The World Bank’s Country Office in Juba wins Top Environmental Award for Sustainability

August 28, 2013


Local and recycled materials were used to build the World Bank Country Office in Juba.

  • The World Bank’s Country Office in South Sudan has received top honors for sustainability
  • The building was partly constructed using recycled materials and was designed to conserve energy and water, which saves both money and the environment
  • The use of daylight and ventilation eliminates the need for central air, even during Juba’s 40C summers

JUBA, August 28, 2013 – The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) has given the World Bank’s Juba office building a gold rating, making it the first country office to hold the distinction of meeting the organization’s green standards of efficiency, energy conservation, and having a lower impact on the environment.

The building was designed and built to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) specifications, which are widely used industry standards for sustainable buildings. Assessments of the buildings’ energy and water efficiency, use of green/recycled materials, indoor air quality and sustainable site development, among other environmental factors, contributed to its stellar rating.

Many old trees have been preserved in the building compound, including along the winding walkway to the main gate. Roofing materials and wall coverings have solar reflectance, a design approach focused on passive cooling and energy conservation. Offices have been built around the flowering inner garden courtyard, which provides systematic use of daylight and ventilation. Despite Juba’s 40C heat in the summer, no central air is needed in the building.

“The central courtyard is the most beautiful part of the building,” says Evans Sokiri Kijore, the World Bank’s resource management specialist in Juba, who was involved in the project from inception. “Our garden is an oasis of green during the dry summer and when visitors ask, we tell them we are recycling water from our septic tank for irrigation. It also saves us some US$ 5,000-6000 in water charges every month.”

Kijore is part of the award-winning team of experts who worked together across countries, cultures and specializations. For instance, the LEED consultant is based in India, while Pharos Architects is based in Kenya. MS Consultancy, the water specialist, is based in Ethiopia, and the general contractor, COVEC, is from China. Paul Witteman, the World Bank project manager, managed the project from World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C.


The team implemented a maximum use of natural light, ventilation, solar energy, and greenery in the modern, two-story building, covering an area of 470 sq meters.  Sustainability concerns began with the size of the building itself which covers 203 sqm in a landscaped garden area is 1282 sqm – much more than the 20% vegetated area recommended by LEED.

To reduce the carbon footprint, nearly all building materials were locally sourced to within 500 km of the building site and a minimum of 5% of materials used were recycled such as boards, agri-fibers, glass and linoleum tiles. The building’s ceiling tiles are made of recycled milk cartons from Kenya. Extreme care was taken from construction onwards to prevent soil erosion and water loss by measures such as silt fencing and sediment basins and old, discarded materials were segregated for future recycling.

Water consumption was reduced by 50% for the large garden by using drip irrigation, drought resistant indigenous plants, water harvesting and drainage collection systems that obviated the use of potable water for gardening. Water consumption within the building was reduced by 20% with the use of efficient sanitary ware and other conservation practices.

An Indoor Air Quality Management Plan was drawn up to minimize pollution by screening the construction area and using products with low chemical emissions when it came to paints, sealants and adhesives. 

"The LEED award is symbolic of the high value the Bank places on environmental sustainability in supporting the development needs of the people of South Sudan,” said Nicola Pontara, head of the World Bank office in Juba. “We are always looking for ways to be progressive environmental stewards in how we operate, and we hope to create increased awareness by setting examples through our work.”