Problem: Energy consumption depends directly on the conditions of ventilation, temperature and light in our homes. If the house is very warm, we will probably use air conditioning. And if it has few windows, we will rely more on artificial lighting. Currently, the buildings sector accounts for a significant 39 per cent of total energy-related CO2 emissions, according to The 2018 Global Status Report.
Solution: La Casa Uruguaya (The Uruguayan House) is a sustainable and intelligent housing project inspired from bioclimatic architecture and equipped with technology that can increase energy efficiency and accelerate climate action.
Goals and Objectives: The solution aims to reduce energy consumption while offering a sustainable and accessible lifestyle.
Implementation: With this challenge in mind, a group of students, graduates and professors from the ORT University Uruguay created La Casa Uruguaya (The Uruguayan House), a sustainable and intelligent housing project inspired from bioclimatic architecture and equipped with technology that can reduce energy consumption while offering a sustainable and accessible lifestyle.
The living unit consists of a house inside a box, according to the ORT University Uruguay. The insulation prevents heat and cold from entering. It has two ceilings—one on top of the other—and, between the two, moving parts that can be remotely opened or closed in order to regulate indoor temperature. Windows are strategically located to improve lighting.
The house is self-supplied with solar energy, notifies inhabitants of energy misuses, has a water reuse system, and sensors that help to regulate temperature, humidity or lighting. The unit can be installed in only 15 days and costs between US$50,000 and US$90,000.
Achievements: La Casa Uruguaya won major prizes at the Solar Decathlon Latin America and the Caribbean in 2015, an international academic competition organized by the United States Department of Energy. In 2016, the project received a National Energy Efficiency Award in Uruguay. Currently, the team members market the project in their country and the region.
Bologna s / n between Av. Italia and María Luisa Saldún
Phone: +598 2505 34 62
Problem: The carbon footprint of plastics production is very high due to the manufacturing process. The footprint of carbon determines how much impacts to global warming a certain product. So other technologies seriously affect the natural ecosystem and the planet's carbon cycle, causing a deterioration and increase of the average temperature of the planet.
Solution: Biofase has developed a unique technology for the manufacture of biodegradable products derived from the avocado pit, which is disposable and not edible.
Goals and Objectives: Along with other plastics made from food waste, Biofase’s biopastics could help meet the growing demand for plastics without hampering progress in the fight against hunger.
Implementation: Scott Munguía, a young Mexican chemical engineer, discovered in 2011 that the avocado seed contains a biopolymer similar to the one present in corn, which is used to produce bioplastic. In 2014, he founded Biofase, a company based in Monterrey that commercializes bioplastic products, made of 60 per cent avocado biopolymer and 40 per cent synthetic organic compounds.
The straws and cutlery made from avocado seeds decompose in only 240 days, and there is no need for incineration. This makes them a sustainable alternative for cities or countries that lack incineration facilities in their waste plants.
Unlike other types of bioplastics, this alternative does not use crops suitable for human consumption—such as corn or cassava. The carbon footprint is much less than other plastics and bioplastics, including paper. This is largely due to a phenomenon called bonus of biogenic carbon, which explains that the Avocado tree, when growing, absorbs CO2 of the atmosphere to form its tissues. This phenomenon does not occur in the production of any plastic derived of the oil.
Achievements: Reduces consumption up to 60% plastic derived from oil without need to be treated in a way special or to separate for recycling.
Biofase’s products have a great manufacturing potential. According to Munguía, 300,000 tonnes of avocado seeds are discarded annually in Mexico, an estimated 20 per cent of the global demand for bioplastics.
Prior to the creation of Biofase, all biopolymer products had to be imported from other countries into Mexico. Biofase, through its patented technology, became the only biopolymers producer company in Mexico. Now Biofase lead the production of biopolymer in Latin America, exporting bioplastic products to more than 19 countries.
Scott Munguía, Biofase founder
Phone: +52 800 999 1183
Problem: Annually, 5 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide and 7 million plastic bags are consumed every minute.70% of them end up in the environment. The one-piece polyethylene shopping bag takes up to 500 years to decompose.
Solution: Solubag is a biodegradable material for the creation of non-polluting that completely dissolve in water in 5 minutes without contamination.
Goals and Objectives: The solution aims to eliminate single-use plastic bags.
Implementation: Roberto Astete and Cristian Olivares, founders of Chilean start-up Solubag developed the solution in 2014.
Solubags uses limestone instead of oil by-products. It has zero environmental impact compared to other alternatives like oxo-biodegradable bags, which are still made of polyethylene and break into small pieces of toxic plastic.
The chemical formula of Solubags contains polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), a material found by Astete and Olivares while analysing biodegradable detergent capsules.
Solubag’s raw material can be extruded in any plastic extrusion machine, which allows it to be scaled very fast.
Achievements: The solution is recognized as the best innovation in Latin America, a prize awarded at the Summit Conference held in March 2018 in Chile.
The innovation is expected to be widely accepted in Chile, where a ban on plastic bags in large businesses came into force in February 2019. Solubag currently produces in China and is considering installing a factory in Tomé, Chile.