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Rural Economic Development Through Building Energy Efficient Houses For Under $3,000

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Global Engineering in an Interconnected World

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1079.1 - 9.1079.9



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Paper Authors

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James Strueber

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract


Rural Economic Development through Building Energy Efficient Houses for Under $3,000

J. STRUEBER, V. Harris, E. Meyer, E. Carter, E. Maweza, M. Matshaya,

Tuskegee University/Tuskegee University/University of Fort Hare/Tuskegee Uni- versity/University of Fort Hare/University of Fort Hare


This paper looks into creating community-based economic development through materials de- velopment and building small energy-efficient housing for the rural areas of the Eastern Province of South Africa. This is a student exchange project between Tuskegee University and the Uni- versity of Fort Hare, Republic of South Africa. With students and faculty visiting both campuses researching materials developing the design and finally assisting in building the demonstration house in Alice.

In 2002, Tuskegee University and the University of Fort Hare were awarded a USAID, ALO grant to provide training in building low-cost energy-efficient housing to provide healthier living conditions in the rural areas of South Africa, which are suffering a severe shortage of affordable, clean, warm, and durable housing. It has been demonstrated that not having clean and vermin- proof housing and safe water are the major contributing factors to the very short life expectancy in developing countries. The intent is to develop a program using the approximately $3,000 South African Government housing grant to create a viable grassroots industry in small-scale building and backyard manufacturing in depressed rural communities while providing appropri- ate affordable comfortable housing. There are many reasons for this lack of suitable housing; these include lack of materials, lack of experience and skills to build the housing, lack of appro- priate and suitable designs, and lack of funds to build the normal modern house.

The housing goal of this project is primarily to develop more appropriate housing and materials that meet the current needs of the people and then to train designers and workmen in the skills necessary to make the materials and to build the housing.

This project has several phases. The first is to build on the base of existing methods and materi- als and to develop building uses for currently unused and underutilized materials (such as, but not limited to, using coal ash to build lightweight insulated building blocks and more effective and durable application of the indigenous mud construction) and to design a small energy- efficient house that is acceptable to the intended user. The second phase is to develop and dem- Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Strueber, J. (2004, June), Rural Economic Development Through Building Energy Efficient Houses For Under $3,000 Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13363

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