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Sustainable Practices Are Helping to Build an Eco-friendly Africa

People have many ideas of what Africa is like. Many imagine only desert, grasslands and amazing wildlife. What they forget are the people that are living and working there every day. Those people, like billions all over the world, are doing all they can to make the world a better place. That often means being earth-friendly and finding ways to live comfortably without leaving a damaging footprint behind. Much of that concern is noticeable in Africa’s green housing movement.

Sustainable housing is a unique problem in a land that often suffers from resource availability. Africa is unlike some forested parts of the world where there seems (incorrectly) to be an endless source of building materials. Here the builders must be conscious of the materials they use, find new ways to use unusual resources and recycle everything possible.

Sandbag houses are a good example of the smart use of available materials. This amazing system was developed in South Africa and is now beginning to be seen in locations all over the planet. It consists of timber and metal beams framing out sandbag walls. The sand is stored in specially designed fabric bags and kept in place with wire mesh and drywall or plaster. It eliminates the risk of cracks in walls, is waterproof and soundproof. The sand also offers protection against fire and has amazing thermal properties.

Additional methods contributing to an eco-friendly Africa include dual-use buildings. For example,towns are able to save space, resources and money by using a single public building as a school during the day and a community library in the afternoon and evenings. Solar power, reusing gray water for gardens and placing buildings to take advantage of natural light are just some of the ways people are making better use of what already exists.

Actions like these help out the residents immediately, but are also helping their future. Being at the forefront of green building ideas and more sustainable living will help them to be stronger and more affluent decades down the road. Their ideas can even be used to create a valuable industry where they can compete with others in the global marketplace.