Collaboration between Transsolar and ENABEL (formerly BTC Belgian Technical Cooperation) to improve buildings at three National Teacher Training colleges in Abilonino, Kaliro and Muni, started with a site visit and feasibility studies in 2013. These visits were intended to assess local conditions at each of the sites, to establish key design drivers specific to this context for the Master plan of the colleges as well as for specific buildings that would be renovated as well as new builds.
The roof in the initial state of the buildings was found to be the single most critical cause of discomfort. Replacement of the old dark asbestos roof with more reflective alternatives. Further, an additional low-E membrane or a second ceiling with ventilated cavity were proposed to protect students from longwave radiation. Reorienting building to minimize solar exposure and staggering buildings to improve frontage to local winds were some additional strategies to improve user conform in the living and learning spaces. Other strategies included night flushing, enhancing daytime ventilation, thermal mass and shading. With each of these strategies, it was recommended that all learning spaces meet natural daylighting requirements during operation hours.
The proposed strategies were implemented first by FBW design team, then (Infrastructure design) id Forum and are currently being undertaken by Arch Design. The iterative nature of the design process engendered a comprehensive discussion about the design and construction process in this context. Some of the aspects that stood out included; locally obtainable resources, artisan skill-level, as well as builder competence for this rural setting for the lean budget available for this project.
Observation and discussion at the three colleges confirmed that user behavior is essential to optimize the effectiveness of proposed passive strategies. The consistent feedback loop throughout the project has allowed revision and adjustment of initial strategies to continuously refine the design for subsequent buildings. Recent comparative analysis of data collected in 2018 at the colleges from Old, Renovated as well as new construction confirmed significant improvement in the number of hours within the comfort zone. On top of that space users regaled their preference to use the renovated and new buildings for longer durations than Older buildings. The lessons learned for these investigations shall inform ENABEL as they continue to implement these strategies in new colleges they are planning to support in other parts of the country.