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Mexico Low Income Housing Sustainable Consulting

Consulting on energy efficiency in the wood-frame construction industry in the United States and Canada is quite different from consulting on energy efficiency in Mexico, so we learned.  The Center for Building Excellence was commissioned to explore BASF’s opportunities in low-income housing in Mexico. In order to better understand Mexican building practices and efficiency requirements nationally, we dug into research on the requirements by building code and researched how the homeowners were using energy. Some of the required technical research we completed:

  • Commissioned a cultural deep dive on energy use and homeowner behavior in Mexican housing
  • Visited sites in Mexicali, Baja California; Tecate, Baja California; and  Mexico City, Federal District
  • Learned the parameters of the NOM 020 Mexican building code to determine efficiency regulations mandated by code (in Spanish and in English)
  • Learned the SISEVIVE code compliance program (in Spanish), a complex energy efficiency tool created by PassivHaus. At the time, I was one of approximately 15 people trained in the program.
  • Learned how to capture the energy impact of thermal mass (concrete systems) in WUFI, and the limitations of the software to truly measure impact.

This highly technical activity was completed for a culture that uses, measures, and regulates energy use in a dramatically different way than in the United States. Through our research, we were able to become a valuable technical partner in a new-business development activity following our consulting work. I was the sole architecture representative on the project, one of three consultants who assembled and proposed a business strategy and three business plans for BASF Mexico.

Project “Cold Winter” (ironic for a project in Mexico – we didn’t name it), is one of the most dynamic projects I’ve worked on in BASF to date. The work was extremely challenging – from learning another culture’s building methods, to a learning how to devise a new business strategy and business plan. Exploring housing on the periphery of Mexico City and describing building science principals in Spanish are experiences that will remain with me for some time.

BRIEF

CLIENT

BASF Mexico, Private Clients

TYPE

Building Science Consulting, International Design, Sustainable Design

SUSTAINABLE ELEMENTS

Passive Solar Heat Gain, Thermal Envelope Improvements