BISCAST unveils climate change resilient pilot housing in Naga City
The Bicol State College for Applied Sciences and Technology's ‘climate change resilient pilot house’ was inaugurated on June 24, 2016, in Naga City, Philippines.

The Bicol State College for Applied Sciences and Technology (BISCAST) in Naga City, Philippines, inaugurated its ‘climate change resilient pilot house’ (CCRPH) on June 24, representing an alternative to conventional construction for affordable social housing.

The CCRPH applies a low-cost housing technology and utilizes climate-adaptive and energy-efficient devices. Standing at 71 sq. m., the CCRPH is half as expensive as the conventional social housing which usually amounts to PhP 20,000 (approx. USD 424.50) per square meter. Without the cost for finishing work (tiling, flooring, plastering, painting, etc.), the price can be lowered to PHP 5,500 per square meter (USD 116.75), leaving the finishing work to be done by the owners in order to make it affordable for even lower-income groups.

Furthermore, it is built using environment-friendly construction technologies (pre-fabricated beams and hollow blocks) without wooden formwork. It can be built in a short span of time, hence reducing more costs. The technology’s specific advantages include:

  • Modular architectural system which reduces the number of different building parts, leading to a reduction of different types of formwork
  • Reduction of waste material and wastewater on site by up to 30%
  • Approximately 50% reduction of mortar due to the hollow concrete blocks (HCB) concept of “closed bottom”
  • Reduction of 40% of concrete and 30% of steel works for slab construction due to HCB-slab system
  • 30% increase in the use of cement for HCB in order to achieve the required strength for load-bearing walls
  • Natural ventilation (cross ventilation throughout the building)
  • Natural illumination, window/wall ratio of 40% and roof lights
  • Energy-efficient devices (LED lights and occupation sensors)
  • Reduction of electricity consumption by over 25% through photovoltaic system
  • Water conservation via rainwater harvesting
  • Re-use of clarified waste water as fertilizer for urban gardening.

The CCRPH is one of the pilot projects of BISCAST under its cooperation with the ‘Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities: The Urban Nexus’ project (hereinafter referred to as Nexus). BISCAST is an active partner of Naga City, one of the Nexus project’s pilot cities in the Philippines. The project is supporting BISCAST through the short-term provision of an expert from Ethiopia specializing on low-cost housing technologies. Through this, the Nexus project also promotes South-South dialogue.

The CCRPH inauguration was witnessed by key project partners, including Mayor John Bogat of Naga City and other city representatives; GIZ Nexus staff, headed by its Project Director, Ruth Erlbeck; as well as representatives from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and ICLEI Southeast Asia Secretariat. Members of the Santa Rosa Nexus Task Force, the other Nexus partner city in the Philippines, and selected national government agencies also attended the inauguration.

Mayor Bongat expressed interest in the technology, urging the city engineers to study it and, where possible, introduce it to the city’s engineering department for its housing programs. Meanwhile, Regional Director Tomas Briñas of Bicol Region’s Department of Science and Technology (DOST) declared the agency’s full support to further disseminate the technology.

In closing, BISCAST President Dr. Richard Cordial hopes that “BISCAST will become the leading institution in the Philippines – and maybe even in Southeast Asia – for the introduction of affordable, resilient housing and other innovative technologies on the basis of the Nexus approach.” He further noted that young engineers and architects trained at BISCAST are the best target group to create a change of mindset. He explained that this is best done by training them on-the-job together with their instructors on the basis of concrete projects accompanied by contractors from the private sector.

For her part, Ms. Erlbeck noted that “this best practice shows that not only cities play an important role as key drivers of change, but the academe is another relevant partner for transformative action.”

The Urban Nexus project intends to promote a “circular economy” approach where resources such as water, food, and energy are used (and reused) more efficiently and effectively. It is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

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