Skip navigation

Please find below the judging results for your proposal.

Finalist Evaluation

Judges'' ratings


Novelty:
Feasibility:
Impact:
Presentation:

Judges'' comments


The judges admired the honesty and groundedness of this proposal. The author clearly dedicated a considerable amount of time in refining. It is well structured and presented clearly both in terms of time and cost. While the proposal doesn't tread any new ground as far as the details are concerned; it makes a clear compelling argument for the deployment of the concept. The already existing prototypes prove its feasibility. Besides the positive impact of improved building performance for low-income people, the proposal includes additional benefits in form of employment and education of local construction market. The judges were weary of the challenges in scaling up the project, which may multiply the benefits in terms of GHG emission reduction, but the project’s potential positive impact on local communities is unquestionable.

Semi-Finalist Evaluation

Judges'' ratings


Novelty:
Feasibility:
Impact:
Presentation:

Judges'' comments


Comments from Judge 1:
Well detailed proposal. While not particularly 'new' in terms of the technologies used, the author makes a very strong case for putting together a set of robust options that can help creating more sustainable, resilient buildings in a disadvantaged region, and shows concrete steps that can help achieve this vision.

Comments from Judge 2:
The authors have demonstrated, via case studies, the different ways in which the technologies can be made useful to community groups. The challenge remains as to how these case studies can be scaled up, and it will be useful to get more detail on that.

Comments from Judge 3:
This is an interesting proposal based on an existing prototype, which demonstrates the efficacy of the proposed solution. The proposed house includes various well known technologies as well as a more innovative wall assembly that allows re-cycling EPS of lunch boxes, cast using reusable moulds. Unfortunately the construction method is not well documented. Furthermore the proposal presents some questionable or unresolved aspects, which need clarification: what is the economic model that allow low income group to access technologies such as PV, Solar DHW, radiant heating? What type of concrete is utilised to reduce the material's carbon footprint? In what way is the construction method easier compared to traditional methods to allow self-construction (or unskilled labor)? The innovative aspects of the proposal require further explanation to reinforce the strength of the project.

Comments from Judge 4:
This is a very thoughtful and nicely written proposal, and shows their expertise to create low cost and ecologically sound dwellings. The authors show a virtuous commitment to helping solve housing shortages. The proposal confuses a bit when it describes the process as a 'pro-bono' service, and then later offers an ROI to investors based on licensing and training fees. However overall, there is process proposed that seems credible. Worthy of going to the next step.

6comments
Share conversation: Share via:

Javed Sultan

Nov 2, 2017
02:56

Member


1 |
Share via:
Proposal
creator

First we would like to thank the judge’s for their comments and feedback.  Below is our response to the judge’s comments.

  1. (Question – Judge 2) How does one scale up ?

(Answer) Scaling the project will be a challenge. We were a little naïve in thinking that once we taught the villagers they could  build their homes, with the help of the Sisters of Charity (SOC) leasing them the wall form-work. We now feel the challenge is more significant.

We have found in case of Lesotho that most villagers, are very poor, and cannot afford even the $5,000 to $6.000 (US) required to build a one room unit. Micro-finance institutions are lacking and mortgage if available - only for the upper income groups. 

So we believe one has to have a different strategy. We need to first build the required infrastructure.  Such as mobilize the Government to work with financial institutions for loan guarantees, micro-finance options, tax incentives or new Government bonds. Concurrently we should target those who can afford to pay for their housing, the top 20% to 30% of the population as need for such homes is prevalent. The construction industry is often the largest private employer in a poor country. This will create employment among the workers, and with the money earned they could build their homes. So  the process will require patience and time.

In our conversations with government officials, as we were seeking permission to build our prototype, we found that officials were very excited and implored if we could design their middle and upper income homes that would not be dependent on winter heating on electricity or fossil fuels. They appear to be even more excited now as our prototype has been built and the benefits are obvious. Therefore, we believe we need to target the upper and middle income housing first, or in tandem. We believe we can design single and two story large homes using the same technique. The challenge also lies in  how do we mobilize and invest in the initial move to locate to Lesotho. This will require a significant initial capital outlay.

One of the key advantage to our technology we believe is that building a poor man’s home employs the same techniques as building for richer folks. The only significant difference between the rich and poor man’s home is in final finishes, décor, and other secondary plug-ins. We are currently working on design for the upper income groups, and we are trying our best to maintain a technological continuity. Next we intend to start teaching contractors, architects and engineers in the process, as they are keen to learn. We need to also train the semi-skilled or unemployed lay person. The contractor, or developer, will not use the construction method unless the price point (first cost) is the same as the current masonry structure, and trained workers are available.

There are other advantages to our system.  By creating buildings that do not have higher operational cost for heating during winter, people will not be supporting an external economy as opposed to an internal one, and will save lot of foreign exchange on imported electricity and fossil fuels. They can invest this money in their internal economy. They will also help reduce GHG emissions.  So internal manufacturing and greater dependency on internal resources, including recycling waste, and skill development is going to be key to scaling the housing portfolio.

It will create prosperity as the savings will allow people to invest in an improved life style, and or other investment vehicles.  Construction which is one of the biggest economic sectors in poor countries, and has a multiplier effect on many industries, will thereby bring prosperity to the country.

  1. (Question – Judge 3) Construction method is not clearly documented ?

 

Our apologies for lack of clarity on the construction methods. We are adding a building section to better explain the construction methodology.

But before we have that discussion we would clarify some of the additional questions.

Poor folks will not be able to afford technologies such as solar PV, Solar Hot Water (SHW), radiant heating initially. If they ever get around to acquiring them it will have to be done in phases and over time. When we built our prototype we were trying to show that it is technically possible to heat your home through a building type that has thermal mass, is better insulated to block the summer heat and prevent winter heat from escaping,  and by using SHW  for more than hot showers and washing clothes. We believe there is a significant middle class and upper income housing that can leverage these technologies. A one bedroom house in Lesotho with all the above features will cost about $15,000 and that is comparable to the cost of a masonry structure. About 30% of the population can take advantage of the proposed technology.

 

(Question) What type of concrete ?

(Answer) We are not using any special type of concrete excepting a leaner mix. The carbon footprint is smaller as cement is only less in the lean concrete matrix in our wall system, as opposed to 15% to 20% in a masonry construction. We can further reduce the carbon footprint by using replacement additives such as fly ash, silica fume - but they are not available in Lesotho. Brick or wood have to be imported into Lesotho so their carbon footprint would be equal if not more than cement. 

A normal concrete mix for poured in situ concrete would be 1: 2: 4 (1 part cement: 2 parts sand: 4 parts gravel), we are using ( excepting for columns and beams) 1: 3: 6 ( 1 part cement: 3 parts coarse sand: and 6 parts gravel). In some areas we have also used 1:4:8. Also between 60% to 70% of our wall is lunch box - insulation (LB), excepting for columns and beams, and our wall system requires less reinforcement as it is a lighter structure. A masonry wall system will normally use a 1:2: 3 or 1:2:4 mix with the gravel perhaps being replaced with coarser sand. The cavities would have to be filled with a leaner mix - so the entire wall would be made of concrete. Also mortar joints in masonry construction is significant and it is a richer mix. Significantly more reinforcement is required because masonry is a heavier construction type. This further increases a masonry structures carbon footprint. We believe the cement used in a masonry wall is significantly more than what  we are using in our wall system. Masonry is the preferred choice in most countries, not because it is an ideal building method. It was a good choice to carry gravity loads but not a good choice when we need higher performance wall systems that not only need to carry the building loads (dead and live loads) but also needs to be energy efficient and reduce heating and cooling cost. Below we have a complete section of our prototype.. The sketch below shows a section of our prototype building.

Question ( Pro- bono or ROI based ?)

This is a good question and frankly speaking we are not sure how to proceed. We can help the poor through our non-profit but we really cannot build homes for middle income and the rich through our non-profit, as homes are personal property and they are excluded from benefitting from charitable donations. However unless we stimulate the construction environment to create jobs for our trained workers – we will not be able to help them to build their homes. We are still trying to figure this out. We believe that we will stick to non-profit work, charge a licensing and training fee to contractors, and stay out of commercial construction and continue working on a pro-bono basis.  Hopefully grants and other aid may materialize if once we start showing positive results.

 


Javed Sultan

Nov 2, 2017
03:04

Member


2 |
Share via:
Proposal
creator

We apologize for forgetting to add a legend to our acronyms above. WLS stands for water loop system. There are two loops and the third "C" is the heat exchanger. WLS "A" brings water from Solar Hot Water (SHW), it also has a cold water tie in for summer, and it is regulated with a toggle valve. It ransfers the heat or cold to the wall via a perimeter baseboard heating system. the system is an exposed copper piping, as it flows to the heat exchanger to cool or heat the water within ("C"). WLS "B" circulates in a closed loop through the radiant flooring. It utilizes an inexpensive pex hose ( similar to a black pvc garden hose) type of piping buried in concrete. It in turn is heated or cooled in the heat exchanger ("C"). There are also direct lines for cold and hot water to the sink and shower. Thank you.


Javed Sultan

Nov 2, 2017
06:37

Member


3 |
Share via:
Proposal
creator

We would like to add that we have had limited success with one our projects earlier. During 2006 and 2007 we were asked by a local NGO in Pakistan to build earthquake resistant structures, demonstrate our building technology, in an earthquake devastated area of Kashmir. We built several homes for the poor using techniques which are similar to what we later did in Lesotho. We subsequently, during 2009 thru 2011 period, built high end homes for the rich, using similar methods, and were able to call up our prior trained workers - and provide them work for over a year. Our high end homes were very well received. They are highly insulated, wall (R20) and Roof (R-30), in a country where such ideas are usually not practiced. We are hopeful that the same startegy might work in Lesotho.


Javed Sultan

Nov 3, 2017
05:57

Member


4 |
Share via:
Proposal
creator

Please note there was a small oversight in the chart above comparing masonry versus prototype. We did not include the fact that we have a leaner mix of concrete and our carbon footprint is smaller. Please see corrected chart.  Thanks.


Javed Sultan

Nov 4, 2017
01:34

Member


5 |
Share via:
Proposal
creator

We have noticed that in some instances some of the sections and charts do not appear on the web, as they were accidentally deleted. We are posting them here. Our apologies for any inconvenience. Thanks.

A section of our prototype home (updated section).

Spreadsheet comparing cement in our prototype versus that in a typical Masonry structure. 

Section comparing Masonry to our Prototype wall system.


Javed Sultan

Nov 4, 2017
03:56

Member


6 |
Share via:
Proposal
creator

We have also added other charts and graphs to our New Orleans (NO) homes.