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Bioclimatic approaches for improving energy performance in buildings in Africa and Europe

Proposals should study the performance of a selection of European and African local bioclimatic building designs, local construction materials and techniques to determine how they could be utilized to increase the energy performance, living quality and sustainability of buildings in targeted geographical zones in Africa and their climatic and socio-economic conditions. Proposals should promote innovations, including bioclimatic approaches, to enable adaptation of local materials and techniques to current building design and construction practices and lifestyles. They should include maximizing passive cooling, passive ventilation, natural light gains and suitability for specific local climate conditions (e.g. stark rains). They should investigate how sustainable supply chains of local materials could be established or improved to cope with fast paces of construction, contributing to the support of local businesses. They should foster exchange and mutual learning between European and African stakeholders (policy-makers, architects, auditors, building sector private companies) for better regulation and implementation of locally adapted bioclimatic construction approaches.

Proposals should include the following activities:

  • Identification and documentation of African and European affordable buildings designs, construction techniques and materials suitable for a selection of local climatic and socio-economic contexts in Africa, based on bioclimatic construction approaches.
  • Exchange activities around the topic of fostering low-cost, high performance, locally adapted bioclimatic construction approaches for African and European policy-makers and on the development of building policies, standards, regulations, certificates and other relevant instruments and support measures in a selection of geographical zones in Africa.

They could also include the organization of one or several study visits to demonstration sites for African policy-makers and other key stakeholder including the construction sector. South-south cooperation is also encouraged.

  • Investigation of the measures (in particular policy ones) that could effectively support the development of sustainable and cost-effective supply chains of local construction materials, in order to enhance their competitiveness and contribute to the growth of local businesses.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of around EUR 1 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Africa is going through a rapid urbanisation phase and it is anticipated that, by 2030, there will be more people living in urban than rural areas. On the other hand, the housing supply is already far from meeting the highly growing demand in cities and the expectations of home owners, in terms of performance, comfort and health. One of the reasons for this situation is the insufficient use of construction materials and technologies, which are adapted to local climate and economic contexts. Imported materials and technologies, which are not always suitable for local conditions, are replacing the traditional and local building designs, construction techniques and materials. Poor indoor thermal conditions, in particular overheating, and high demand for expansive active cooling, are often the result together with an increased buildings' energy footprint. Use of cheap and low-quality materials to cut down construction costs and lack of knowledge about their performance are other problems related to this issue. There is a need to increase the knowledge about the benefits of using bioclimatic buildings design approaches, local materials, and construction techniques suitable to local contexts.

Proposals are expected to demonstrate that they will trigger as many as possible of the impacts listed below:

  • Increased use of affordable, locally-adapted bioclimatic construction approaches in buildings in Africa with high energy performance and increase living comfort;
  • Expected (potential for) energy savings (kWh) in buildings thanks to the improved techniques;
  • Number of documented locally-adapted bioclimatic affordable building design, construction techniques and materials;
  • Number of participating policy-makers and other key stakeholders with increased knowledge;
  • Number of exchange meetings and/or study visits;
  • Number of new legislative, regulatory, standardisation, certification schemes or other support measures launched or under preparation;
  • Investments aiming to develop or deploy affordable, locally-adapted bioclimatic buildings design, construction techniques and materials;
  • Promotion of effective sustainable supply chains of local construction materials;
  • Number of workers with increased related skills in the bioclimatic construction sector.