Affordable Passive House Prototype

SUMMARY: The affordable Passive House Prototype (PHP) is a groundbreaking concept of affordable housing using renewable energy sources such as solar PV power, bio-gas from bio-digesters, harvested rainwater and bio-climatic design to achieve thermal cooling and natural ventilation. The buildings are constructed from locally available compressed earth blocks and bamboo components.

PROBLEM SPACE: Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is the world’s eighth largest producer of oil. Paradoxically Nigeria is also a nation of widespread poverty, inadequate infrastructure and a huge housing deficit. With a teeming population of approximately 170 million, Nigeria currently generates 4,400 megawatts of electricity even though it currently needs 40,000! Unreliable and epileptic power supply has plagued the country in the past 30 years, as the population growth has far outstripped the country’s power generation and distribution capacity. The Energy Commission of Nigeria states that 60 million Nigerians now own generators. Nigeria is the largest net importer of generators in the world, even though abundant sources of renewable energy exist. This prototype is designed for the millions of Nigerians who do not have access to affordable decent housing, reliable power supply, water or sanitation. Nigeria suffers poverty (70% below the poverty line), unemployment (21%), low Human Development Index (0.4), inadequate infrastructure, deforestation, desertification, unreliable power supply, rapid urbanization, substandard housing and a whopping 16 million-unit housing deficit. Residences account for 52% of energy demand. 80% of the population live in deplorable housing conditions where whole families often occupy one room with shared facilities. This initiative addresses dignity, hope and sustainability.

SOLUTION: The Passive House Prototype is an affordable housing prototype that uses 50 - 75% less energy than a similar house in a similar location. Each building comprises four housing units designed around two courtyards. Each housing unit is made up of two rooms, a kitchen, a bathroom and a small circulation space linking the rooms. Each unit is provided with 160watts of solar power, using solar PV systems. Cooling and natural lighting is further achieved by large windows, cross ventilation, courtyards, wide overhangs, shading from trees and landscaping. Rainwater is harvested to and boreholes are sunk to make each building self-sufficient for water needs. Kitchen and toilet waste are recycled into a bio-digester (instead of a septic tank) to produce biogas (methane) for cooking. the houses have been constructed for $25 per square foot in Port Harcourt, south eastern Nigeria. They were constructed in 12 weeks, and each dwelling unit costs approximately $12,500 per family. Cost savings were achieved using locally available compressed earth blocks. The buildings are cool, affordable and attractive. We believe that every human has the right to live in beauty and sustainability in a place that they can call their own.

UPDATE (2017): Comprehensive Design Services (CDS) designs, engineers and builds affordable green housing known as Passive House Prototypes. These homes are self-cooling, solar-powered and water-sufficient. The self-cooling occurs because the building design is dictated by the climate. Water, from beneath the feet of the occupants, is pumped up from a borehole using solar power.

An Eco-Village comprising the Passive House Prototypes was built in Port Harcourt south-eastern Nigeria, in the Niger Delta region. These homes were built as a comprehensive solution to the Nigerian housing, energy, water and sanitation crises. Nigeria, with a growing population of 180 million has a STAGGERING housing deficit of 17 million units. 33% of the population has access to improved sanitation, 45% to grid-sourced power, and 66% to clean water. For those connected to the grid, the power supply is epileptic and unreliable. Up to 70% of the population lives in single-room accommodation with shared bathrooms and kitchens. Home ownership is at (approximately) 25%.

In 2015, eight low-income families moved from their water-side slum dwellings to the Eco-Village. They are thrilled to be living in decent accommodation with clean water, improved sanitation and solar power. They are off grid and do not use any form of mechanical ventilation, as the homes are endowed with adequate natural ventilation and lighting.

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