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Sustainable Urban Renewal: Energy Efficient Building for Africa (SURE-AFRICA)

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The project aims at strengthening knowledge and its practical application in the field of energy efficiency in buildings and cities, and, ultimately, to reduce poverty. The situation found in the participant countries is representative of many other countries in Africa, with developing economies often scarred by long-term armed conflicts. Building and urban renewal have an urgency that requires a different approach to the incorporation of renewable technologies from that in Europe. It is important to consider energy conservation through passive building design as a proven equivalent to renewable energy power generation. The project will adapt well-established knowledge in this area to the economic and climatic context.Emphasis will be on net demand reduction rather than generation; this approach making less downstream demands for maintenance and replacement, and being more compatible with traditional life-styles. In non-domestic buildings, a high priority will be the avoidance of air-conditioning.


  • Development of a website as a central resource for information and communication.
  • Delivery of training courses and workshops to between 50 to 100 key actors in the academic and professional fields. This should enable the academics attendees to incorporate material relating to sustainable urban regeneration into the curriculum of courses in architecture, engineering and urban design. This should also enable the professional attendees to incorporate the principles of sustainability into on-going and future projects.
  • Production of publications: Best Practice Manuals (one for each African country involved), communications in international and national conferences and seminars, publications in relevant magazines and books. Free copies of the publications will be distributed to academic and state institutions involved in the project. The body of literature on sustainable urban regeneration in the particular context of Africa, will be increased and brought to the appropriate target audiences.
  • Development of long term Afro-European collaboration in joint academic and institutional projects.

Lessons learned

  • The most valuable deliverables were the Seminars, Training Workshops and Conferences, and very importantly the Best-Practice Manuals, which are a pioneer publication in this field of studies.
  • The alternative of applying conventional western technologies often involves very large capital loans and commitment to future maintenance costs and foreign products and expertise.
  • The present project was closely related to the millennium Development goals as defined in the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), held in South Africa in 2002. In many of the main working lines defined by the goals, the building is one of the key parameters that has the potential to redefine the human relations with its environment,

Partners and coordinator

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Instituto de Engenharia Mecanica - Polo IST
Contact point: 
Manuel Correia Guedes
00351 967 732 478 / 00351 21 8418345 /


Key documents

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In brief

01/01/2007 to 30/06/2009
Contract number: 

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