Energy efficiency for sustainable urban development, focus on social housing

Project description

Title: Energy efficiency for sustainable urban development
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Brazil
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Regional Development  
Overall term: 2017 to 2020


In September 2015, Brazil published new climate targets. By 2025, it aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by up to 37 per cent compared to the 2005 level, partly by boosting the use of renewable energy (RE). The country has also set out to achieve a 10 per cent improvement in energy efficiency. The climate targets do not specify how this is to be accomplished.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), cities account for more than 70 per cent of global energy consumption and 40 to 50 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. In Brazil, according to the energy planning agency (Empresa de Pesquisa Energética, EPE), 28 per cent of power generated in 2014 was consumed in residential buildings – and the trend is rising. Electricity consumption is also going up in Brazilian social housing, since the slowly evolving increase in prosperity is accompanied by the wish for more amenities. More and more people are using refrigerators and air conditioners. These developments contributed to carbon dioxide emissions totalling around 18.5 million tonnes in 2014. 

Based on economic and demographic developments, the national housing plan assumes that, by 2023, it will be necessary to build around 1.5 million homes each year. This is why the state is investing heavily in the construction of social housing through the housing subsidy programme My House, My Life (Minha Casa, Minha Vida – MCMV). Around 80 billion euros have been invested in the MCMV programme since 2009. The programme is the largest in Brazil and serves as a forerunner for the entire housing sector.

New social housing is to be made more energy-efficient by means of specific measures relating to the design and construction of the buildings themselves (building geometry, construction materials, insulation, shading) and the use of innovative RE solutions.


The conditions for developing energy efficiency potential in the construction of social housing have improved. 


The project works in three fields of activity: 

  • Field of activity 1: The funding guidelines are to be designed such that they promote improved energy efficiency in social housing. To this end, the project is training key players to prepare recommendations for anchoring energy efficiency in the funding guidelines of the MCMV housing subsidy programme independently and in a consensual manner, and to support their implementation. The experience gained in existing pilot measures and the findings of studies are reviewed.
  • Field of activity 2: New or adapted methods, procedures and instruments are used to ensure that the funding guidelines of the MCMV housing subsidy programme can be designed in a target-oriented manner and implemented effectively. Construction defects are registered more promptly and in greater detail, thus raising the quality of the construction projects. The effectiveness and cost efficiency of measures in the field of energy efficiency are made transparent.
  • Field of activity 3: An improved information and knowledge base enables the organisations and individuals involved to participate in the processes in the Brazilian cooperation system properly and professionally. Discussion and coordination processes become more objective and swifter. Employees of key stakeholders apply knowledge acquired on energy efficiency in their work environment. This field of activity is implemented by the consulting firm GOPA Gesellschaft für Organisation, Planung und Ausbildung mbH.

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