UTALCA REFURBISHES SOCIAL HOUSING THROUGH INNOVATION

THE PROJECT FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF ENGINEERING SEEKS TO IMPROVE THE THERMAL INSULATION OF A HOUSE, THROUGH THE USE OF RENEWABLE ENERGY AND REUSE OF RESOURCES.



October 11, 2016

Government authorities learned about the details of the improved emergency social house created at the Department of Engineering, using recycled materials. The house possesses thermal insulation, it reuses water to generate a green wall and it has facilities that use renewable energies.

Together with the presentation of this project, held at the Curicó Campus, an agreement was signed between the Ministry of Social Development, the Municipality of Curicó and our University, an alliance that is part of the Habitability Program of the Ministry of Social Development, executed by FOSIS and with the participation of the municipalities, in this case, Curicó.

Minister Marcos Barraza was surprised by the results obtained by the students who carried out the aforementioned initiative. "I'm really impressed. This type of projects is a sample of innovation that supports the work that we do in social protection and which empowers the capabilities of a family. This experience of building a house with low-cost, recyclable insulation generates better quality of life and makes it possible to empower their own well-being," said the government authority.

Barraza furthermore stressed that the agreement is a virtuous crossing between innovation and technology generated by the University with the purposes of his portfolio. "We hope that this can be replicated in other Regions, here we have technology and innovation, with environmental sustainability", he noted.

Prseident Alvaro Rojas highlighted the work of engineering professors and students who participated in the project that promotes sustainability and energy efficiency.

"Here converge innovation and the social sensitivity of our professors and students, looking for shared solutions. The country has a great historical ballast, which is poverty, and everything the social actors such as ministries, municipalities and public universities such as ours do to mitigate this problem is always positive, even more if they have the component of sustainability", he said.

Talents and virtues

For his part, the mayor of Maule, Pablo Meza, emphasized that "there is nothing better than to see in practice a project of social innovation, that is nothing else than putting the talents, virtues and networks to the service of solving people’s problems ".

"With this project, we contribute, from the Regions, to have a more equitable and inclusive country," he said.

The implementation of the initiative, which was originated at the School of Civil Engineering in Civil Works, in conjunction with the “Kipus” Center for Engineering Systems, started after the installation of a shack, delivered by the municipality, at the Curicó Campus. Here, students, mainly from Construction Engineering, began to research how to increase the thermal insulation through the use recycled products.

"When they shack arrived, it was too cold in the interior, then contributing to improve its insulation was very gratifying. We were able to generate an insulating product from vegetable matter, which was a challenge and as a result, we improved the interior space and made it more comfortable", said student Rodrigo Arias.

A Real Problem

"In the academic field, the experience was very positive, because the students were able to address a real problem with social sense and also learn about techniques that can be used in practice and that affect directly the quality of life of the people," said the professor in charge of the project, Maria Luisa del Campo.

 The agreement also includes educational support in the field of sustainability for the families, and specifically for children. This will mean to have workshops and distribution of material consisting of a board game invention called  "Game of Energy", which seeks, in an entertaining way, to publicize issues such as energy efficiency. In addition, the Universidad de Talca will train teachers of public schools in Curicó so that they can develop "teaching kits on energy", which will allow them to build small cars that use solar energy.

The signing ceremony of the agreement and the presentation of the housing improvement work was also attended by beneficiaries of the different social programs of FOSIS and the Municipality of Curicó.



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