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Sunlight heat forces URA to spend more on new tower’s window shading

In their bid notice, URA now says they are looking for contractors who can offer a cost-effective solution that "has been tested over time and proven to offer sunlight heat control."

KAMPALA | Barely four months into the picturesque 23-floor URA Tower and staffers have realised that all the superlatives invested in praising Uganda Revenue Authority headquarters cannot help much against heat.

URA has called for bids for provision of window shading solutions for the tower located in Nakawa.

The Shs139 billion magnificent headquarters for the tax collectors was designed with glass facades to let in natural light and improve energy efficiency.

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Architect Jonathan Nsubuga, whose firm JE Nsubuga and Associates designed the iconic building, said the structure was designed with environmental consciousness in mind.

He said the building is designed to be “green”- using no powered ACs, with a perfect natural aeration and lighting and intelligently powered lifts.

However, the bane in the boon of the architectural marvel is that the glasses absorb too much heat, leaving staffers sweating from as early as the break of the day.

In the bid tender published in local dailies, URA said the tower’s clear glazed surfaces are “prone to direct sunlight heat energy since it is designed to use natural lighting.”

In their bid notice, URA now says they are looking for contractors who can offer a cost-effective solution that “has been tested over time and proven to offer sunlight heat control.”

“The solution should be able to filter light and provide a substantial barrier between the heat and office space,” the bid requirement says.

It is still not yet clear how much the additional project on the URA Tower will cost as Ian Rumanyika, the manager for public and corporate affairs, was yet to respond to our inquiries about the financial implications.

But for the tallest building in Kampala with a unique architectural design, URA could be look at no less than Shs1 billion for the glass shading.

The ultra-modern office block, commissioned by President Museveni in January, is armed with a modern intelligent building management system that automatically controls facilities like energy, making it an energy efficient (a green) building.

The appropriately pie-shaped building boasts 280,000 square feet of usable space, which includes offices, meeting spaces, service centres, gym, and saloons and nursing spaces. The building comes complete with a new road, Walusimbi Lane, that connect the URA headquarters to Nakawa/Jinja road.

The block accommodates up to 1,700 people, with five floors of parking space that can house 350 cars. The outer parking area has space for another 700 cars.

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