Sustainable Housing for All

Casa para Ensamblar

1. No Poverty 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Overview

Casa para Ensamblar is an innovative business that contributes to the solution of social and environmental problems.

This business is breaking construction paradigms, allowing decent housing access for low-income people in a short period of time. The business innovation consists of a self-construction technique using a revolutionary and sustainable construction material (CPM) with unique sustainable properties (described in the following sections in the form of a modular, LEGO-like system that uses no water, no cement, and no specialized tools.

It contributes to the solution of four UN SDGs:

  • No Poverty - Since it provides housing to BOP together with government-subsidized models capable of promoting target indicator 1.4.1 (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg1).
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure - Providing quality, reliable, sustainable, and resilient housing infrastructure to support development and human well-being, as indicated in target 9.1 (https://sustainabledevelopment... Cities and Communities - Ensuring access for all to adequate, safe, and affordable housing, as indicated in target 11.1 (https://sustainabledevelopment... Consumption and Production - Achieving sustainable management and use of natural resources and waste management, as indicated in target 12.2 (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg12).

Authors

Darío Genolet

Darío Genolet

Mariana Martinez Ramirez

Mariana Martinez Ramirez

Juan Carlos Flores Hesiquio

Juan Carlos Flores Hesiquio

School

EGADE Business School Tecnologico de Monterrey

EGADE Business School Tecnologico de Monterrey

Professor

Ezequiel Reficco

Ezequiel Reficco

Innovation

Adolfo, a Mexican industrial engineer, had the opportunity to work in the government. During his work experience in the overnment, he found out that he could contribute to the solution of one of the main problems of poverty among the Mexican population: the lack of housing.

In 2010, Adolfo started his own project. His objective was to reduce 60% of the total construction cost.

His innovation in the materials and in the construction technique positively affected not only the cost but also the environment. He developed a modular-profile housing part using a material called CPM, which has a high quality and low maintenance cost and is eco-friendly since it is composed of 55% scrap wood, 40% polypropylene, and 5% additives such as cellulose fiber.

The material provides thermal insulation, it does not degrade, it has no water penetration, and it does not need maintenance or paint. Adding to this, it reduces the living cost for residents and allows sustainable use of materials.

Houses are assembled by fitting the CPM panels onto specially designed CPM posts without the need for any additional material such as cement to bind the pieces together. Water is not needed in the construction process. The houses can be built by non-specialized labor, allowing for self-construction with a team of three to five people in less than five days.

Sustainable Housing for All

Inspiration

Adolfo was inspired to create solutions for the BOP while he was working with the local government. Thanks to this experience, he detected the poverty conditions suffered by more than 40% of the Mexican population and decided to actively work on a solution.

In Adolfo's words, "I went to a rural community where a lady approached me and I asked her were she lived. She then said that she lived under a nearby tree (I looked and only saw two sheets of cardboard and a bad canvas tied up). Then she told me how just 10 days before, her son had died of diarrhea because they had not reached the closest community with a clinic. Casa para Ensamblar was born to help with these issues of the BOP.

He did a lot of research and development and found and contacted a German company that created the initiative of the CPM material. He learned from the raw material generation (the chemical process) to the production process (extrusion) and immediately put his hands on the job to transform that into a viable application to make sustainable houses and help people obtain a dignified home solution.

Overall impact

Casa para Ensamblar promotes fair, cheap access to housing for all levels and specially focused on BOP.

The company considers a slow growth model to be optimal to enable it to maintain its social focus. Government involvement is a must to provide financial subsidies and thus benefit a greater number of people in the BOP.

Through some government grants, it has been able to provide over 1,000 homes with social interest objectives. And it is actively promoting government involvement to reach even more.

Communities with decent housing and adequate living conditions are proven to reduce crime rates and drug abuse and preserve family values.

Casa para Ensamblar's construction techniques have reduced waste and cement pollution and severely reduced water consumption during the construction stages, allowing for construction in zones with difficult or no access to water.

The type of material used requires no maintenance and no paint and has a long lifespan, which reduces further use of resources in maintenance.

Business benefit

Casa para Ensamblar is financially sustainable; the project has been steadily doubling or exceeding the houses delivered per year in the last 8 years (with a minor setback in 2016). Sales have grown on average 175% per year.

So far, 2018 has been its best year, with revenues in the order of 28.95 MUSD. The company has hired five direct employees, with 12 more on-demand direct. It has no indirect employees since the houses are DIY.

Also, they have created a new product called "house in a box," where they ship the complete materials and instruction for a basic house in a box. This product has boosted sales, and they have begun to ship internationally, with the first 180 units shipped in 2018.

According to their estimations, Casa para Ensamblar will be selling 22,000 homes in 2020, with a revenue estimate of 141 MUSD.

Social and environmental benefit

in Adolfo's own words, "My project is not about construction, it is about social support to those who need it most" (see video included in the media section).

Casa para Ensamblar offers families with limited means the chance to build and finish their own home themselves. Adolfo's innovation had a strong impact on his community. A rural house of 52 square meters in traditional construction costs more than $400,000 MXP; the cost of a house from Casa para Ensamblar of the same number of square meters is less than $150,000 MXP. With some state and federal government subsidies, the house can be acquired with an investment of less than $20,000 MXP.

In Mexico, 65 million people do not have a decent house. In 2013, Casa para Ensamblar, leveraging federal government programs, built 300 houses in Morelos. Another project with a big impact in Zacatepec, Morelos, was the construction of 1,200 modular houses.

The short-term effects of Casa para Ensamblar in Mexican BOP are affordable, decent housing, which directly impacts health, security, and quality of life improvements.

The long-term effects are social and environmental positive impacts. The community access to decent and dignified housing directly reduces the crime rate, reduces drug abuse, and also helps to conserve family values and bonding and to promote better education opportunities and living conditions. It reduces the water consumption in the construction process and eliminates the use of cement, which is a heavy pollutant. With every modular house built, 80,000 liters of water is saved.

Interview

Adolfo Anguiano, Director & Founder

Photo of interviewee

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Casa para Ensamblar

Casa para Ensamblar

Cuernavaca, Morelos, MX

Business Website: https://anguianoadolf4.wixsite.com/casaparaensamblar

Year Founded: 2010

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

Casa para Ensamblar (Houses to Assemble) is a Mexican firm that has developed a prefabricated housing model that guarantees a low-cost, low-maintenance, expandable, high-quality housing solution for people at the BOP.

One of the distinctive features of this model is the materials, which may represent 40% of the cost of a new home. The founder of Casa para Ensamblar, Adolfo Anguiano, developed a construction material called CPM, which is composed of 55% scrap wood, 40% polypropylene, and 5% additives such as cellulose fiber. The material is easy to handle during construction, does not need further finishing such as painting, and requires low maintenance. Houses are assembled by fitting the CPM onto specially designed posts without the need for any additional material such as cement to bind the pieces together.

The prefabricated materials allow the company to deliver between 12 and 15 houses on a single truck, which reduces transportation costs. Also, the building system permits three people without prior construction knowledge to assemble the house in five days on average. Houses designed by Casa para Ensamblar are modular, which means they are prepared to expand according to customer needs and financial capacity.