“Nigerians are aware that the climate is changing, even though they may not understand technical language.”
Climate change refers to the global increase in temperatures caused by carbon emissions, which affects everything from farming seasons to water levels, is of huge importance to the Niger Delta. 35% of the land mass of the region will be under water if the water level rises by half a meter.
A good way to deal with climate change is by strengthening environmental consciousness and improving the energy conservation.
“I do not know of any government policy for environmentally-conscious building in the Niger Delta,” Prof. Odjugbo tells us at his third-floor office in UNIBEN. “People who put in place environmentally conscious aspects into their design are do so more out of individual interest, or as non-government organizations as adaptive measures concerning climate change.”
PIND built its Appropriate Technology Enabled Development (ATED) Center on the premises of the Economic Development Centre because of the linkages between appropriate technology’s commercial potential and the small and medium-scale business development work being done at the EDC. The day before the Center’s official launch, we hosted a stakeholder meeting with different civil society and government officials to help come up with ideas on how to use this building’s features to advocate for
“PIND’s ATED centre is the first attempt that I know of to promote environmental responsibility through green building in Nigeria. I’ve been to the ATED Center several times, but the first time I went was at the launch, where I took part in the stakeholders meeting on climate change activism that took place before the official launch.”
The many environmentally-conscious building innovations that the Center features are to enhance sustainability and provide the ATED team a platform through which to launch climate change advocacy in the Niger Delta. The building was oriented to capture wind passage and constructed using hydraform blocks made with locally-available laterite, both of which will help the building attain its target of reducing energy generated from cooling by 75%, relative to the EDC building right next to it. Other innovations like low-heat lighting from the bulbs used throughout the building, the solar water heater, and the use of the bio-digester to convert human and food waste into gas for cooking ensures that the building uses also reduce the amount of energy used in the building. Such innovations will, in the long run, markedly reduce the amount of money spent on bills for such things as electricity and gas.
The ATED team hosts group tours every Wednesday from 11:00am to 1:00pm to inform people about the many ways in which buildings can be environmentally-conscious and why climate change is important. University of Benin and Federal University of Technology of Akure (FUTA) were the first two visiting institutions, and the former has now introduced the laterite bricks in their curriculum as part of their building best practices. Prof. Odjugbo is also interested in doing same at his institution.
“I am interested in the innovations used. I liked the laterite bricks used, so I started discussing with people on how we here in UNIBEN can find that innovation and use it here. I reached out to the Ministry of Environment here in Edo state and we are trying to see how we can bring these innovations to government’s attention.
More people should be aware of the building, so I broached the topic my department here in UNIBEN. We are working on an MOU with the ATED team as we speak. I would like to work with the ATED team at PIND on further environmental research to help promote green building in the region.”
Prof. Peter A. Odjugbo,
Professor of Applied Climatology at University of Benin in Edo