Thursday, April 25, 2013

Rwanda: Experts Tip Region On Energy Saving

BY IRENE NAYEBARE
East African countries have been urged to act fast in adopting energy conservation measures and renewable energy in buildings.
The appeal was made, yesterday, during an ongoing workshop in Kigali organised to discuss and adopt energy efficiency measures that can be integrated into building policies all over East Africa.
The workshop, which closes tomorrow, is organised by the UN-Habitat in collaboration with the Rwandan government with support from the World Bank.
It is partly in response to reports by the Green Building Council in Africa, indicating that the buildings alone consumes 54 per cent of energy supply on the continent, and this energy is used only in cooking, lighting, cooling, heating, communication.
The participants were drawn from five East Africa partner states of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Ugand as well as West Africa, Asia, North America, Europe and Arab states.
According to a UN-Habitat representative, Dr. Vincent Kitio, there is an urgent need to adopt energy efficiency measures into building policies in the region.
"This will reduce energy demand in buildings and will ultimately reduce electricity bills. The workshop also aims at promoting resource efficiency such as efficient use of water resources, optimal use of land, better use of locally available materials, energy conservation and adoption of renewable energy technologies in building through innovative solutions," Kitio said.
According to Kitio, due to population growth, rapid urbanisation, economic growth and climate change, this region is facing an energy crisis because of the dependence on energy imports, high demand for energy and inadequate supply and production of energy.
"As part of the integration process for East Africa, we are looking forward to harmonising the building codes of all the countries and this will help conserve energy in the region," explained Prudence Sebahizi, the national coordinator of East African Civil Society integration process.
A recent study by the Rwanda Housing Authority shows there is need to construct 30,000 dwelling residential units per year.
The mission of the Rwandan energy sector is to create conditions for the provision of safe, reliable, efficient, cost-effective and environmentally appropriate energy services to households and to all economic sectors on a sustainable basis.