Location: Port Harcourt, Nigeria
As the global population surges, urban environments, particularly in the developing world, are increasingly strained to accommodate the influx. While urbanization has its economic, health, and environmental benefits, cities unable to keep up with the growth are marked by overcrowded, unhealthy, and unsafe slums. In Sub-Saharan Africa, for instance, 71% of all urban dwellers live in slums (World Health Organization). When the devastating standards of living are combined with the environmental impacts of slums, the problems of both are amplified.
In Nigeria, there is a potential solution in the form of Comprehensive Design Services’ (CDS) Passive House Prototype. Hoping to solve the 17 million-unit housing deficit, unreliable power, and poor water and sanitation of urban Nigeria, CDS has an affordable green building project underway. The Passive House Prototype is a building prototype of four one bedroom units arranged around two courtyards. The units are compact, naturally lit, ventilated, and use bio-climatic design to achieve energy efficiency. Environmentally speaking, the prototype uses up to 75% less energy than a building of comparable size, produces its own biogas through recycled waste and sewage, utilizes less water in addition to recycling rainwater, and is built with environmentally friendly materials like compressed earth blocks in addition to cement blocks.
The project, led by CEO Chinwe Ohajuruka, was a finalist in the African Diaspora Marketplace Competition in the US in February 2012, and the first project has been completed. In September 2014, once construction was complete, the solar system activated, water was pumped up, lights turned on, cell phones charged and the building handed over to the owners. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the complex and entangled social, economic, and environmental issues that slums struggle with and perpetuate. However, CDS and its affordable green housing represent a strong and hopeful opportunity for much needed change in urban Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.
Environmental impact: Efficient energy use, avoided use of fossil fuels (including avoided emission of GHGs and harmful substances), reduced water use, reduced waste via green building materials, reduced heat island effect, reduced flood risk and reduced use of materials.
Measurement: International Finance Corporation EDGE Rating System
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