From Soil to Home: Building Eco-houses Together

¡Échale!

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 17. Partnerships for the Goals

Overview

Development of communities through self-construction of houses generating employment and engaging in a sustainable development considering the culture and necessities of each family.

Authors

Elena Grimaldo

Elena Grimaldo

ROMAN BENAVIDES

ROMAN BENAVIDES

Joel Rosas

Joel Rosas

Siddharta Flores

Siddharta Flores

School

EGADE Business School Tecnologico de Monterrey

EGADE Business School Tecnologico de Monterrey

Professor

Ezequiel Reficco

Ezequiel Reficco

Innovation

“Échale” is an efficient construction system, which allows the generation of local jobs and economic spills in the region. Thanks to the technology of Ecoblock it is a scalable supported model. The community produces a material called Ecoblock with which they build their homes. This product is sustainable because it is mainly made up of inert land in the region, as well as being carried out on site and by cold processes without the need for combustion. The community receive salaries and training for building the houses themselves.

The housing is done side by side with "Échale", being a financial arm that provides access to financing to unbanked families as well as construction advice in synergy with municipal , state and federal government to ensure that all homes have access to basic electricity, water and waste management services.

It emerged in 1985 in Mexico City, with its Founder Francesco Piazzesi, as a civil society organization using the Ecoblock as its main building material with thermal, acoustic and ecological characteristics, in addition to being produced in the region. And in 2006 they became a social enterprise that drives the firm idea that people are paid to produce their material, to help build their houses, to finally offer them a heritage home for which they then have to pay, little by little and according to their possibilities.

It is not about giving people a house, it is about people participating, being part of the social inclusion model. So, people build their houses and even get a job. In Mexico there is a deficit of 9 million homes. Without adequate housing to vulnerable people, everything else put into a community is going to drain.

From Soil to Home: Building Eco-houses Together

Inspiration

In Mexico, housing is the primary asset of any Mexican family. We are a heritage economy. However, there is a deficit of 9 million homes, of which only 3 million will be served by Mexican institutions, government and/or construction companies. The other 6 million are not affiliated and will not be taken care of. It is necessary to make the leap to be economically sustainable with a project that is also replicable to generate a greater impact.

On the other hand, they use the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a route to eradicate poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all without compromising resources for future generations. The founder mentions “If you do not have this reason for life, that allows you to derive the blessings that you are given, to other people who have not had them, such as the builder who knows how to make a house but does not have the possibilities to do it, we will not have a fair and equitable world. The companies that only see capital, are killing the world, we must raise awareness that we have to go a little further and this will be a sustainable project of life and business.”

Overall impact

The workers who build the houses, the hospitals, the buildings, the cities, paradoxically, are the people who have nowhere to live. There are 9 million families who do not have a decent home, of those, only 3 million will be served by government and private institutions. The other 6 million belong to the unaffiliated, to the unattended.

If we intend to build 6 million houses, it would take centuries to achieve it. For that reason, Échale created the construction council, seeking to multiply the effort and be able to help more people. The innovation they patented has allowed them to be the pioneers and world leaders in the development of construction systems for the building of houses with soil.

The vision of Échale is to transform marginalized communities through the construction of dignified and ecological homes. Through Social Inclusion, the well-being of the community is strengthened through social cohesion, job creation and economic spillover.

They provide access to financing for construction, serving families through housing co-investment programs, allowing them to begin the process.

The people of the community are also trained in the use of technology, making learning safe and easy for them. At the end, the model is replicable, making it possible for more and more families to have access to decent housing

As short-term effect, more houses are being easily constructed, without the need of complex processes. The eco-technology of the material allows a clean environment, in order to keep the communities in a better atmosphere. Communities as well are enrolled within the construction projects, and they feel they are part of the solution.

For long-term effects, the construction model is easy to replicate, in order that the same communities will have the knowledge to keep building more houses for the next generations. This will allow to close the gap of the 6 million statistic deficit.

Business benefit

Échale has been declared as a Social empowerment business that contributes to the development of communities, through the integration of families for self-production, generating employment and encouraging their sustainable development. Financially speaking, they referred the margin is between 10 and 15%, according the size of the project, and their income sources become from their financial model, as well as the sales of their construction machines.

They have built more than 45,000 homes, making more than 180 thousand improvements, which has positively impacted the lives of more than 1,000,000 people, with 450,000 jobs generated.

Social and environmental benefit

The benefit to society translates into a better quality of life for families and community members, as well as their integration into a formal scheme of work. As Francesco comments, "There is no better housing supervisor than the one who is going to live there". Since they are partners in the construction process, it allows them to move faster and ensure quality during the process itself, creating an environment of teamwork and empathy, as well as synergies with municipal, state, and federal governments.

With the use of ecoblock, made of soil from each particular community, the explotation of mountains, land drilling is no longer a necessity. The preservation of these areas is a direct impact from the use of this cheap, resistant, sustainable material.

Interview

Francesco Piazzesi, Founder and CEO

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¡Échale!

¡Échale!

Mexico City, Mexico City, MX

Business Website: https://www.echale.com.mx/

Year Founded: 1985

Number of Employees: 501 to 1000

Échale is a Social Producer of Housing and Community Infrastructure that contributes to the development of communities through the integration of families to assisted self-production, generating employment and promoting sustainable development.