Archive for category Carbon Neutral

First Carbon Neutral Building in Africa

Posted by on Monday, 21 March, 2011

Carbon neutral buildings are a sub category of low-carbon buildings. Carbon neutral buildings are buildings which are specifically engineered to release no GHG at all or to balance the GHG emissions they produce using GHG trades.

During construction and operation, buildings release GHG in the atmosphere. GHG emissions associated with buildings construction are mainly coming from materials manufacturing, materials transport, demolition wastes transport, demolition wastes treatment etc.

The construction, renovation, and deconstruction of a typical building are on average responsible for the emissions of 1,000-1,500 kgCO2e/m.

GHG emissions from buildings are occurring due to electricity consumption, Consumption of fossil fuels on-site for the production of electricity, hot water, heat, etc., on-site waste water treatment, on-site solid wastes treatment, industrial processes housed in the buildings etc.

Strategies adopted by carbon-neutral buildings to reduce GHG emissions during construction include:

  • Reduce quantity of materials used
  • Select materials with low emissions factors associated (e.g., recycled materials)
  • Select materials suppliers as close as possible from the construction site to reduce transport distances
  • Divert demolition wastes to recycling instead of landfills or incineration

To reduce GHG emissions carbon neutral buildings normally adopt two methods ie by reducing energy consumption or by using 100% renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro, biofuels, geothermal, wave and tidal etc.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters in Nairobi has become the first carbon-neutral building in Africa by using solar power. A system of over 4,000 modules was installed on the roof of the new UNEP offices by German firm Energiebau Solarstromsysteme GmbH. The 515 kilowatt solar project was connected to the grid on February 21st, and is expected to generate more energy than the 1,200 employees in the building will need.

Solar energy has been something the U.N. has been targeting in Africa for years. And now that the building’s sustainable energy supply is online, it is the largest on-roof solar power system on the continent.

Aldo Leopold Foundation Headquarters, Fairfield (WI):

The Aldo Leopold Foundation Headquarters located in Fairfield, Wisconsin is the first LEED-platinum carbon neutral building. 30 percent of all building materials used on the project are from recycled materials. Also, this building include sustainable features like high efficiency, low – flow plumbing fixtures, Low-VOC adhesives, sealants, paints, flooring systems and composite wood products to improve air quality, Twenty three Solatube skylights on the second floor, Lighting fixtures equipped with occupancy sensors designed to turn off when there is no movement or noise for an extended period of time etc.


Kroon Hall, Yale University’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies:

Kroon Hall is Yale Universitie’s greenest building. Rainwater harvesting system and cleansing pond, recycled, recyclable, sustainably harvested or manufactured nontoxic materials, natural light and ventilation, geothermal energy system, solar hot water heaters, rooftop solar panels facing south, solar heat gain in winter and natural lighting year round along the long unobstructed south-facing wall, recycling of demolition and construction waste are some of the sustainable features of Kroon Hall building.

To read more about Kroon Hall building visit


Related Terms in the Glossary:

Carbon neutral

Fossil Fuels

Greenhouse Gas


CLIMAX 500 Climate Tech Startup Snapshot - Top 10 startups in 50 decarbonization avenues

Renewable Energy - Utility Scale Solar | Distributed Solar | Solar Thermal | Wind Power | Biomass heating and power | Biofuels | Hydro Power | Geothermal Energy

Energy Efficiency - Energy Efficient Buildings | Industrial Waste Heat Recovery | Low Carbon Thermal Power | Energy Efficient Industrial Equipment | Smart Grids | Heat Pumps | Digital for Decarbonization

Energy Storage - Battery Storage | Thermal & Mechanical Storage | Green Hydrogen

Agriculture & Food - Sustainable Forestry | Regenerative Agriculture | Smart Farming | Low Carbon Food | Agro Waste Management

Materials - Bio-based Materials | Advanced Materials | Product Use Efficiency | Industrial Resource Efficiency

Waste Management - Reducing Food Waste | Solid Waste Management

Water - Water Use Efficiency 

Decarbonizing Industries - Low Carbon Metals | Low Carbon Chemicals & Fertilizers | Low Carbon Construction Materials | Low Carbon Textiles & Fashion | Decarbonizing Oil & Gas Sector | Corporate Carbon Management

Low Carbon Mobility - Electric Mobility | Low Carbon Trucking | Low Carbon Marine Transport | Low Carbon Aviation | Low Carbon ICE Vehicles | Mass Transit 

GHG Management - CO2 Capture & Storage | C2V - CO2 to Value | Reducing Emissions from Livestock | Reducing Non-CO2 Industrial & Agricultural Emissions | Managing Large Carbon Sinks

Others - Low Carbon Lifestyles | Multi-stakeholder Collaboration | Moonshots