Construction planners urged to ‘think green’


04-November-2011

Mr Hoareau (photo above) addressing delegates at the opening of the workshop

The three-day course, held at the Coco d’Or Hotel, was conducted by three experts from the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP).

It covered climate change, eco-friendly appliances in buildings, opportunities for new  renewable energy sources, waste management, rain harvesting and water treatments and building materials and designs.

Addressing the participants at the opening of the training, the Planning Authority chief executive, Gerard Hoareau, said as a small island developing state, Seychelles faces several challenges regarding its building infrastructure.

He noted that although we have just emerged from an eight-month drought period, which touched the lives of all on our three main islands, water harvesting and the use of grey water systems is yet to be a common feature in all newly proposed developments in our country.

He urged residents to rise up to the challenge, by adapting and bracing ourselves for the climatic change that is already set to continue to affect our islands.

Rising sea levels, increased frequencies and extended dry spells and the force of tropical storms as well as slowly rising temperatures is no longer foreign to us.

Mr Hoareau said the training course was also an occasion to think about how our forefathers developed buildings that adapted well to the Seychelles climate and environment.

Referring to the Grann Kaz (old colonial mansion), he noted that it is amazing to see how well these buildings integrate aspects of ventilation, natural cooling, shading effects, etc, in their layout and construction, while at the same time blending in with the beauty and character of our islands.

Mr Hoareau said just a little over three months as head of the Seychelles Planning Authority, with an average of 70 new building and development applications reaching the Authority weekly, he has ascertained that many of the proposed developments do not yet sufficiently integrate the available techniques to conserve water, ventilate houses by natural means or saving energy, particularly in the major buildings in town.

“It is today a battle to get our developers to think ‘green’ and to stop proposing what we in Planning Authority term as ‘alien’ projects.

“Let us not miss the boat,” he said, adding that under the guidance of the three trainers, an architect, an environmental engineer and a landscaping specialist, he is convinced that those taking part in the training are in good hands and have a unique chance to discuss on a very practical level how to integrate new concepts and techniques into future designs and project plans.

J.L.

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