Nairobi tower wins prestigious accolade for sustainable design

Dunhill Towers Nairobi
A bird’s eye view of the Dunhill Towers on Waiyaki Way in Nairobi. PHOTO/COURTESY
Kenya is geared up for the inauguration of its first green certified commercial property scheduled for this month, pushing forward the country’s attempts to green its construction industry.

Dunhill Towers, a 20-storey office complex in Nairobi’s Westlands district, is set to be awarded a 5-star green status ahead of its unveiling following a recent appraisal by the World Green Building Council, a network of national green building councils in over 90 countries.

It becomes the first building in the East Africa to be assessed under the Green Star TM-Africa tool, the sole green rating tool for commercial property in Africa focusing on advanced green features.

Speaking during a tour of Dunhill Towers, green building consultant, Jerry Yudelson, who led the delegation from World Green Building Council, said that the accomplishment by Dunhill Consulting Limited was momentous for the future of green building in Kenya and the East African region.

“The embracing of green building practices by Dunhill Towers, which has met energy and resource efficiency and sustainability standards in design, construction and operation is a major statement in the East African commercial property space and is expected to set the pace for future green developments in the region,” Mr Yudelson said.

The director of Dunhill Consulting Ltd., Bharat Doshi, said the company wanted other developers and potential tenants to know that it is possible to produce green buildings economically.

“While green buildings might command a slightly higher capital outlay due to advanced green features, they command a higher capital value and rental price, have lower running costs and let and retain tenants better,” he said.

Dunhill Towers, according to the developer, is a “classical yet modern design that provides warmth and character to its immediate environment with high quality interior and exterior finishes”.

The main building is designed as a two-tower structure connected by a common lobby. It comprises large windows on all sides to provide sufficient natural light and spectacular, unobstructed views.

The building features intelligent lighting, and tenants will be required to install LED lighting within their premises, at a minimum.

The building has an intelligent power back-up system to ensure continuity during power outages. It also has voltage stabilizer equipment, a parking management system, 24-hour security with CCTV back-up and waste collection services. There is a borehole on site to meet water needs of the tenants.

Dunhill Towers will offer 12,000 square feet of usable office space per floor, with offices taking up 7th to 19th floor. Tenant parking is on basement and ground floors, with more parking in the 1st to 6th floor.

Dunhill Towers joins a few other buildings that have attained other green ratings including the World Bank Group-Delta Centre and Vienna Court, a low-rise office complex which was awarded a leadership in energy and environmental design(LEED) Gold pre-certification in 2016 among others.

Green building is, however, in its infancy stage in Kenya mainly due to the high costs of putting up such buildings leading to the assumption that they are non-profitable.

Besides, there is also widespread lack of awareness of green building standards that should be applied in the country.

As such, many developers assume that they can borrow green building standards from the west and apply them locally ignorant of the climatic variations between the West and sub Saharan Africa.