Financing sustainable housing for all: The EcoCasa Programme

Grosvenor is proud to sponsor the Ashden Award for International Sustainable Buildings. This year's winners were EcoCasa and this is their story.

12th June 2015

Yesterday, The EcoCasa Programme won at the Ashden International Awards, the world’s leading green energy awards. 

Since 2013, the Mexican development bank Sociedad Hipotecaria Federal (SHF) in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the German Development Bank (KfW) have been running the EcoCasa Programme, which aims to promote cost effective energy efficient building concepts amongst the housing sector, with a particular focus on low-income housing. The Programme has been achieved through multilateral partnership and attractive incentives for public-private sector co-operation, which have enabled the development of technical and financial mechanisms to strengthen sustainable housing as public policy support framework. The Programme is proving to be a creative and inspiring approach to addressing the housing deficit, environmental degradation, and the lack of access to home financing for Mexico’s lower-income families.


ATLAS detached houses in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico. EcoCasa measures: beam and vault in roofs, shading in windows.

Setting the scene

The EcoCasa Programme is in response to a number of factors: Mexico’s year-round climate features higher temperatures and lower rainfall; the global financial standstill impacted house building and resulted in constrained access to liquidity and credit. In addition, the residential building sector is responsible for approximately 17% of Mexico’s total energy consumption, and Mexico’s housing deficit accounts for approximately 9.6 million homes. This deficit, combined with a population that is expected to grow significantly towards 2030, means that there is a growing need for new housing solutions.

At the moment, there is a lack of incentives (supply and demand) for more efficient houses. There is therefore an opportunity to improve standards of energy efficiency in the sector as well as a big responsibility for authorities to tackle these issues.


VINTE detached houses in Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico. EcoCasa measures: double glazing in PVC frames and electricity monitoring with user friendly displays

The EcoCasa Programme

Following the Mexican government’s aim to create the world’s first Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) in the housing sector, SHF designed and implemented The EcoCasa Programme in partnership with KfW and the IDB.

In 2013, after the collapse of Mexico’s key developers, SHF decided to embark on a completely new house-building strategy and finance developers directly through syndicated loans (as a first-tier bank via trust fund). With The EcoCasa Programme, developers receive a low-interest loan and gain skills and experience towards achieving better and more sustainable urban design. In other words, SHF became a sustainable development catalyst for the sector.

In doing this, SHF played a critical role in supporting a federal objective to deliver more sustainable housing and urban development.


PAQUIME flats in Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico. EcoCasa measures: adobe blocks (local material) and fans

What has been achieved?

The EcoCasa Programme is a remarkable achievement for SHF and its partners. To date, more than 9,000 EcoCasa homes have been built and more than 4,000 are under construction. The first phase of the development has resulted in estimated carbon reduction emissions of 300,000 tC02e over 40 years. Moreover, this first phase of The EcoCasa Programme has had a positive impact on more than 36,000 Mexicans all over the country.

With funding for more than 27,600 EcoCasa homes and 600 Passive Hause’s, The EcoCasa Programme is helping reduce environmental impact through the promotion of cost effective energy efficient building concepts among the housing sector; improving the quality of life for occupiers; and increasing access to financing for those in need while promoting savings through the efficient use of energy and water.


GADOL flats in Tizayuca, Hidalgo, Mexico. EcoCasa measures: ceramic blocks and solar water heaters.

The future of The EcoCasa Programme

There are many challenges ahead and there are daily barriers for The EcoCasa Programme to overcome that prevent the development of the sustainable housing market. Nevertheless, the initial achievements and anticipated long-term impacts of The EcoCasa Programme arguably outweigh the challenges. All things considered, risk is an essential component of any innovative, large-scale initiative and we are confident that large-scale sustainable housing developments in Mexico are proving to be a successful example of how aligning the interests of public-sector entities with those of private sector developers will and can inspire confidence and set an example of collective action that will drive sustainable housing initiatives elsewhere.

Given all of the above, for SHF and everyone involved in The EcoCasa Programme, winning an Ashden Award is a great privilege and a remarkable achievement. Undoubtedly, this accomplishment will increase The Programme’s outreach, allowing us to encourage similar initiatives by sharing, nationally and internationally, the path we have followed in our quest to improve sustainability within the Mexican social housing sector, while contributing to tackle climate change.

Eventually, in any case, it is clear that there is no single policy or finance instrument than can seize thoroughly each nation’s complex climate change conditions, nevertheless, as the international community gets ready for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December, identifying and streamlining sources of financing for the fight against climate change must be a top priority.

Ernesto Infante Barbosa,
Deputy Director for Multilateral Affairs and Sustainable Housing Market Development Sociedad Hipotecaria Federal (Mexican Development Bank)


For further details on The EcoCasa Programme, please visit their website here:

For Further details on the Ashden International Awards, please visit their website here:


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