Capacity Building - Low Income Tropical Housing

Client: Warwick University & EU

A £750k research programme funded by EPSRC/DFiD investigates ‘Energy and low-income tropical housing’. It is intended to identify, and to propagate, methods of reducing the energy consumption of low-income housing in tropical countries.

'Energy efficient', 'sustainable' or 'eco' housing has attracted interest in Europe and wealthy countries for several decades. It has generated new designs, materials, guidance and regulations. However, very little has been done to make tropical housing more energy-efficient. Now with rising populations and shrinking land, timber and fuels resources, the consequences of inefficiencies are being felt. There is also increased understanding of the benefits of energy saving such as cost savings for the most poor and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Gaia was invited to undertake a capacity building trip to Tanzania to address two aspects of the programme. In Tanzania Gaia advised builders, researchers, clients, manufacturers and architects about low impact housing, sustainability issues and embodied energy. This looked at the scope for reducing the energy intensity and embodied toxicity of building materials by changes in their method of production. In Uganda Gaia worked with teachers at Uganda Martyrs University and with practitioners and students on sustainability issues and affordable low impact housing.