NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

Climate Resilient Low Cost Buildings in Marsabit County, Kenya [NDF C82 B3]

Photo: Blerand Greicevci, HAMK.
A street view from Marsabit suburb.
Photo: Eija Laitinen, HAMK.
Department of Energy, Lands and Urban Development of County Government of Marsabit.
Photo: Eija Laitinen, HAMK.
Department of Energy, Lands and Urban Development of County Government of Marsabit.
Photo: Blerand Greicevci, HAMK.
House with local materials.
Photo: Eija Laitinen, HAMK.
Lake Paradice in Marsabit.
Photo: County Government of Marsabit.
Project team to meet Governor of Marsabit County.
Photo: Eija Laitinen, HAMK.
Street view in Marsabit town center.
The project creates models for sustainable low-cost buildings and energy-efficient renewable energy technologies in hot and arid climates by providing affordable and quality housing options for low-income people

Climate Resilient Low Cost Buildings in Marsabit County, Kenya
Ref: NDF C82 B3

Nordic partner: Häme University of Applied Sciences Ltd. (HAMK)
Local partners: Strathmore Energy Research Centre (BERG); Marsabit County Government, Department of Energy Lands, Housing and Urban Development
Other partner: UN-HABITAT
Total project cost: EUR 1,086,764
NCF financing: EUR 497, 660
Agreement signed: 18 April 2016
Project classification: Adaption and mitigation
Duration: 30 months

Project objective

The project provides technical capacities to the private and public sector in order to boost a sustainable building end energy efficient/renewable energy industry in Marsabit County, Kenya. This is to contribute to the reduction of fossil fuel consumption with the aim to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources for the energy supply. Furthermore, the project creates a legal framework on energy and building that contribute to keep the trend towards sustainable construction and energy-efficiency in the long term and to influence the construction and energy market in Kenya. Finally, the project aims to facilitate the construction of demonstration units.


Main results/outputs

The expected project results of energy-efficient and renewable energy (EE/RE) housing project in Marsabit County, Kenya:

  • Training and awareness-raising material developed on sustainable building, EE/RE and green business management
  • Skills on sustainable construction and EE/RE technologies of local masons, artisans and energy technicians, construction sector, local vocational centres and polytechnics developed.  At least 400 people trained, with women making up at least 50%
  • Awareness-raising on the environmental, social and economic benefits of sustainable building and EE/RE technologies raised among the community of Marsabit, public and private sector related to the construction and energy sector
  • Manual on sustainable building and EE/RE technologies appropriate for hot and arid areas developed
  • Local building regulations and by laws influenced in favour of adopting sustainable building design and EE/RE technologies. Recommendations and enforcement plan delivered to the Government of Marsabit
  • A scaling-up plan developed to address sustainability and EE/RE in building in different counties and sectors – residential buildings, public facilities and commercial buildings
  • The potential green building markets to be mapped and financing models  and marketing materials for green building business developed
  • To showcase the affordable and sustainable housing, the building of 100 housing units facilitated by introducing the EE/RE housing technologies: reduction of energy consumption in construction and in operation and maintenance, reduction of the use and demand for water from the mains supply, reduction of consumption of wood to heat water, reduction of the use of charcoal and/or wood for cooking and introduction of water saving technologies


The county of Marsabit is located in the hot and arid northern region of Kenya, it is one of the most undeveloped regions in the country where water and energy are precious resources and the people in the area are struggling to adapt to the increasingly harder climatic conditions. A majority of the population in urban areas live in informal settlements without provision of basic services and housing units are made of iron sheets that hardly protect from the extreme climatic conditions. Need for housing infrastructure development is thus one key development areas of the region.

Despite availability of good soil for construction and local stone quarries, lack of technology, resources and knowledge to use local construction resources is leading to an unsustainable building industry. This pilot project will become a training field and showcasing of sustainable construction and energy efficiency technologies for future building projects by both the public and private sector throughout the country. To support this process the project will work with the local government to include sustainable building and Energy Efficient/Renewable Energy measures in local building regulations and bylaws.

This project will address mitigation of climate change by developing building models with the private and public sector that can reduce the embodied energy in building and the energy, fuel and water consumption. The project will also address adaptation to climate change by developing models less dependent on scarce resources like water, firewood or electricity from fossil fuels.

Relevance for climate change

The project will contribute to the reduction of GHG emissions by using green building technologies as well as energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies. Reduction of energy consumption in construction and building operation will have positive impacts on the environment in addition to having influence on the buildings themselves. The use of water efficient fixtures and other technologies like water reuse or water harvesting will contribute to reduction of water consumption in building whilst providing good quality of water. The use of indigenous vegetation and recovery of the green cover around the building areas will also help proper water natural infiltration. In the same way, efficient cook stoves and solar lanterns can reduce both the use of firewood that is contributing to deforestation in the county with all the consequences that it carries and the use of energy from diesel generators that are highly pollutant and make use of fossil fuels.

Innovation aspects

This project will be the first public low-cost housing construction that will include sustainable building design principles and EE/RE technologies in Kenya. It is up-scalable, uses local building materials with new sustainable designs that reduce energy and resource consumption by promoting natural lighting and cooling, efficient use of energy, cooking fuel and water. It will also introduce wind proof construction technologies for Marsabit where most of the conventional buildings suffer from wind damage.

More information

Häme University f Applied Sciences Ltd. (HAMK)
Strathmore Energy Research Centre (SERC)