Eco-friendly houses, solution to housing backlog: Windhoek Consulting Engineers
Windhoek Consulting Engineers (WCE) together with Project Etopia, a company based in the United Kingdom said they have found the solution to the housing problem in the country through their Eco Green standard affordable houses.
The joint venture has so far built a pilot building which generates more energy than it uses at the WCE offices. The building was erected by six locals in 3 hours.
Joseph Daniels, Chief Executive of Project Etopia, said the motivation of the project was driven by the fact that he once was homeless and now he believes their venture can be the solution to the housing backlog in the country.
“These houses can be the replacement for shanty towns around the country, therefore we are busy collaboration with the government, banks and the City of Windhoek, so that we can start the process of building these affordable houses,” he added.
Daniels said that the houses can handle winds of up to 472mph as well as being Eco-friendly saving up to 42%co2, against a concrete building and to achieve the same performance would take 6 to 8 weeks and be 500+mm thick to achieve good thermal insulation whereas the Etopia building walls are 185mm but just as strong.
Daniels said even though the end goal of the project is to help with the housing backlog in the country, the project also aims to create jobs by training locals to build the structures themselves, and to manufacture the materials used to build the structures in the country.
“They are warranted for between 60 to 100 years and signed off as the leading systems in the UK, Europe and US and this 63sqm 2 bedroom apartment that we have build here at WCE cost N$350 000 and we also have smaller ultra affordable systems for shanty replacement that cost N$100,000,” he said.
According to Daniels the Etopia houses do not use water in the contribution of the above level, therefore there is no concrete in the building expect in the foundation of the structure.
Furthermore Daniels said the structure has high thermal performance, meaning it keeps cool on hot days and stays warm on cold nights with no air conditioner, “it has smart LED lighting system therefore, it provides more energy than it uses through solar and is hurricane and storm proof,” he concluded.
Caption: (l-r) Joseph Daniels, Chief Executive Officer of Project Etopia and Herman van der Merwe, Director at Windhoek Consulting Engineers, standing next to the pilot Eco-friendly house, that is easier and cheaper to build.