‘Climate change offers huge investment opportunity in housing sector’
KARACHI: The housing deficit in Pakistan is approximately 12 million homes and an estimated market size for affordable housing was reported to be $165 billion in 2020, which is expected to grow to $537 billion by 2050, a moot was told on Friday.
The shortage of houses brings an ample opportunity for green builders and the government to intervene and develop climate-smart housing value chain and encourage further the sector activity as it has some ramifications, according to Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, chairperson of Karandaaz.
“The climate-smart units are cheaper to build and buy, and the recurring and maintenance costs are lower than that of a traditional home. To this end, it is very encouraging to see the presence of builders that have come up with creative solutions for green housing units,” she said speaking to a webinar held by Karandaaz Pakistan to launch a study on potential of climate-smart, low-income housing.
Sobiah Becker, senior climate change advisor of the UK’s FCDO, said residential energy consumption in Pakistan accounts for 40 percent of the total energy consumption of the country.
“By making housing climate-smart, not only will there be a positive climate outcome but also an opportunity to address energy poverty brought on by rising cost of heating and cooling for commercial and residential buildings,” she said.
Becker emphasised that climate risk is a reality and no country would be spared the negative impacts of further global temperature increases.
Waqas ul Hasan, CEO Karandaaz, said collaboration was a key for making the much-needed disruptive impact in the market and transition towards climate-smartness.
The level of collaboration would require a proactive engagement of the development agencies, private sector, state government agencies, municipalities (local urban bodies) and academia with each other, he added.
“Karandaaz is contributing to the climate effort through a two-tiered approach mobilising climate finance in the SME space and supporting innovative, climate-smart solutions through knowledge building and providing concessional finance,” Hasan said.
Arif Hasan, an architect and urban planner, said, “The most obvious climate change event in Pakistan has been the recent flooding.
The main cause was consistent rain and though we cannot do anything about rain changing its course, lessons can be learned.”
He continued to say that a very important aspect in the flood-hit rural areas would be the choice of a location for reconstruction.
“It has to be in a location where this is a disposal point for water, and any hindrances to reach the disposal point need to be removed. Another important issue in reconstruction is the high cost involved in building conventional housing such as that of cement and steel,” he said.
According to Karandaaz, between 2000 and 2019, Pakistan was found to rank eighth amongst the top ten countries most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change. The vulnerability became starkly evident earlier this year, as one-third of the country was flooded as a result of unprecedented rainfall and glacier melt.
The webinar also saw presentations from climate-smart, low-cost housing solution providers, namely Modulus Tech, Ansar Management Company, Base-Bahay Foundation Inc (Philippines) and Balochistan Rural Support Programme. The entities presented their designs for affordable, climate-smart housing. It also served as a platform to help build linkages between, financiers, regulators, and developers.
With an ever-increasing frequency of severe climate-related events, depleting energy resources, and a population growth rate that far outpaces the provision of housing, the webinar was arranged as a platform to help bring together a wide set of stakeholders, including architects, urban planners, financiers and funding providers, etc. to discuss the country’s housing needs.
Published in The News 19 Nov 2023