Meet the iPHA Affiliates: Instituto Latinoamericano Passivhaus (ILAPH), Latin America

The International Passive House Association (iPHA) was founded in 2010 to support the growing global Passive House community, disseminate information on the Passive House Standard, and foster a greater public understanding of its significance. iPHA partners with independent Passive House organisations, called ‘Affiliates’, all over the world. Over the years, iPHA has seen the number of affiliates and members grow to a massive number of 6500+ members and 21 Affiliates. This series of interviews highlights iPHA Affiliates and their local activities and developments.

The Instituto Latinoamericano Passivhaus (ILAPH) is an open Latin American ecosystem that brings together all actors linked to the construction and building sector to work towards improving the quality and health of buildings.

ILAPH contributes to developing and decarbonising the building industry in Latin America by promoting the Passive House standard through the dissemination in conferences and events, training professionals, and many other activities. It promotes the development of the construction market in Latin America, incorporating new and certified high energy efficient products and materials. But when does the story of ILAPH begin?

Let’s go back to 2010, when the first Passive House building, a branch of Banco BCI Vitacura, was built in Santiago, Chile, by Gabriele Stange (Arquiambiente Limitada) and Marcelo Huenchuñir Bustos, who soon after became the first Passive House professional in Latin America. And it’s only three years later, in 2013, that the first Passive House Designer Course was led at the Universidad del Bío Bío in Concepción, Chile, by Micheel Wassouf and Anne Vogt. It was a great success, given its 80+ participants!

The year 2014 was marked by great achievements: From a prototype house, a house with Passive House components, to a retrofit of an apartment in México, which was accredited as the first certified Passive House retrofit in LATAM. The years passed, and thanks to a rising number of courses, more and more certified Passive House professionals were certified across Latin America. This, together with the spreading interest in Passive House across LATAM led to the founding of ILAPH in 2019 by Marcelo Huenchuñir Bustos, Micheel Wassouf, Paolo Massacesi and Juan Manuel Vázquez.

Today, ILAPH counts already over 150 members across 20 LATAM countries, each of which has its Organisation Chapter: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela.

In 2022, after years of collaboration and strong involvement in the Passive House community, ILAPH became officially an iPHA Affiliate organisation.

Implementing the Passive House Standard in LATAM

Latin America has a very poor development regarding technical building codes, as the regulations regarding Nearly Zero Energy Consumption Buildings (NECB) are practically non-existent. For this reason, ILAPH is working hard locally to ensure that Passive House is taken as a basis following the requirements of the European directives that should hopefully be a reality soon.

Buildings built to the Passive House standard have been, since 1991 and will continue to be in the future, the best and most demanding example of what energy efficient construction is and could be in the future. Therefore, those who master and build under the Passive House standard will be complying with the current requirements in a more solvent way, anticipating regulatory developments and constructing buildings that will not become obsolete in the coming years.

Latin America, with its variability of climates and cultures, is a great challenge, and given that ILAPH is the only institute with members throughout most of the continent, it is considered to be an extremely important channel not only for dissemination but also for the development of an entire industry in the service of sustainability. This, together with the training of local public sector professionals, will hopefully accelerate the development of the standard.

The aim of ILAPH

ILAPH’s main activity is disseminating and popularising the Passive House standard in Latin America. They believe the standard and its experience is the best tool to achieve and guarantee excellence and build more efficient, healthier buildings that allow us to Live Better with Less Energy.

ILAPH believes in a united Latin America that works together to strengthen its local and sustainable architecture based on a collaborative model without borders – A network for exchanging professional services and industrial products around sustainable building.

Thus, ILAPH is an inclusive association, where each member, person or company understands the importance of their role, identifies and feels part of a large family that grows and develops over time in an ever-changing environment with great challenges across Latin America.

ILAPH’s latest achievements

A one-day conference with worldwide speakers was organised in the frame of the Semana Regional del Clima LACCW2021. During this event, together with Passive House Canada and The Passive House Network, ILAPH managed to reach more than 1.000 virtual participants!

  • Ice Box Challenge 2021 in Santiago, Chile

The event and its results were presented in November of the same year at COP26 in Glasgow, during one of the sessions organised at the Building Pavillion by the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction.

  • The certification of the two first Passive House single-family homes in Argentina

La Dianita, Mar del Plata | Passive House Building Database ID 6934

La Dianita, designed by ILAPH’s Paolo Massacesi, is located in the seaside city of Mar del Plata, province of Buenos Aires. Its almost 400m2 are made up of an unheated area with a garage and “quincho” (barbecue area), and a heated area on two levels consisting of sleeping, living and dining areas, three bathrooms, a kitchen, and a laundry room.

DEL, Tigre Delta, Buenos Aires | Passive House Building Database ID 6939

This weekend home is located deep in the Tigre Delta in Buenos Aires. The building is elevated over the ground to allow for the frequent flooding of the river to flow underneath. The project, made in timber structural modules made of glue lam beams and using SIPs and dry construction, bases its strategy on bioclimatic design favouring orientation and solar control as well as natural and mechanical ventilation

  • Becoming an iPHA Affiliate in 2022!

A look at the future

ILAPH works strongly in all LatAm countries, supporting every new project attempt and certification intention. They work with banks to achieve differential rates for certified Passive House projects – This has already been achieved in Uruguay!

In the future, ILAPH would also like to carry out an Ice Box Challenge yearly in different countries, as they believe it is the best way for the population to understand energy efficiency.

In the meantime, ILAPH participates in conferences at different universities in Latin America to continue spreading the word, especially to young students in related careers.

One of ILAPH’s main objectives? Getting more certified Passive House m2!

Connect with ILAPH

Keep yourself up to date with the activities of ILAPH on their social media platforms:

Are you enjoying this iPHA Meet the Affiliates series? If you are, check out the previous interviews on our blog and read about other affiliates!

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