ImaginationLancaster and the Latin American Passivhaus Institute sign a Memorandum of Understanding

ImaginationLancaster is delighted to announce that the Latin American Passivhaus Institute (ILAPH) is officially a Strategic Partner. Thanks to the £13.2m secured by ImaginationLancaster in 2019 from the Expanding Excellence in England (E3) fund, ImaginationLancaster’s research has grown and reached new places through the Beyond Imagination project. ILAPH has demonstrated to be a strategic partner and an actor of change in Latin America, pushing for innovative solutions putting world-leading research into practice to provide a near-zero carbon future.

To consolidate and demonstrate our commitment to continue working together, Lancaster University and ILAPH signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in early October 2021. The MoU signing ceremony was online, and representatives from Lancaster University and the Latin American Passivhaus Institute attended. Lancaster University was represented by Prof Paul Connolly, Dean of the Faculty Dean (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences); Prof Alan Marsden, Head of Department (Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts); Prof Leon Cruickshank, Director of ImaginationLancaster; Dr Emmanuel Tsekleves, Co-Director of the Future Cities Institute; Dr Alejandro Moreno-Rangel, Research Associate; and Gemma Coupe, Beyond Imagination Impact Manager. The Latin American Passivhaus Institute (ILAPH) was represented by Dr Marcelo Huenchiñir, ILAPH’s President and Juan Manuel Vazquez, ILAPH’s Executive Director.

The MoU represents the vision of two institutions to work together to deliver research and engage with communities where it is needed the most. While COVID-19 impacted how we work, it also opened many doors, particularly connecting people who might not have met otherwise. Certainly, this was the case when ImaginationLancaster approached the Latin American Passivhaus Institute more than a year ago, and Lancaster University found in them an ally to work and deliver this shared vision.

ILAPH’s idea of promoting and delivering the Passivhaus standard in Latin America to improve people’s quality of life resonated with ImaginationLancaster’s research interests. It might have been strange for ILAPH that some academics on the other side of the world reached out to work together. Although we had some limitations at the beginning, as we learned together: ‘where there is desire, there is a will, and where there is a will, there is a way.’ We have put several hours together to develop joint publications, research bids and plan public engagement activities. Up to date, Lancaster University and ILAPH have delivered ten Passivhaus Designer scholarships, one research project, formed a network of collaborators and academics to develop Passivhaus research in Latin America, worked together on the first Latin American Passivhaus Conference, and published two working documents as digital books.

“This is only the beginning of many new collaborations; the world is ahead of us.”

What is a Passivhaus?

Welcome to this area to explore the Passivhaus context in Latin America. The video shortly introduces the Passivhaus and shows an example in Mexico. If you have any questions or comments, please fill the form below and we will try to answer as soon as we can.

What is a Passivhaus? Long version video

A condensed version of the video is available here:

What is a Passivhaus? Condensed version

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us! Just fill the form below and we will reach out.

Ground-breaking research about the thermal comfort performance of Passivhaus dwellings in Latin America

The Passivhaus is starting to get be introduced in Latin America and with the increasing housing demand expected over the next decades, the Passivhaus could help us to reduce global warming without sacrificing comfort in our homes. This is the first study that evaluated the physical comfort in Passivhaus dwellings in Latin America for a complete year. This study demonstrates that Passivhaus dwellings have the means to achieve desired temperatures in Mexico. Although, more research needs to be carried to understand exactly the impact of materials and architectural design the future ahead is bright! This article was published in the Journal of Building Engineering and can be accessed here. If you cannot access the publication please contact us. The abstract of this article is as follows:

New approaches to building design, such as the Passivhaus standard, aim to minimise energy consumption and improve the indoor environmental comfort. In 2014, the first Passivhaus dwelling in Latin America was built, and since then, other buildings have followed this approach. However, there is little published data on thermal comfort in Passivhaus certified dwellings in non-European countries. No previous study has evaluated the thermal comfort in Passivhaus buildings in Latin America. This work aims to assess the annual overheating of the first Passivhaus dwelling in Mexico City following the Passivhaus, static (CIBSE Guide A, Passivhaus, Mexican standards) and dynamic (Adaptive approach – CIBSE TM52) methodologies to assess overheating.

Indoor temperature and relative humidity were measured over one year at 5-min intervals. Temperatures above 25 °C were observed in the bedroom during 7.53% of the year, the living room (8.03%) and the kitchen (8.20%). There was a significant daily temperature variation in the kitchen (4.15 °C) and living room (6 °C). Overheating was observed through the CIBSE Guide A static criteria in the bedroom and kitchen. The Adaptive and Passivhaus criteria suggested no overheating. Passivhaus overheating criteria sets indoor temperatures as acceptable. Occupant perception of thermal comfort matched the Adaptive and Passivhaus criteria results. While the results presented here cannot be generalised, they could be used to help improve the design and performance of Passivhaus certified dwellings in similar climates’. The results highlight the potential for Passivhaus dwellings to provide comfortable indoor environments while minimising energy consumption in Latin American countries.

LatamHaus: Passivhaus Designer Course impact

LatamHaus, in partnership with ILAPH, Arquiambiente and  Castano y Asociados, delivered such a fantastic time during the Passive House Designer Course. LatamHaus supported some participants with 80% scholarships. Our biggest aim is to develop capacity-building activities and support net-Zero and carbon-neutral projects aligned with the UK Government’s national and international goals.

We recognise that one of the most important factors for this kind of project is setting the seed for change on the right people. That is why we at LatamHaus decided to support academics, professionals, and policymakers on their carer development as Passivhaus designers. We are confident these people will have a broad impact on their communities and countries. Shortly after the finishing course, a participant shared the way it has already impacted him and their institution opening and opened international research collaboration opportunities:

“I started an international collaboration to develop a net-Zero residential tower pilot project in my city. The skills and abilities I learned in this course will help us achieve our university goals. The support from the LatamHaus network made this possible and would like to continue working with Lancaster University in this and future projects.”

— Academic participant

Other participants also shared how they see the impact that these new skills and abilities will have an impact on their day to day life and communities:

“As a specialist in restoration and rehabilitation at a building and urban levels, this course has been beneficial to approach the Passivhaus methodology into heritage buildings. In a broad context, I see the potential at the local, national and international level to develop projects and establish interdisciplinary collaborations. It was interesting to see the experiences in Europe and Latin  American countries where this methodology has already been applied.”

— Academic participant

“I believe that this course will have a very significant impact on my professional work, but above all on the academic. I am pushing for the Faculty of Architecture at the ‘National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)’ continue to deepen the teaching of sustainability and energy efficiency.

In the short term, I mainly see  that the knowledge applied in a future project to develop a digital course called ‘Construction with Energy Efficiency and Thermal Comfort (EECT).’ The skills I gained at the Passive House Designer course are invaluable for the EECT project. I am also more confident to start international collaborations with people and organisation with shared objectives.”

— Professional and academic participant

It is incredible to see how the participants expect the course to impact their communities and those surrounding them. LatamHaus impact is beyond academia, as the participants plan to share the knowledge with younger generations and apply their new skills to future projects.

“As a professional, the Passivhaus Designer Course will help me to become more competitive as I will be able to offer more products for our customers. My projects will seek to improve the quality of life and making resource-efficient decisions. In the short, medium and long terms, these concrete actions will help reduce the impacts of climate change by lowering the CO2 emissions on the built environment.

As a lecturer, I will be able to give up-to-date lectures informed by excellent research about sustainable architecture and healthy indoor environments to our undergraduate and postgraduate students” participant

— Professional and academic

We are so thrilled to see that the LatamHaus activities had the desired impact and how the project planted much-needed change to start the change. Our next activity is some interactive workshops on which we will have the opportunity to explore the Passivhaus in the Latin American context. We will have key speakers from the Passive House Institute and the Latin American Passivhaus Institute. Everyone is welcome to attend these free events; if you are interested, please register here.

1st Latin American Passivhaus Conference during the UN Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week 2021!

Alejandro Moreno Rangel has been invited to talk about the LatamHaus Network at the 1st Latin American Passivhaus Conference during the UN Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week 2021. Alejandro will be participating in the closing panel talking about the interdisciplinary collaborations that Lancaster University and Imagination are developing at the Latin American Passivhaus Institute (ILAPH). The conference will take place on Monday the 10th of May, the first day of the UN Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week 2021.

The conference will be held online and is free to attend. If you like to register please follow this link: Conferencia Passivhaus de las Américas – Semana Regional del Clima LACCW2021