A demonstration home showing the latest in renewable energy and energy efficient solutions is being officially opened this week by IDEAAS, a Brazilian NGO and longtime REEEP partner who seeks to spread renewable energy solutions and encourage social entrepreneurship.
This “Popular Efficient Home” has been built at the Learning Center for Renewable Energy and Decentralised Generation, located in a rural area of Santo Antonio da Patrulha in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.
The home makes use of solar PV, small wind, mini-hydro and highly efficient lighting and temperature control and applies them all to a typical, modest-sized Brazilian residence without any large-scale grid access. The resulting savings in energy, water consumption can help finance the building process.
The new home and the related educational program was actually financed by a US $100,000 prize that came with the Itaú Bank “Outstanding Social Itaú Fund” Award and from the Clean Energy Consortium, awarded by USAID / Energy Program Brazil.
REEEP funding originally helped to establish the Learning Center where the house is located. This complex has a wider aim of giving government and utilities hands-on proof that off-grid and decentralized energy are a viable option for remote areas of Brazil. In addition to the demonstration home, the park also offers visitors a “Renewable Energy Plaza” displaying a range of small-scale solar, wind, hydro and biomass installations individually, and a “Sustainability Route” path along which visitors are introduced to concepts on sustainability, environment, energy efficiency and renewable energy.
“The original REEEP project funding to start this Learning Center has really scaled up in many ways,” notes Fábio Rosa, social entrepreneur and founder of IDEAAS, “In addition to the demonstration home, we’re increasing the training courses and capacity-building activities considerably, and are planning to replicate the entire Learning Center with a second one in Santarém City in Pará state in the Amazonian region, where the largest number of people without access to energy are located.”