Improving sustainability of social housing in Brazil

Improving sustainability of social housing in Brazil

Last month at the British Expertise International Awards, BRE won the International Collaborative Project award for the “Advancing the Sustainability of Social Housing in Brazil” project working closely with Caixa Econômica Federal from Brazil, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Brazilian Ministry of Cities as key partners.

The project aims were to raise the sustainability standards for further developments of social housing in Brazil, building upon existing knowledge from the BREEAM and the Code for Sustainable Homes standards; and combining learning from other work in Mexico and Chile. It also transferred experience from the English Housing Survey which celebrated its 50th anniversary recently.

Gilli Hobbs, project lead says ‘With the great achievement of around 4 million homes being built in Brazil in the past few years, there have also been concerns relating to quality, sustainability and social cohesion. Although recent improvements to building regulations have been made, the infrastructure to enforce minimum requirements is insufficient. Working with our Brazilian partners, we have looked for a solution that addresses all these concerns while keeping in mind climate change adaptation.’ She also mentioned that ‘We are delighted to receive this award, particularly since there were so many excellent projects in the shortlist, and we all really enjoyed working together on such an impactful project.’

Paulo Antunes, interim Vice President of Housing at CAIXA, stated that ‘The MCMV program has made Brazil move forward in terms of housing policy, producing a significant amount of housing and providing access for low-income families. From the implementation of “Advancing the Sustainability of Social Housing Projects in Brazil”, CAIXA could advance further in the promotion of the production of more humane and sustainable communities’.

Rauelison da Silva Muniz dos Santos, National Manager of Sustainability and Socio-Environmental Responsibility at CAIXA stated that “The tools developed by CAIXA with BRE will assist planning and constructing housing developments more integrated to the dynamics of cities, urban spaces more human and with high quality. It seeks to align CAIXA’s actions with the Agenda 2030 guidelines, in particular SDG 11 – Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. ”

Maristela Baioni Assistant Resident Representative at UNDP stated that ‘UNDP in Brazil supports Caixa Economica’s initiatives related to sustainable, inclusive and resilient cities in responding to rapid urbanization and its consequences for sustainable development. Out of these initiatives, UNDP supported the evaluation study on “Minha Casa, Minha Vida”, a Brazilian social housing programme. British Expertise International Awards outlines how effective partnerships can develop innovative solutions for complex and evolving urban challenges. Best practices in social housing and interrelated development choices proposes a new methodology for achieving the SDGs in cities and urban areas.’

As part of the project, the UK/Brazil team created a Sustainability Standard for Social Housing, a Balanced Scorecard Assessment tool for improving the resilience of new developments, and a Post-Occupancy Evaluation method, incorporating resident and technical surveys to prioritise improvements to existing dwellings. The development of each of these outputs was led by BRE, typically based upon previous knowledge, and then expanded or adapted by the joint working group and wider consultation exercises.

The next stage of the process will be to pilot projects undertaken by a selection of housing developers keen to trial new thinking and improve their understanding of issues such as energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste management, climate change adaptation, responsible sourcing, integrated transport systems and improved safety and security.

The award was received at a celebratory dinner after the independent judging panel, chaired by president HRH the Duke of Gloucester, had assessed the submissions and made their decisions.

The British Expertise International Awards recognising and celebrates outstanding international achievements by companies in the UK professional services sector.