Beginning on January 17th, 2023, Weatherizers Without Borders organized its annual conference, CLAVES 2023 hosted by Community Housing Partners (CHP), in Christiansburg, Virginia. The CLAVES, or the “Latin American Conference on Housing, Energy, and Sustainability” serves as a space for the exchange of public policy programs, case studies, knowledge, and experiences among leading habitat and building science professionals from across the Americas. This was the first iteration of CLAVES that took place in the United States. Within the framework of knowledge exchange, WWB proposes the concepts of “Fair Housing ”, “Weatherization”, and “Sustainable Affordable Homes” to the attending countries and parties in its international forum.

CLAVES Argentina 2023 – Fair Housing

This article presents the activities that took place during the CLAVES 2023 over the three days of its meetings. In chronological order, we share testimonies, presentations, case studies, and photos of the conference’s participants and activities.

The context brought to the foreground during the conference is a housing crisis that affects over 120 million who live in “unfair housing” in Latin America and the Caribbean. According to the IADB, as of 2022, 45% of people in Latin America and the Caribbean do not have a decent place to live and instead reside in unsuitable housing built with precarious materials or without basic amenities; This is the importance of CLAVES and the work of WWB: to share approaches to the qualitative housing deficit in different international contexts. Due to the qualitative housing deficit, WWB places particular emphasis on repairing and improving existing housing structures rather than building new ones, when possible. This approach is more economically feasible and efficient considering the issue at hand is one of quality and not quantity, and does not require the family to move. The best solution to this deficit is the prompt, large-scale implementation of a Latin  American Weatherization Program, `Sustentabilizar Hogares`.

Day One: January 17th

Guest attendees arrived in Washington, DC, and traveled to Christiansburg, Virginia to be greeted at the Community Housing Partners (CHP) training facility. Upon arrival, guests were given a tour of CHP offices and its training center, where the CLAVES opening  sessions took place, led by CHP Vice President, Mark Jackson. Later, guests were presented with visuals and technical tools used during home diagnoses to give an idea of how the home works as a system. Guests were introduced to various home diagnostic tools used in the US, such as blower doors, thermal cameras, and data loggers.

Day Two: January 18th

Guests visited CHP’s inventory warehouse to learn more about how CHP goes about supplying the materials needed for its weatherization projects. Guests learned more about CHP’s supply of fully equipped pick-ups and trucks,

Attendees were then taken on field visits to see two different cases that CHP was working on.

Day Three: January 19th

Guests attended the international case study conference portion of the visit at the university, Virginia Tech, where they were met by building science experts. Virtually, the conference hosted a range of authorities from Ministries of Housing from Latin America. Case studies for sustainable housing and its  necessity were presented by speakers from Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador, and Perú (Names and official positions of everyone). This portion of CLAVES, known as `Public Policy for Fair Housing Inter-American Exchange: Challenges and Initiatives`, demonstrated the contrasting stages of Fair Housing policy development throughout different Latin American countries, including what initiatives have been done so far, and what initiatives are planned for the future.