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Zero Carbon Designs (ZCD) investing in sustainable construction solutions, co-funded by FONERWA Rwanda’s Green Fund

Strawboard Manufacturing Facility opens in Northern Uganda


Hon. Grace Kwiyucwiny, Minister for Northern Uganda,  Hon. Simon Oyet, and  Count  Douglas  Saurma,  President  Malteser International listen to Eckardt  Dauck, as he explains the strawboard production process at the lauch of the new IBS Foundation (IBSF) factory.

ZCD Designs Centre for Sustainable Construction at Makerere University


Vice Chancelor Prof. Nawangwe received the architectural plan for the proposed  Centre for Sustainable Construction in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The team was led by CEDAT Principal Prof. Arinaitwe and Eckardt M.P. Dauck

Youth Training in Construction, Northern Uganda


Zero Carbon Designs experts complete first training program for local youth and refugees in construction using alternative building technologies

Rhino Camp High School New Classrooms


 Grand Hospitaller of the Order of Malta H.E. Dominique Prince de La Rochefauclaude-Montbel cuts the ribbon to open and handover a new classroom block in Northern Uganda

ZCD at Africa Property Investment Summit 2018

Eckardt M.P. Dauck, Chairman of Zero Carbon Designs at the API Africa Property Investment Summit

“Smarter Building Solutions for Africa’s Housing Market”  presented by Eckardt M.P. Dauck at the 2018 API  Summit in Johannesburg.

German-African Day on Green Technology


Eckardt M.P. Dauck was invited as panellist to discuss „Buildings 4.0 – 

Green Materials, Sustainable Construction, Efficient Energy“

organised by the German-African Business Association

International Monetary Fund visits ZCD


David Lipton, Deputy Managing Director, of the IMF hosted by Eckardt M.P. Dauck, Chairman of Zero Carbon Designs in Kigali

ZCD Affordable Housing Prototypes Showcased

President Paul Kagame and Eckardt Dauck at Zero Carbon Designs ZCD Fonerwa Project Strawtec

H.E. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Zero Carbon Designs Chairman Eckardt M.P. Dauck discuss affordable housing alternatives

Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) at ZCD

Fran Rijsberman GGGI, Minister Vidar Helgesen, Eckardt M.P. Dauck at Zero Carbon Designs ZCD

Zero Carbon Designs hosts Frank Rijsberman, Director General of GGGI, Vidar Helgesen, Norwegian Minister of the Environment, and Alex Mulisa, FONERWA

Affordable Housing Research by ZCD


Focus groups carry out research on housing typology preferences in Rwanda as part of a Zero Carbon Designs/Fonerwa project

ZCD Hosts UN Industrial Development Organization

Li Young DG UNIDO Zero Carbon Designs ZCD Eckardt M.P. Dauck Strawtec

Li Yong, Director General UNIDO visits the first Zero Carbon Designs model house in Rwanda


Lightweight Steel


Lightweight steel technology is revolutionising design and construction. Offering improved quality, speed of construction, design flexibility and environmental performance, lightweight steel is a financially attractive alternative to resource-intensive traditional methods of construction, concrete and hot-rolled steel.  



With a high-density core of untreated straw and no added resins, strawboard panels are covered with recycled cardboard and have a negative carbon footprint. The panels possess excellent physical properties and can therefore either be used as a monolithic load-bearing building panel or in combination with lightweight steel, wood or concrete. 



Structural cross-laminated timber (CLT), also known as mass timber, is ideal to prefabricate complete load-bearing wall sections. CLT is a lightweight, cost-effective, robust material with steel-like strength. This is another sustainable alternative to traditional construction methods.


Center for Sustainable Construction, Kampala


Design of a Center for Sustainable Construction at Makerere University

Construction: locally produced FSC certified wood structure, strawboard external and internal walls, bio-concrete foundations

Location: Kampala

Anticipated start of construction: 

September 2019

Maternity Clinic, Northern Uganda

Zero Carbon Designs, Maternity Clinic, Nothern Uganda

Design of a Maternity Clinic

Construction: strawboard structural elements, light weight steel engineered roof trusses and raised floor structure

Location: Northern Uganda

Anticipated start of construction: 

April 2019

Hospital Training Centre, Kampala


Design build project for the 2nd floor extention to an existing hospital training institute.

Showcase project for our lightweight construction technology. 

Location: Kampala

Anticipated start of construction:

April 2019

NGO Team House, Nothern Uganda

NGO Team House Nothern Uganda

Design and construction of 

NGO Team House in Refugee Camp

Construction: strawboard structural elements, light weight steel roof trusses and raised floor structure

Location: Northern Uganda

Completed: January 2019

NGO Field Office, Northern Uganda


Design and construction of 

NGO field office 

Construction: strawboard structural elements, lightweight steel roof trusses, and standing seam roofing

Location: Northern Uganda

Completed: November 2018

Classroom Block, Northern Uganda


3-Classroom block with rainwater harvesting and solar power.

Training given on alternative building technologies for local Ugandan workers and refugees.

Construction: Lightweight steel structure with strawboard partitions / lining

Location: Rhino Camp, Northern Uganda

Completed: October 2018

Mixed-Use Development, Kigali


A master plan and concept design allowing for green spaces between the buildings and to one side, in order to continue the richness of the nearby wetlands and park and to compliment the surrounding neighbourhood.  The special, compacted and open plan living concept responds in a very city-friendly manner to the increased demand for housing in Kigali.
The focal Tower can be seen as a  flagship project and reflects the massive urban growth in Kigali. It includes a mix of commercial, retail and residential space and an area for business start-ups services.  Public squares around the Tower provide space for urban life adjacent to the retail and office space.  

Technical School Facilities, Nyanza


This prototype TVET school was developed in cooperation with Workforce Development Agency in Rwanda as a 2-storey extension to the existing buildings on the site of TSS Nyanza. It comprises 15 seminar rooms, 2 study rooms, 2 laboratories and a library around an open courtyard. The building has been adapted to the local conditions in terms of topography and climate to reduce energy consumption to a minimum. Introducing state of the art technologies like green roofing, solar-technology, new construction materials and rain water harvesting the new centre of TSS Nyanza offers a wide range of practical examples and creates a comfortable learning environment.  

Gisozi Heights Residential Development


Construction of phase one of the Gisozi Heights Development with over 100 projected residential units started in Spring 2017. Phase 1 comprises 26 two and three storey houses, which combine modern design with traditional Rwandan lifestyle requirements. Each living area is designed to maximise natural light and ventilation, and ceiling-height expansive doors on every floor seamlessly extend the indoor living space to the outside.

Location: Gisozi, Kigali

Construction: Lightweight steel structure and strawboard floors/partitioning

Construction commenced: Spring 2017

Site Facilities at New Kigali Airport


Demountable facilities including training centre, clinic, wc's, canteen, and site offices.

Construction: Lightweight steel structure for large spans with strawboard partitions / lining, and standing seam external cladding. Strawboard structural elements for smaller buildings

Location: Bugesera, Rwanda

GFA: 1,500 sqm

Construction commenced: December 2016

Contractor Site Facilities, Butaro


Pre-fabricated accommodation, office buildings and laboratory

Construction: strawboard structural elements, lightweight steel roof trusses, and standing seam roofing

Location: Butaro, Rwanda

GFA: 1,375 sqm

Construction completed: February 2017

Demountable Army Barracks, Rwanda


Demountable 60-person military accommodation

Construction: Lightweight steel structure with strawboard partitions / lining, and standing seam external cladding

Location: Kigali, Rwanda

GFA: 365 sqm

Construction completed: January 2017

One Acre Fund Head Quarter, Kenya


Internal wall systems up to 5.6m in height for offices and conference facilities

Location: Kenya

Construction: strawboard double panel and metal profiles

Wall area: 1,850 sqm

Project completed: January 2017

Affordable Housing Prototypes


Design and project / construction management of prototype affordable dwelling units incorporating shared facilities and locally-accepted typologies.

Location: Kigali, Rwanda

Construction: Monolithic strawboard

GFA: 400 sqm

Construction completed: September 2016

Mount Kenya University, Kicukiro


Partitioning system for new multi-level university building

Location: Kigali, Rwanda

Construction: strawboard single-panel

Wall area: 2,250 sqm

Installation completed: November 2016

Research & Development

FONERWA Green Fund


In 2015 ZCD was awarded an innovation grant by Rwanda's Fund for Environment and Climate Change with the following project objectives, 

  • to develop low-carbon, affordable dwelling units that will be acceptable to the target markets and that can be mass-produced   
  • to demonstrate and evaluate the dwelling units through the construction of a prototype building  
  • to engage with potential end-users and other stakeholders to explore the potential for adaptation to lower-in-come sectors through the use of incremental construction, co-housing sweat equity participation and other methodologies  
  • to commission a detailed Life Cycle Analysis in order to verify the anticipated reduction in carbon emissions based on new construction technology  

Bauhaus University, Weimar - EiABC, Addis Ababa


ZCD participated in the research project ‘Welcome to Africa’ in partnership initiated by Bauhaus University Weimar and the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture Development (EiABC) at the University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The initial focus was to investigate and test strawboard panels as an innovative and low-weight construction material for emerging cities in Ethiopia, followed by the construction of a prototype building - the Sustainable Emerging City Unit (SECU).  

The SECU building design is a strawboard panel double-storey load bearing wall structure, thus eliminating the need for cost-intensive frames, and follows the need for urban density with a design that can be aggregated in various typologies. The SECU was constructed in 2012 on the university campus in Addis Ababa and now serves as a university guesthouse.  

IFEU - Institut für Energie- und Umweltforschung Heidelberg


In 2016 ZCD contracted the ifeu Institute to carry out a study of potential reduction in carbon emissions when building with strawboard panels vs conventional construction methods in Rwanda (i.e. cement blocks and fired bricks). After close collaboration and completion of Life Cycle Assessment modelling, the final report was published in early 2017. 

The report concluded that the essential advantage of the strawboard material is that negative GHG emissions will result, if the material is recycled or the energy content is utilized by incineration. Under these conditions, a one square metre strawboard wall will result in -22 kg of CO2–eq. savings, whereas cement blocks and modern fired bricks will result in net emissions of +14 kg and +11 kg of CO2–eq., respectively.  

GIZ Eco-Emploi Program


ZCD played an instrumental role within an innovative development partnership  which launched in 2014 with the Workforce Development Authority (WDA), Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) and Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). Partially financed within the framework of the develoPPP.de program, the primary objectives of the partnership were to improve capacities in the Rwandan construction sector, to develop sustainable construction systems using low carbon building materials and to promote green building materials within Rwanda and neighbouring countries.  


UN Habitat - Rapid Planning Project


ZCD contributed to the development of the BMBF-funded Building Material Calculator (BMC) as part of the Rapid Planning project. The BMC is designed to analyse buildings by applying Lifecycle Analysis modelling to assess material types and construction methods applicable to Rwanda.

Based on chosen values, the calculator provides results for the categories Climate Change, Energy Demand, Fresh Water Use and Land Use.

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