A touch of green in the Sahara
We have incorporated a number of eco-friendly, sustainable principles into the construction of the new centre.
- Building design
Considering the intense, year-round heat and minimal access to electricity, we designed a place that takes advantage of the natural ventilation, but keeps out the sun. The building is north-facing; the entrances and exits face each other; the windows are small and the ceilings are high; allowing air to flow through the building.
- Building materials
We used clay to make the bricks. Clay is a natural building material; it’s free of allergens and pollutants, it’s cool and it’s durable.
Material reduction: The bricks are interlocking, which means that we reduced the amount of cement and iron needed for construction. Clay also has a natural aesthetic, so we don’t need excessive plastering to make the walls look beautiful.
- Energy efficiency
Matamoulana is an off-the-grid village that utilises generators to provide electricity and water to the community. We are taking it a step further by only using clean energy sources. We are already using solar power onsite, and plan to make the building completely solar powered once it’s operational.
- Water efficiency
Water reduction: We looked at having the minimum amount of taps needed for the amount of users, in order to reduce waste.
Water recycling: We plan to recycle the grey water that comes from ablutions. Due to the scarcity and cost of water here, we only considered having a garden because of the availability of grey water.
Once the centre is open, we would incorporate the following:
Water recycling: Grey water will be used for the garden.
Waste recycling: Animal waste can be used to make as organic compost.
We plan to introduce environmental education to students as well as partner with local groups to host regular environmental awareness programmes.