Please select your areas of intervention in the home improvement market
Design, Technology, Technical assistance, Water, Energy conservation, Renewable energy, Green housing, Environment, Urban development, Citizen/community participation, Public policy.
Is your innovation addressing barriers in the home improvement/progressive housing market? If so, please describe in detail your mechanisms of intervention
As it has been mentioned before, the barriers FOVISEE addresses in the housing improvement market are part of the local context, where very few specialists work on energy efficient housing for the poor. The handful of experts and organizations actually working on sustainable housing applied projects focus in general on new, highly expensive buildings and houses, but until FOVISEE appeared few experts had had any experience in the development of low cost social housing model units prioritizing energy efficiency, and measuring and taking into public agenda its results. In this sense, the lack of concrete, applied, measured and diffused experience are part of the barriers.
Moreover, experience has taught us that the best way to identify and build a strategy towards those barriers is actually taking ideas to reality, going from theory to practice. It is in this process when unpredicted obstacles appear and feasibility is definitely tested. That’s why we consider it crucial to work with the model of “living labs”: registering every step of the projects, measuring all technical and social issues before and after, etc. Experience has also taught us to give the same importance to technical and social aspects in our projects. By “social” we mean uses, habits and customs of households: there are many cases in which a technology works perfectly well but the dislike or ignorance of people towards it makes it fail or malfunction.
So to address all of these we have entered partnerships with public, private, academic, and community sectors, built new models of energy efficient affordable housing, rehabilitated housing by introducing efficient materials, developed research on these issues, and developed an integral approach of social assistance and education.
Secondly, in this context a very important obstacle regarding sustainability and housing is not economic but cultural. Here the barriers have to do with lack of information, experience and awareness regarding both the specific reality we start from (how “non sustainable” low income households actually are) and the potential that sustainability have improving the quality of life and health of families, and the potential of energy and money savings. To address these FOVISEE develops strong public dissemination opportunities to raise awareness and transfer the know-how, with direct participation of thousands of persons around the world. Examples: our Seminars on Affordable Housing and Energy Efficiency (international meetings where experts, scholars, government officials and company executives gather to exchange ideas and experiences), our web site (www.fovisee.com), our education programs in poor neighborhoods, our “Instructions manual for the sustainable use of the house”, etc. With all of these we look forward to involve all society in sustainability issues in affordable housing.
Are you currently collaborating with private companies, or have you partnered with private companies in the past? With which companies?
Yes, with the following:
ISOVER Saint-Gobain Argentina
Please describe in detail the nature of the partnership(s)
Some of the partners were mentioned before (see “Sustainability”). We have made partnerships with an electric distribution company, companies that produce materials related to energy efficiency in construction, and companies that manufacture thermal solar systems.
The collaboration is either with its corporate responsibility area or the marketing departments as we share the interest in the diffusion of the importance of energy efficiency products and technologies.