Bomet University College (BUC) has heralded a new era with the opening of a green tuition block, the only one of its kind in the region.
Outwardly, it may not appear different from other buildings, but the block embraces all tenets of sustainable green environmental conservation and puts the university in the same league as premier green institutions globally.
While opening the building on October 22, President Kenyatta in a tweet noted that the “block embraced all tenets of sustainable green environment conservation and was the only one of its kind in the region,”
“The green concept embraced by the University College encompasses social, economic, environmental and governance concepts, applied along the entire value chain of service provision,” said Prof Koi Tirima, the University Council chairperson.
The building is part of the University College’s Master Plan based on the green technology concept designed in such a way that it minimises negative impacts on the natural environment and maximises indoor environmental quality while conserving natural resources including electricity, water and paper.
It maximises air flow by enabling natural circulation without the use of air-conditioning, while the natural light eliminates the use of electricity during the day in line with the university’s green orientation as a centre of applied science, technology and innovation.
Together with the county administration and the national government, as well as other partnerships, the university is already well into the development of a solar farm that will serve the entire campus and contribute to the main grid.
This will reduce running costs and generate income for the university. Additionally, the institution will initiate rainwater harvesting that will be used at grey water points for outdoor cleaning, flushing toilets, and watering the grounds. These activities demonstrate the core of the green sustainable concept.
“We have based the University Master Plan on principles of renewable energy, efficiency in design, water conservation, waste reduction and recycling, indoor air control, durability, and merging of green environment with the built one,” says Dr Peter Nyakundi, a University Council member who chaired the development of the Master Plan.
In accordance with plan, the University College arboretum focuses on sustaining local knowledge, including beneficial and medicinal plants used by the local community for generations.
In collaboration with the Forest Service, the university will capture the local age-old knowledge on flora and fauna such as the best plants to preserve fermented milk like mursik.
In addition, the university will strive to preserve the natural land topography in the planning of the campus. This includes adapting the natural seasonal waterway as part of the riparian part of the arboretum, with plants that purify and refresh the water as it moves towards the local stream so as to further social sustainability of the green philosophy.
Bomet University College is in partnership with the Bomet County government in developing a sustainable green solid and liquid waste management programme, which will be the first in the region.
This will create job opportunities through recycling of waste and production of briquettes that will remove dependence on charcoal and firewood. This programme, in addition to the tree planting initiative, is an example of the environmental sustainability of the green philosophy.
To contribute to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, Kenya’s Vision 2030, and the government’s “Big Four” agenda, the University College seeks to address the rapid depletion of forest cover, water pollution, climate change and sustainable development through quality teaching and research, innovation and dissemination of output in outreach programs.
“The Mission of BUC is to provide a conducive environment for discovery, preservation and dissemination of knowledge; to nurture critical inquiry, creativity and engagement for social transformation and advancement of humanity,” said Prof Tirima.
Prof Thomas Cheruiyot, the acting principal of the University College, observes that “as an integral part of our Strategic Plan, all academic programmes and processes must incorporate green sustainability components. Such will find clear orientation and expression in the already existing schools, future schools and centres of research.”
The institution will initiate rainwater harvesting and the harnessing of renewable and clean energy to reduce the high costs of electricity.
“We are basing it on principles of renewable energy, efficiency in design, water conservation, waste reduction and recycling, indoor air control, durability, merging of green environment with the built one,” said Prof Cheruiyot.