The Fez Tá Pronto Construction System and the Environment
Most constructors targeting low income groups would agree that the incorporation of environmentally sustainable practices and installations remains a major challenge when accounting for the complex balance of achieving affordability for end users and profitability. The notion of embracing such objectives into these business models, as a general observation, remains disregarded despite the menacing effects the construction sector imposes on climate change.
As highlighted in the sections below – from the production chain to the delivered housing unit – there are a number of distinct advances that the Fez Tá Pronto Construction System makes that respect the environment, whilst enabling residents to benefit from important household cost and energy savings.
In Brazil, all processes comfortably operate in line with regulations laid out by the various ecological and environmental governing bodies including CONAMA (rules established via the National Environmental Program or PNMA); IBAMA (that Brazilian Environmental and Natural Renewable Resources Institute); Casa Azul (the “Blue House” benchmarks set by the Caixa Econômica Federal), the Forestry Code amongst others. We are also confident in the ability of buildings produced under the system to adhere to a range of LEED based criteria (as established by the Green Building Council).
Fez Tá Pronto Gypsum Plaster Blocks – Energy and Carbon Efficient
With atmospheric carbon levels already critical, wider pressure is being placed on the construction industry to radically alter the negative impacts it places on the environment. Yet when looking at low income housing, whilst there has been some notable progress amongst certain production processes, the dominance of informal methodologies often results in carbon and energy emission control rarely being a serious consideration.
In addition to requiring less labour for significantly higher levels of production, manufacturing Fez Tá Pronto gypsum plaster blocks for both internal and external walls requires a 70% lower energy requirement whilst also emitting 60% less carbon gases into the atmosphere when compared to ceramic (brick) and cement blocks (most common materials used in Brazilian real estate construction). Note that the quality, strength, durability and resistance of gypsum plaster remains very comfortably in line with international construction standards.
Zero Building Site Waste on all Fez Tá Pronto Projects
Whilst recently witnessing relative calm, the effervescent growth of the Brazilian construction sector has served to intensify the occurrences of unscrupulous practices ranging from illegal waste disposal to negligible on-site recycling activity and other breaches of local area environmental codes – debilitating the industry´s ability to sustainably evolve.
The low income housing sector defends itself by stating the difficulty of keeping costs low enough to be priced competitively and achieve a reasonable profit. However, such justifications cannot, of course, remain in an age of greater pressure amongst rapidly emerging countries like Brazil to adhere to international environment mandates.
The Fez Tá Pronto building block material itself is 100% recyclable, non-toxic and, as mentioned above, releases a comparatively low level of carbon emissions during production – meaning that there are no streams of waste on any project executed (regardless of size). Due to the simplicity of the block production process, scaled projects will see the manufacturing and renewal process undertaken on site (with very low deployment and overhead costs) – creating further time management and other important savings.
Dematerialisation and Substitution of Raw Materials
According to the Casa Azul ("Blue House") report, published by the Caixa Econômica Federal to promote the dissemination of good practices in the Brazilian construction industry: "sustainable [real estate] development requires the following actions: (a) a process of dematerialisation – building more using less material and; (b) the substitution of raw materials."
Besides having the aforementioned unique ability to recycle 100% of excess on-site gypsum plaster blocks as many times as necessary (with low overheads), Fez Tá Pronto Construction System masonry benefits from being lower in weight, reducing the consumption structural steel and concrete load compared to the commonly used ceramic brick and structural / panelled concrete. As is sometimes incorrectly perceived, the inherent properties of the Fez Tá Pronto gypsum block adhere to all pertinent Brazilian and global technical standards, demonstrated by means of completed developments and extensive complementary scientific studies.
Dual Hydraulic Water Network & Additional 12-14,000 Litre Cistern for Every Unit
Despite possessing some of the highest reserve levels on the planet, in 2011 the Brazilian Water Agency (Agência Nacional das Águas, ANA) stated that over half of the country´s 5,565 cities will possess a shortfall of water supply by 2015. Much of the problem is prompted by the slow development of capacitated systems combined with a lack of sufficient investment in infrastructure for water harnessing, fair distribution and treatment.
The Fez Tá Pronto Construction System is the first of its kind to be able to present a separated reserve tank specifically for rain and underground water supply, the installation of which has a negligible compromise on overall project costs. All homes are constructed with two independent but interconnected hydraulic networks – one for publically sourced water (kitchen, shower, and bathroom sink usage) and the other for rain / underground water supply (washing machine, service area and toilet usage). This innovation brings estimated water bill reductions of up to 70% for residents.
Solar Energy Generation in Every Fez Tá Pronto Housing Unit
Viewed as an increasingly important energy source in the favourable climates of the global south, the prominent difficulty in incorporating solar panelling into low income housing business models is the initial cost of installation and ongoing maintenance. For this reason, solar energy´s usage is currently largely limited to construction business models where margins are under less pressure.
In Brazil, the concessions granted to construction companies in 2010 (under the Minha Casa, Minha Vida program) to install solar panels have failed to get off the ground as originally expected despite the huge potential benefits for homeowners.
Every Fez Tá Pronto homebuyer will have access to solar electricity generating panels, directly connected to 200 litre heating tanks transporting water via the hydraulic network to all fitted showers units, again, bringing further cost benefits to our future residents. Any issues in relation to maintenance will be managed in line with the employed team and/or the solar panel installation company (upon delivery, residents pay a relatively small monthly condominium fee for this and other condominium services).
Fez Tá Pronto Gypsum Plaster Blocks High Fire Resistance
The threat of fire on the very fragile nature of informal settlements often means that entire communities are prone to what Mike Davis, author of “Planet of the Slums”, refers to as a “superlative recipe for spontaneous combustion”. Simple accidents quickly turn into mega fires spreading at rapid velocity, completely destroying slum neighbourhoods – with fire-fighting services often having difficulty to react in time due to poor accessibility.
The Fez Tá Pronto gypsum plaster block is a highly fire-resistant building material. When exposed to extremely elevated temperatures, the chemically combined water in the non-combustible gypsum core is released as steam, effectively retarding heat transfer. Even after all the water has been released, gypsum plaster will continue to act as a barrier to heat. The block possesses a low flame spread and generates a comparatively lower level of smoke, making it one of the most fire-safe building materials available globally.