Country: Haiti | Date range: Spring 2013-fall 2014 | Website
Engineering2Empower (E2E) seeks to overcome the challenges of establishing safe and affordable permanent housing in the developing world. Limited financial resources, the absence of codes and standards, and poor quality control currently govern these housing sectors. E2E’s current focus is on Haiti, where more than three years after the devastating 2010 earthquake, the majority of displaced families are still in transitional shelters, looking for permanent housing they can call “home”. Forced evictions have disbanded many of the camp settlements, leaving most to vie on their own for housing.
E2E has formulated an innovative approach to navigate the aforementioned constraints, and ultimately support self-financed recovery in the residential housing sector. The E2E model fundamentally shifts the structural system used in residential construction from the established masonry system toward a frame and panel system. Through this approach, the limited resources available to Haitian families are engineered into a U.S. code compliant concrete frame (“skeleton” of structure), while lightweight concrete panels are then introduced to simply enclose and partition the home (“skin” of the structure). The level of safety against earthquakes and hurricanes is drastically increased, but the cost, materials, and skill sets required remain exactly the same as the current model.
Through other innovations, such as customizable payment plans, prefabricated components, and standardized designs, E2E is additionally able to deliver the model through locally operated businesses. Unlike other developing world housing solutions, E2E is able to supply safe, affordable homes in a culturally appropriate and financially sustainable way, solely dependent on existing skill sets and locally available materials.