable all round. From model eco friendly homes that are built with natural materials researched by engineers, are laid out to enable passive cooling by architects and are integrated to their natural environment by environmentalist to low income clinics whose low operation cost transfers to low charges. Greenhub is at the forefront of greening Africa's growth by enabling young professionals who have a passion for the environment to discuss, design and develop eco friendly systems on housing, energy, water, waste and transport under one roof and ensuring that the solutions are sustainable right from their inception to their usage.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

Previously design companies would function in isolation leading to little or no exchange of data between companies and people on sustainable solutions. Our collaborative hub approach means different professionals from different regions meet under one roof and are able to iterate ideas and solution amongst them and even in clients. We also intend to open the platform to other African countries ensuring that professionals and the public in Kenya for example are able to follow up and implement eco friendly solutions being adopted in Rwanda through the guidance of our hub stationed in Rwanda. A collaborative innovations which we intend to utilise in scaling our solution through out Africa and in keeping us ahead of our competitors.

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

We are currently tapping on collaboration between young professionals in construction such as architects, engineers and environmentalist to develop solutions that will lower the green house gases produced by infrastructures in their life cycle. We have also engaged other players in the 'green' industry such as the United Nation and institutions in running awareness drives and training to both upcoming professionals and the public in general. Going forward we intend to create a platform in our website where the various professionals in greenhub are registered and gain access to a portal that will enable them to collaborate effectively and fast both through themselves and to the general public who will be looking for sustainable solutions and ideas in the platform too.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

In the two years since we began our projects have been able to generate about 0.5 MWH of solar wind energy cutting their carbon emissions by more than 3 Tonnes. We have been able to deliver five eco friendly homes to Kenyans and one Ugandan and we are currently the lead consultants for Access Afya, a company keen on building eco friendly health centres in Kenyan slums. We have been able to commission more than ten clinics which utilise solar, renewable materials and recycle waste to energy as most slums do not have provision to sewerage and water systems. We have also provided jobs directly to 5 young Africans who work as our designers and associates and are looking to expand this to ten in the next three years. Indirectly we have been able to provide jobs and training to more than fifty individuals who are involved in our construction processes from material specialists to artisans who ensure our designs are implemented to the letter spread out in various areas in Kenya.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

We intend to develop a portal where architects, engineers and other players in the building industry can sign up and work on projects. The physical locations of the hub are also planned across various countries which will be seen to adopt our model more, these will act as headquarters and physical venues where people will meet up, discuss, meet clients, print and prototype solutions. The online platform will as such be largely for discussions, sharing ideas and collaboration. We also intend to train our various associates who will be signed up in the platform in ensuring all our clients get the same customer experience and to even further acquire accreditation and licences that will enable us to operate in various countries in Africa.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

We are creating a sustainable society not just to owners of the infrastructures such as the investors, organisations and institutions but also their users. Those living in the buildings benefit from a better environment and better health, while those using the systems such as solar and water recycling find that their economic power has increased as they are now not struggling with high utility bills. We also promote societal interaction in our projects by designing points where people can interact with both each other and the environment, be it courtyards in houses, play areas in estates and estates and social halls in communal projects we tend to encourage interaction with everything nature

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

We generate revenues in three major ways, one are the fees we charge for the design and development of infrastructural projects such as houses, hospitals, and other buildings which are charged at a percentage of the project cost. We also charge fees for research of new materials, techniques and project management fees in ensuring the solutions are implemented accordingly. Another means of generating revenues is through funding of our community which enables us to pay some of our staff who double up in working on such projects. The last way that we make money is through direct sales and sales commission of systems that we have developed such as the solar coolers and heaters or for solutions we are working on in partnerships with companies.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

The management consists of the CEO and COO who are engineers with more than 10 years' experience in renewable energies and the CFO who is a finance major with more than 3 years' experience. There are two senior architects, one associate architect, an associate structural engineer and one associate designer. Combined the management team has more than 30 years' experience and we seek to expand it by adding an administration, IT and geographical personnel to give us a diverse mix of professional.

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

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