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Billionbricks Homes wins double prize at the Global Lafarge Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction.
We are excited to announce that Billionbricks Homes has won both the Commendation Award 2021 and the Asia Pacific Acknowledgment Award at the Global Lafarge Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction. In the 6th cycle of the world’s most significant competition for sustainable design the prize money totalled USD 2 million. Most of the global prizewinning projects came from the Asia Pacific and Middle East Africa regions. The prizes were presented at a handover ceremony at the International Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy.
The built environment has a significant role to play in addressing climate change. The construction industry could enable the transition to a net zero and more inclusive future. The Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction global winners showcase the cutting edge of approaches to green architecture, sustainable design, and materials innovation.
Homelessness is a global policy problem that, in the Philippines alone, impacts more than 30 million people. This is what the BillionBricks Homes project aims to tackle. In Minalin, 70km north of Manila, it proposes a self-financing model that combines social housing for homeless families with a solar plant. This power plant will produce and sell energy to finance the homes. Additionally it will provide adequate living conditions to 125 homeless families. The design turns the rooftops of the houses into a mini 2.5 MW photovoltaic plant. This will be able to generate 25 times more electricity than the residential complex will use. After the expiration of the renewable energy commitment, residents will become the new homeowners. They will then continue to earn passive income through the sale of energy. This truly represents a tangible opportunity for vulnerable people to emerge out of poverty.
The team at BillionBricks designed the residential units as a zero-discharge and all-in-one infrastructure solution. Besides relying on solar energy, they also include water harvesting. This along with a grey-water treatment system feeds into vegetable gardens for homegrown food. Furthermore, a dry assembly construction method minimises construction waste. The project also represents an important step forward in terms of social sustainability. The homes become an opportunity for the empowerment of women, as they will be officially owned by the woman in each household.
Regional jury appraisal
The Holcim Awards jury Asia Pacific was impressed by the project’s ability to successfully and creatively bring together different stakeholders to address two urgent societal issues: homelessness and access to renewable energy sources. Ensuring at the same time the economic viability of housing for vulnerable people and the energy supply in remote locations, the powerHYDE community was considered an innovative business model that simultaneously addresses poverty and energy, making it highly transferable accelerator of sustainability.
Global jury appraisal
The jury found the way the project address homelessness by introducing a new business model to combine housing with sources of livelihood to low-income people both relevant and creative. This self-financing system will enable vulnerable families to have a trajectory out of poverty in one single generation and help them achieve lower-middle income standards. The solution as a twofold aim: to contain a social problem and to generate significant quantities of clean energy, which was considered as a great sustainable opportunity for vulnerable people to achieve financial independence and contribute to climate change mitigation. The jury perceived this initiative to be a highly transferable project model that can be replicated in other developing countries and beyond.
Watch the project video here: