EcoCasa: Creating low-carbon housing in Mexico

EcoCasa is a sustainable housing initiative creating energy-efficient and social housing in Mexico, while contributing to climate protection and improving the quality of life for low-income residents.

Mexico has a significant housing shortage with an estimated deficit of 9.6 million homes. Many of these are needed by families on low incomes.

The country is addressing the urgent need to make its cities more sustainable, having made a dramatic commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 50 per cent below 2002 levels by 2050.

EcoCasa provides low-interest construction loans to developers to build “EcoCasas” – affordable new homes that cut CO2 emissions by at least 20% – without passing on extra costs to purchasers.

The programme also provides financial incentives and technical assistance to housing developers to achieve higher levels of energy efficiency, and thus contribute to transform the housing sector in line with the country’s objectives on climate change.

EcoCasa homes save around $200 energy bills and 7,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.

Since launching in 2013, the EcoCasa programme has built around 22,000 energy-efficient homes. EcoCasa aims to reduce about one million tonnes of CO2 in the first seven years and plans to complete 27,600 energy-efficient social housing units by the end of 2019.

The major challenges in Mexico include the general climate conditions, which differ strongly from region to region and require different environmental technologies. It is generally not the expensive heating that is the most important part of housing construction in Mexico, but the cooling under the hot sun.

Under the EcoCasa programme, homes have been built to adapt to the hot climate including insulation in ceilings and walls, the use of reflective paint, efficient gas heaters, efficient refrigerators or energy-saving windows.

EcoCasa has been recognised by the UN as a “shining example”, and received the renowned Ashden Award for innovative climate financing.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea

 

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