News

UN selects sustainable housing program in Mexico as lighthouse activity
  • ECOCASA helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Showcase during the next climate change conference
  • IDB and KfW among the international supporters of the program

As part of an initiative called “Momentum for Change” the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has selected the Mexican sustainable housing program ECOCASA as a lighthouse activity. It has appraised the program as a “shining example that serves to inspire and increase momentum for further action on climate change.” Together with six other lighthouse activities, ECOCASA will be showcased at this year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP 19) in Warsaw, Poland, in November. The program was selected among dozens of runner ups in the category of “Financing for Climate-Friendly Investment”, which recognizes successful financial innovations for adaptation and climate mitigation, leveraging significant amounts of private finance and overcoming important market barriers.

ECOCASA as an innovative financing scheme is helping Mexico to tackle climate change by unlocking financing to build sustainable housing and increasing the amount of mortgages for low-carbon residences. In addition to its many climate and environmental advantages, the activity is bringing about long-lasting benefits to Mexico’s housing sector and to its sustainable development in general. Providing financing to build more low-carbon houses will help decrease energy consumption and spending, improve level of comfort of beneficiaries and strengthen government policies. In the first seven years ECOCASA is helping to build 27,600 energy-efficient houses and finance an additional 1,700 "green" mortgages.

The Mexican Government has introduced the program in search for new ways to curb greenhouse gas emissions and to increase energy efficiency in the residential construction sector. Currently Mexico’s housing sector already accounts for about 16 per cent of total energy use and 26 per cent of total electricity use. The energy demand, however, is expected to increase even further with rapidly expanding cities and inefficient transport patterns. ECOCASA is thought as a measure to counter that trend.

The program provides financial incentives and technical assistance to housing developers so that they adhere to new energy efficiency standards, which are aimed to transform the Mexican residential housing sector in line with the national climate change strategy. These houses, built mostly for low-income families, incorporate technologies to reduce their carbon footprint resulting primarily from reduced energy consumption. Among these modern technologies is the insulation of roof and walls, the usage of reflective paint, efficient gas boilers, efficient refrigerators, or energy saving windows. These houses will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 per cent compared to regular ones.

ECOCASA is a joint initiative of Sociedad Hipotecaria Federal (SHF), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the German development bank KfW within the framework of the Mexican National Appropriate Mitigation Action for Sustainable Housing (NAMA), which was launched by the Government of Mexico at the Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, in 2011. ECOCASA receives financial support from the IDB (out of its own resources as well as from the Clean Technology Fund – CTF) as well as the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the European Union’s Latin American Investment Facility (LAIF) both administered by KfW.