Remote Group’s subsidiary, Remote Estates will use Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC) to build affordable housing units in Masaka, Kicukiro District, starting in the next three months.
Marco Tiel Groenestege, Architectural Engineer at Remote Group, has revealed to IGIHE that the project in Masaka is the first ever in East African Region to use AAC, the high quality building material that is largely used in developed countries.
Comparing with concrete cement which is usually the building material in the region, Tiel Groenestege said AAC is far lighter, more insulated and has less carbon emission, all making it the most efficient and environmental friendly building material.
“We want to use AAC for this project of affordable housing units in Masaka. It is a new building material in Rwanda and the region. We want to put up a factory in Rwanda to produce the material. AAC is used on walls, floor, roof and lintels. It is a common material everywhere in Europe, Asia, Australia, North and South America,” said Tiel Groenestege, the project manager.
The project is designed by MASS Design group. It will avail 282 housing units in five typologies including 162 apartments, 54 attached townhouses, 24 semi-detached units, seven detached units as well as 34 units for shops or offices. The first units will be completed next year while the entire project’s completion is due in 2019.
Sustainable still affordable units
With Remote Estates, a client pays an advance of $100 for reservation of a unit of their choice while the balance will be paid in five installments with the first installment due at the beginning of construction works.
The cost a three-bedroom apartment equipped with its facilities starts at $35,000 (around Rwf30 million) and the interior of the apartment is incremental (Self-build) to allow the owner to customize the inside walling the way they want. Self build is an option to keep the costs down, but buyers can also choose for a complete apartment.
Tiel Groenestege said that key to affordability of the housing is to optimize the design and basically fit the structure of the building, and the characteristics of the building materials all together.
AAC is composed of a mixture of cement, lime, water, sand and aluminum powder. AAC helps reduce at least 30% of environmental waste as opposed to going with traditional concrete. There is a decrease of 50% of greenhouse gas emissions. The thermal conductivity of the AAC blocks helps maintaining the inner temperature to be warm during the night and cool during the day. The material also has excellent sound insulation characteristics.
Besides AAC’s insulating capability, one of its advantages in construction is its quick and easy installation because the slab panels, the walling blocks and the lintels are pre-fabricated. Remote Estates will produce the material in the factory, transport it to the site for installation using a crane.
By Jean d’Amour Mugabo