Kenya: Green Roofs in Nairobi on the rise

The green roof garden at the East African Coca-Cola Company headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. PHOTO/AlertNet/Gitonga Njeru

By Gitonga Njeru

Architects in Kenya are designing buildings with green roofs covered in vegetation to cool their interiors, conserve energy and water, and help curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Kenya’s capital, Nairobi is experiencing growth in green-roofed construction, according to architects who specialise in the climate-friendly technology.

Some of these gardens in the sky, which require a flat roof and replace the vegetation destroyed when ground is cleared for construction, boast trees as well as grass and other plants.

With urban trees and nearby forests being cut down for firewood and new development, green roofs are increasingly seen as a means of restoring city environments, while their plants suck up planet-warming carbon dioxide.

The East African Coca-Cola Company headquarters on the outskirts of downtown Nairobi has led the way. Completed in 2008, and located in a smart suburb hosting several embassies, it is one of the most expensive buildings in Africa.

Its’ green roof garden serves as a recreation area for employees and ensures there is minimal heat gain through the roof, according to Triad Architects, which worked on the project.

“The green roof garden keeps the building cool,” said Bob Okello, communications manager at Coca-Cola in Nairobi.