ERC issues solar heating requirements for buildings
New buildings coming up in urban areas will be required to install solar water heating systems, the Energy Regulatory Commission has said. Older buildings have five years starting June, 2012 to comply with the regulations that have also been incorporated in the Ministry of Housing's building code.
ERC will either enforce the directive itself or hire an agent to carry out inspections such as it does with checking the quality of fuel products sold in the country. “All premises with hot water whose requirements exceed 100 litres a day to install and use solar water heating,” ERC director-general Engineer Kaburu Mwirichia said yesterday.
He spoke when he gave a media update of the energy sector in the country in Nairobi. “These regulations have just come up . We have worked with the Ministry of Housing to make sure that in their regulations, before approvals (of building), that it is included.” The Architectural Association of Kenya while terming the requirements good, said enforcement will be a challenge.
Chairman Stephen Oundo noted that currently, provisions of the building code that exist are hardly followed. For instance, it is required that for any new building coming up that there should be a registered architect retained, a structural engineer and a board giving details of the proposed construction. “Only four out of 10 buildings comply,” Oundo said. “Having the law is one thing, it is a very good principle but enforcement is another thing.”
Oundo added that political will should come from the Office of the President and the Prime Minister and cascade down to the relevant ministries and local authorities for anything to be done. Architects, he said, have been providing for solar installations in their designs but local authorities should be required to ascertain compliance before issuing the Occupation Certificate.