Affordable Housing (AH) is deemed affordable depending on family’s income and particular country’s housing status. AH can address all three dimensions of sustainability and it can influence 13 goals set in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) out of 17 goals directly and indirectly (United Nations, 2014). SDGs are designed as action-oriented goal in 2012 to realize 8 Millennium Development Goals set in the year back in 2000. It is envisaged that AH would result in financial and social inclusion of Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and Low Income Group (LIG). AH can offer them an opportunity to prosper economically and to enjoy basic urban services (Sen, 1998). It will address the Goal 11 of SDGs i.e. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
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In the classical triangular model of sustainability, the 3-Es (Economic development, Environmental protection, and social Equity), are given equal weight (Campbell 1996). However, in climate change research related to the built environment—the sector of the economy that contributes most to GHG emissions—social equity is rarely considered (Oden 2010). In the context of the built environment, equity is typically understood to mean the provision of housing for the poor by government, and is generally perceived as a social issue separate from the more technical problems of designing low-entropy buildings. In technical terms, equity is generally placed outside the system boundaries of sustainable building technology (Odum 1994 ), creating a large gap between the science and social policy of climate change in the built environment.
Being thus marginalized by building science, housing the poor is viewed by society as an unfortunate, yet necessary, public entitlement required to keep the poor from becoming
further burdens (either through unemployment, ill-health or political unrest) to the more affluent citizens who pay taxes (Mueller 2013). Research demonstrates this to be a shortsighted and ideological way to understand the opportunities inherent in social equity generally, and social housing in particular (Benner et al 2013).
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Worldwide, buildings consume around 40% of the total primary energy. In the EU, up to 36% of the total CO2 emissions comes from buildings alone and in the Unites States, residential and commercial buildings consume up to 70% of the electricity and 39% of the total primary energy available. Residential and commercial buildings are thus significant consumers of energy and are one of the major producers of GHGs globally. Along with the growing concerns regarding the level of greenhouse gases and the exhaustive use of finite energy resources, initiatives for clean and energy-efficient innovations for buildings are of major urgency for reaching world-wide targets set for sustainable energy use and increasing the quality of life. One of the solutions which can increase the energy efficiency of any country is buildings with a low energy demand, such as passive houses.
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