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Regional News of Thursday, 22 March 2012

Source: GNA

Sherry Ayittey urges architects to design buildings to capture sunlight

Ms Sherry Ayittey, the Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, on Thursday appealed to architects to design buildings that could capture sunlight into the interior parts to help reduce the heavy burden of electricity.

She explained that with the cost of electricity rising, there was the need for buildings to be designed such that the roofing, windows and doors could capture sunlight during the day for the bulbs to be turned off to save energy.

Ms Ayittey made the call when addressing the opening session of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Ghana Institute of Architects (GIA), in Accra.

The meeting would brainstorm on past achievements, challenges and chart a good path for the architecture industry.

It is on the theme: “The Architect and National Development” and sought to discuss areas that would help the industry to design buildings that could withstand the test of time.

Ms Ayittey said it was sad to observe that though there were a wide range of credible professional bodies with the requisite expertise to contribute to the sustainable and harmonious development of the built environment, there was rapid deterioration of the natural environment over the years.

She said the serious problems confronting human settlements and the continuous deterioration in the country was the failure of practitioners in the development of the built environment involving planners, architects, engineers and environmental and social scientists.

Ms Ayittey said since both urban and rural communities were vulnerable and could be adversely affected by the high risk of future climate change it was advisable to promote participatory and stringent land use and planning services as well as zoning codes.

She advised the executive committee of GIA to constantly collaborate with other professional bodies involved in the built environment to ensure that concerns within the housing sector were addressed.

Mr Osei Agyeman, President of GIA said, quality of the environment determined growth and stressed the need for the country not to wait until disasters occurred before actions were taken to redress some problems associated with haphazard infrastructure placement.

He said the continuous existence of slums and negative attitude of some persons in the country would continue to invite disasters such as flooding, and called on State institutions to pay more attention to planning, to save lives and property.

Mr Enoch Teye Mensah, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing in a speech read on his behalf, stressed the need for architects to strive and cultivate the taste for using local building materials for construction.

He said most residential houses were turning into slums due to the haphazard manner in which people built, while the housing deficit was in excess of 1.5 million units due to high cost of building materials, high cost and access to land, which needed to be reversed.**