Discover Clean Tech Features Econsult’s Work on Heat Stress Mitigation for Rural Communities.
“Led by founder and architect Sarah El Battouty, ECOnsult has created a set of standards that individual building projects must reach, plus green guidelines that will be used nationally as part of Hayat Karima, a £24b Egyptian government project to transform more than 4,000 of the country’s rural settlements.
This ‘mega project’ consists of millions of tiny projects, as El Battouty explains: “We encourage the government to consider things at a household level. To really listen to people, to understand their needs. When people think at a smaller scale, then policy shifts happen.”
This involves engaging deeply with diverse voices from within the communities, prioritising the issues that communities most want to see tackled, while offering solutions tailored to the local environment.
El Battouty says: “Our ability to speak in different ‘languages’ to different audiences is a key quality of ECOnsult, and something that helps us bring people and organisations together around a common goal.”
Now, as global temperatures continue to rise, so too will the danger facing marginalised communities, in Egypt, India and closer to home in the UK. “Our bodies are not capable of coping with extreme heat for long amounts of time,” El Battouty says.
She is trying to disrupt the idea that green buildings are expensive and that they require big cities. She goes on to say: “If you get out of cities in Egypt you find climate-resilient success models everywhere around you – we need to tap into the climate resilience of indigenous communities and take inspiration from what they’ve been doing – that includes mud brick houses with wooden ceilings that stay cool in summer and warm in winter.”
That choice of materials is very important, as are the use of shading, vegetation and building orientation to keep temperatures down. With foresight and long-term investment, our homes, workplaces and urban infrastructure can be transformed to minimise the effects of heat stress in an equitable way…if we act now.”