Social Housing and Energy Efficiency Forum (FOVISEE)

Social Housing and Energy Efficiency Forum (FOVISEE)

Argentina
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Creation and expansion of a Forum (FOVISEE) to generate low income sustainable housing projects reaching over 50% energy savings and fosters a cultural change on these issues.
In a local context where none of this existed, we entered partnerships with public, private, academic, and community sectors, built new models of energy efficient affordable housing, rehabilitated housing by introducing efficient materials and technologies, developed research on these issues (auditing how poor families use their house and energy, and their opinions and perceptions), developed an integral social and educational approach, organized national and international events to raise awareness on the importance of sustainable low income housing, and published reports to transfer experiences to all audiences.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Up to now, about 200 low income families and 1000 people have benefitted directly from the applied projects (construction of new houses, rehabilitation of existing ones, use of energy efficiency elements -solar heating systems, energy efficient appliances, curtains, etc.) and training programs in energy efficiency. Thousands have participated in our communication projects. Every household in our planet is a potential beneficiary of the implementation and promotion of projects about sustainability in housing, improving the quality of life of poorer families, increasing their budgets and contributing to environmental care. In each one of our projects, we’ve proved that this is feasible to achieve in social housing with minimum extra investments.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

FOVISEE encountered a context where very few specialists were working on energy efficient housing in Argentina. The handful of experts and organizations actually working on applied projects (and not only doing research) 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, measuring and taking into public agenda its results. What makes FOVISEE’s project unique is its potential: it has proved to function as a multiplier mechanism of experiences and ideas on sustainable urban housing. On the one hand FOVISEE develops a series of concrete, applied, field experimental projects that work as a “living lab” (every step is registered, all technical and social issues are measured before and after, etc) to develop and test design, materials and technological models for energy efficient low income housing, with the result of over 50% energy savings. These field projects are all planned with a special focus on people: uses, habits and customs of households regarding housing, energy and sustainability. The other axis of FOVISEE’s initiatives aims to establish the importance of sustainability in low income housing in the public agenda. In order to do so, FOVISEE organizes national and international meetings, participates in various events, conferences, etc.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Energy: over 50% energy savings in the housing models developed was achieved; specific technology has been developed for energy efficient affordable housing. Social and economic aspects: by generating 50% savings in energy use per household, the family budget is alleviated and their access to energy, guaranteed. Families have a better quality of life, improve their health and spend more pleasant time at home. Environmental aspect: by using energy efficiently and making use of solar energy, energy consumption goes down by 50%. If savings are multiplied by the approximately thousands of housing units yearly built in Argentina, CO2 emissions could be significantly reduced within a few years. Culture, education and communication: FOVISEE develops 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. By raising awareness on sustainability in housing, consumption patterns change reducing waste, the public sector (national offices, universities and institutes), the private sector, specialists and the community become involved to add energy efficient affordable housing to the public national agenda and highlight its relevance.
About You
Organization:
FOVISEE (Foro de Vivienda Social y Eficiencia Energética)
About You
First Name

FOVISEE

Last Name

Foro de Vivienda Social y Eficiencia Energética

About Your Organization
Organization Name

FOVISEE (Foro de Vivienda Social y Eficiencia Energética)

Organization Phone

5411.4802.2123

Organization Address

Paunero 2749 9°G, Palermo

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact

, C

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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Innovation
What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

The founders of FOVISEE are a group of professionals sharing a strong commitment towards the improvement of our society. For over 10 years we have worked on the design and implementation of programs on access to energy in low income communities.

The context which inspired us is one of a developing country, where large numbers of the population live under the line of poverty, where the social policies agenda targeted at these people does not include sustainability or energy efficiency topics. The Argentine state builds annually around 36,000 new social housing units, where construction is based on living space needs and reduced budget not including energy efficiency criteria, so it yearly adds thousands of homes that will waste energy for decades and lessen families' comfort.

To make up for the lack of experience, we built and measured new energy efficient affordable housing model units, and designed, applied and measured rehabilitation models. Determined to influence public policies, we base our work on feasibility; and believe that the most definitive way of assessing it is actually carrying out applied field projects. During our experience we attempted to carry out several ideas with unsuccessful results, where the lessons were all the more valuable than with successful cases: it has helped us rule out ideas that were impracticable, too costly, complicated, or fragile; and also helped us work on ideas that were originally flawed, but could be improved.

Social Impact
How many people have been impacted by your project?

101 - 1,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

In our context, the main obstacle regarding sustainability and housing is not economic but cultural. The barriers relate to lack of information, experience and awareness regarding:
-the specific reality we start from: how low income households actually satisfy their energetic, water and waste disposal needs. For this, FOVISEE develops applied research which points the way for each of the field projects.
-the potential that sustainable practices, uses and habits have for improving the quality of life and health of families, and the potential of energy and money savings.
At the same time, there is a lack of concrete, applied, measured and diffused experience, on which to continue building plans on a larger scale. This is why gradual scale increase of field projects is crucial.

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

Transference and replication are FOVISEE’s main objectives. All field experimental projects are based on affordable housing plans criteria and costs so they may be replicated by official policies.
Replication at a small scale has already been achieved in different projects. In 2011, FOVISEE’s goal is to introduce energy sustainability in a medium size project (around 100 units). To generate a gradual change of scale is essential, because when dealing with novel issues, different actors involved in the construction process of housing units must gradually assimilate the changes involved in considering energy efficiency, as well as learning about new techniques, methodologies and technologies. In the following 2 years we plan to introduce sustainability criteria in 1000 houses.

Sustainability
For each selection, please explain the financial and non-financial support from each

FOVISEE does not charge for its services. Sponsorships and donations from businesses and individuals are the foundation’s financial sources. But above everything, the specificity of the Forum is to gather different institutions that contribute to the projects with human, technical and financial resources. The main partners from the beginning of the Forum are:
CIHE (Center of Research on Habitat and Energy), Architecture Faculty, University of Buenos Aires: Professional advising.
DRS-UTN (Social Responsibility Department, National Technological University): Human resources and logistics support.
INTI (National Institute of Industrial Technology): Institutional support and professional advising.
Edenor (largest electrical distributor of Argentina): Financial, logistical and human resources support.
ISOVER Saint-Gobain: Financial support.
IDUAR (Regional, Urban and Environmental Development Institute, Moreno Municipality): Logistical and human resources support.
One of the Forum’s main missions is to do networking, which has been successfully achieved and has infinite potential. During the last year, FOVISEE has received institutional support from:
International Union of Architects
U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires
AECID
Red-Pop: Network for the Popularization of Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean
Avina
National Energy Secretary
Argentina’s Chamber of Renewable Energies (CADER)
Central Society of Architects, Buenos Aires
Economic Sciences Faculty, UBA
Catholic University of Argentina
Ecumenical Social Forum
Hydro
Energe

How do you plan to grow and/or diversify your base of support in the next three years?

What to do:
We plan to strengthen and extend the fore mentioned partnerships and network in the immediate future. There are many key stake holders that will for sure be part of the Forum and its projects: local, provincial and national governments, service distributing companies (electricity, gas, water, waste) of the different districts where sustainable housing projects are implemented, international cooperation and development organisms (Ashoka, embassies, cooperation funds, etc), companies related to sustainability and housing (isolation materials, solar heating systems, building systems, etc), and a large variety of institutions with commitment to social, environmental, housing and energy issues.

How we will do it:
Firstly, the success of our applied, field experimental projects working as “living labs” has proved to be of great interest to many important potential partners.
Secondly, during the last year FOVISEE has organized two international events and a national one, and has participated with presentations in at least six international and national events. The aim has been to diffuse knowledge and experiences regarding energy, housing and sustainability. As a result of these events, FOVISEE has multiplied by 3 its base of support. We have contacted national, provincial and local organisms related to housing construction. Through agreements with each of them, we will seek to turn them into replicators that include sustainability issues in all new housing programs.

Collaboration
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:
Edenor
ISOVER Saint-Gobain Argentina
Hydro
Energe
Vademarco
Cenit Solar

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.

Select the unit(s) with which the partnership was formed

Corporate social responsibility department, Marketing department.