group photo
Team leader Rolf Sielfeld (4th from the bottom left) and participants of the training on energy efficiency in housing construction.
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Introducing energy efficiency into the design and construction of social housing in Bolivia

State housing agency receives training on the latest approaches to integrating sustainable energy solutions into building construction

13. Feb 2020

At the end of December and again last month, on behalf of GIZ, NIRAS IP Consult ran courses on energy in housing – including the introduction of architectural design strategies for energy efficiency  –  for the staff of AE Vivienda, Bolivia’s state housing authority. The training forms part of phase 2 of the ongoing GIZ Renewable Energies Programme (PEERR) funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

In Bolivia, as in other countries in the region, housing is the greatest asset a family can possess. The geographical distribution of the country is such that the climate can vary radically from one area to another. Bolivia’s large cities are either in tropical lowlands or Andean highlands. And yet the same type of housing projects have been constructed nationwide, regardless of the local climate. Thus incorporating energy efficiency criteria into housing design and construction, especially in the social housing sector, can have a big impact as it can minimise the need for year-round air conditioning or heating while making residents more aware of the need for energy efficiency. This contributes to the eradication of “energy poverty” and improves living conditions while having a significant impact on the country’s energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

Education paves the way for greener solutions

In its effort under PEERR to support the Bolivian Government in improving the regulatory framework for the expansion of renewables and increased energy efficiency, GIZ has also focused on training and capacity building. So when AE Vivienda requested training on how to introduce energy efficiency into the design and construction of social housing without compromising comfort or needs in the country’s different bioclimatic zones, GIZ delivered.

With the recent launch of phase 2 of PEERR, GIZ proposed to complement this training with further courses on energy in housing and architectural design strategies for energy efficiency in housing looking at each climate zone in Bolivia. Project team leader Rolf Sielfeld carried out the technical training at AE Vivienda offices in La Paz, Santa Cruz, and Cochabamba. The objective was to promote higher energy standards in social housing and improve the welfare of the families who inhabit such homes. The technical training comprised topics such as climate, thermal comfort and air quality, heat transfer and insulation technologies, as well as exercises on how to construct a sustainable proposal on social housing in Bolivia.

Dr. Diego Ibarra, an international expert for the project, conducted the practical training, which included the use of a computerised energy simulation tool to assess the most cost-effective solutions for the inclusion of passive and active measures to improve indoor comfort conditions, minimise housing operating costs, and use renewable energy sources. These courses were held at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (UMSA) in La Paz.

Throughout the course of 2020, NIRAS IP Consult will continue to support AE Vivienda in the development of proposals to promote energy efficiency in the construction sector, particularly in social housing.

Dr. Diego Ibarra conducting the practical training at Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (UMSA) in La Paz.