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EcoHouse Initiative

Principal Investigators: Michael Ramage, Allan McRobie, Peter Guthrie, Gemma Burgess

Post Doctoral Research Associate: Maximilian Bock

Research Co-ordinator: Ana Gatóo

PhD Students: Elizabeth Wagemann, Jose Vallejo

Sponsors: Anglo American Group Foundation, Isaac Newton Trust

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The EcoHouse initiative is a multidisciplinary program that aims to facilitate truly sustainable growth in the context of poverty and climate change in the developing world.

The Initiative links academics, industrial partners, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and governments in the development of sustainable housing solutions and urban planning. We research, design and build with local organizations. The aim is to introduce affordable sustainable housing systems in communities for the urban poor, as well as raising awareness of the issues of sustainability and poverty in those regions.

Since its formation, the Initiative has worked as technical consultants for TECHO [] (formerly known as Un Techo Para Mi Pais), a large NGO based in Latin America. TECHO builds emergency and transitional housing in 19 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean. The Society has worked throughout the past years on improving the overall design of the house to provide better quality to its owners. This design work has focused primarily on needs identified in Brazil and Ecuador; however the improvements are applicable to many of the countries that face similar issues.

Each spring, a prototype is built in Cambridge to evaluate the performance of proposed design changes before implementing them in the developing world. These changes aim to both increase durability and improve the comfort of the house for its owners. So far the EcoHouse Initiative, with the construction of its prototypes in Cambridge and the adoption of those innovations by TECHO in Ecuador and Brazil, has improved the lives of over 7,000 people.

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