January 22, 2016
At 6 am our alarms sounded to announce the beginning of a long but exciting day. Today was our first day trip to the city of Campana, located at 47 miles from the center of the city of Buenos Aires, to apply the weatherization knowledge we learned in the training. At 7 am, a bus from the municipality of Campana picked us up from the hostel to go to the work site. Around 9 am, we arrived to Campana and met the FOVISEE and WWB team composed of some college students from Buenos Aires and various community volunteers.
Coordinated by Professor Crowder-Taraborelli and Dr. Maggio, we created three teams to work in three different houses:
The first team worked in Jessica’s house, a small, three year old, one-floor residence of built of hollowed bricks and corrugated metal roof sheets. We started auditing the house by asking Jessica questions about the residence and their use of public utilities like water, electricity, and gas. During summer, Jessica told us that the house is extremely hot and excessively humid, while in the winter, it is extremely cold. Some of the issues in the home that were identified was that when there was a rainfall, various walls leaked. We continued by calculating the internal and external temperature of the house as well as the percentage of internal and external humidity. After we finished the audit, we concluded that out of the various potential fixes the house needs, the most important ones were the insulation of the roof to significantly decrease the heat and cold inside the home. Waterproofing the roof and some of the south facing walls with water repellent concrete was also necessary.
The second team conducted an energy audit and retrofit work in Monica’s home. The team identified that there was a lot of water filtration in most of the walls. Such water leakage was caused by rainfall and condensation. The roof in the house is very low; therefore the corrugated metal roof sheets heat even faster the home; thus, the insulation of roof would dramatically increase the home’s livability. Water proofing the home was identified as another key retrofit. WWB had already started some of the work in the home, so the Soka University team assisted them in the installation of fiber glass insulation in the bedroom where all the children of the home slept.
The third team worked in Daniela and Sergio’s house, which was built by her father more than 20 years ago. Although the house is very small, the family of nine includes seven children, and Daniela and Sergio are expecting an 8th child. We performed an energy audit on the home, and discovered many problems with the house, including: the lack of electricity, high humidity, high temperatures, mold, and gas leaks. The biggest problem was humidity in the house. The lack of windows and sunlight fostered growth of mold on the damp walls. Some of the children have encountered health issues that are associated with the house’s condition. To solve these problems, we started by cleaning the house. We cleared out a room that was covered in garbage and clothes. Next, we worked on cleaning and disinfecting the walls, and identifying places to install windows so that the house is better ventilated system. Besides fixing and informing the family of technical problems, one of the key factors of the retrofit was social: communicating the importance of taking better care of their house with the family.
-Written by Anna Casals, Video by Braxton Keo