Submitted by: Grupo de Apoyo al Sector Rural de la Pontificia Universidad Catolica
Implemented country: Peru
Title: Ecological Houses for Rural Andean Peru
Miguel Hadzich is a mechanical engineer who works in the Peruvian capital of Lima for Pontificia Universidad Católica Del Perú, where he is the director of Grupo de Apoyo al Sector Rural – also known as GRUPO PUCP. Miguel knows that in the highlands of Peru more than 500 people each year die from respiratory disease and more than 20,000 cases of respiratory disease have been reported. Most of the victims are children and older people. The main problem lies in how houses are built in rural areas because they offer no protection from the cold winter. Besides, most Peruvian families prepare their meals over an open fire, which causes noxious fumes inside the homes. Miguel decided to do something about all that.
GRUPO PUCP came up with a simple and innovative concept for sustainable heating in the Peruvian Andes. Basically, the system works like a greenhouse in that a translucent film or glass pane is affixed to the window of the sun-facing side so that a space between the exterior and the window pane is formed. Wall holes near the floor the roof allow for circulation of the air previously heated by the sun, and that is how the houses are kept warm. The interior temperature rises up to 10° Centigrade. During the night or in bad weather the holes in the wall are closed. All the necessary materials are available from local communities and no complicated tools are needed for installation, so the system is affordable and easy to install.
In addition, GRUPO PUCP has designed an insulation system that helps keeps the heat on the inside of the houses. Simple materials such as burlap, glue, and plaster are used to insulate the roof, the walls and especially the doors and windows. Also, an improved cooking stove was designed that optimizes airflow and considerably reduces air contamination. Fuel consumption is reduced to a very high degree. It has been of great help to include and involve the elders of a community (the “yachachiq”) as trainers. In that way GRUPO PUCP has been able to teach many families within a very short period of time how to include, maintain and replicate this technology in their homes. Participative training methods allow customers to use their newly acquired skills to their own advantage.
GRUPO PUCP successfully implemented this initiative for better quality of life for families living in extreme poverty with 100 homes, 5 schools and 5 medical centers in the regions of Cusco and Puno. This affordable technology has helped raise building temperatures during cold winters for many families, students, and patients, at the same time drastically lowering air pollution.
“We must be ready and prepared to adapt to climate change and survive in a friendly way together with the environment.“
Miguel Angel Hadzich Marín