Circular Cities in Latin America: study highlights new sustainable urban development projects

Circular Cities in Latin America: study highlights new sustainable urban development projects

Given the need to promote good socio-environmental practices, the Center for Innovation in Cities of the Faculty of Architecture of the Universidad del Desarrollo (UDD) of Chile and Enel joined forces to design a reference framework in this area for cities in Latin America and Caribbean.

The proposal suggests 16 steps for local governments to move from linear models to circularity, improving the quality of life of its inhabitants and facing the current climate challenge. How to start? The key is to focus on developing a vision, characterizing the city’s circular economy and establishing governance.

Since last year, Enel Distribución has been implementing the first project to manufacture concrete poles with recycled aggregates. The initiative contemplates the production of 500 poles in different points of its concession area, with the same capacity and durability as the traditional ones, and it is estimated that it will avoid the final disposal of 5 thousand tons of concrete per year, reducing the consumption of materials virgins from quarries and rivers.

Along these lines, there are already many projects in different cities and capitals of the region that contribute to the implementation of circular initiatives, favoring a more sustainable production and consumption model. The signing of the Declaration of Circular Cities of Latin America and the Caribbean in 2021 precisely reflected this phenomenon, bringing together different actors from urban centers that recognize the urgency of the environmental crisis and commit to a set of measures to move towards a transition urban with a view to sustainability.

How to move faster towards this new sustainable paradigm? Enel and the Center for Cities Innovation of the Faculty of Architecture of the Universidad del Desarrollo (UDD) came together to propose a reference framework for the signatory cities of the Declaration of Circular Cities of Latin America and the Caribbean, oriented so that each one can carry out a diagnosis of its progress and review cases of good practices.

It is a document that proposes 16 concrete steps and different lines of work to advance towards urban circularity divided into three stages: defining an approach, designing a strategy and executing actions. In addition, it highlights success stories implemented in Quillota, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Bogotá, Lima and Mexico City, among other urban centers.

“We are proud to be able to present the results of this new study on circularity. We know that working together is key to achieving a balance between progress and the health of the planet. In the search for solutions and calls to action, we all play a role: companies, to integrate sustainability at a strategic level, authorities, to promote public policies that encourage this new form of development, academia to achieve a shared vision that allow us to get closer to concrete results”,aimFabrizio Barderi, general manager of Enel Chile.

The initial stage to approach urban circularity, according to the study, is a focus phase, which translates into the formulation of initial agreements to ensure an inclusive process, the construction of teams and governance, the survey of existing initiatives, the contracting of possible studies that allow analyzing the context and the elaboration of a shared vision identifying objectives and goals in the medium and long term.

“We know that cities are the physical systems that we have developed as a society to inhabit the planet. But we have spent centuries, since the Industrial Revolution, generating a large number of innovations, with results that have had a direct impact on nature. Circularity is a characteristic of all natural systems. We have the task of moving forward creating technologies in line with that original principle, which allow us to redefine our way of working”,comment Francisca Astaburuaga, director of the Center for Innovation in Cities of the UDD Faculty of Architecture and Art.

The document and the 16 steps proposed to advance in terms of sustainable urban development are now available for consultation and download at Its objective is to promote a circular economy scheme, based on renewable materials and energy inputs, extending the life of goods, sharing and closing cycles, always with a view to creating a shared vision of the city that places quality of life at the center. people’s lives and caring for the planet for sustainable development.


Enel X Way presents projects that have been promoting Sustainable Transport in Peru

Enel X Way presents projects that have been promoting Sustainable Transport in Peru

Lima, May 10, 2023.- Enel X Way, the Enel Group’s global business line dedicated exclusively to electric mobility, presented the range of projects it has been working on in Peru to promote electromobility. Within the framework of the “Sustainable Transport” event, Alex Ascón, General Manager of Enel X Way presented “The present and Enel X Way’s commitment to electric mobility”, highlighting comprehensive services such as charging as a service and spot sales, and how They are being implemented in different sectors of the country.

“Our goal is to cover the entire coast with chargers in a year and a half, which will totally change the vision of electric mobility in the country,” said Alex Ascón, General Manager of Enel X Way Peru. For this, the commitment of different sectors in the country is necessary, the executive mentioned.

It was highlighted that the company is in the process of building the first recharging yard for 100% electric trucks for its client DP World.

Among other projects presented, the installation of two new chargers for electric vehicles at the BBVA headquarters located in San Isidro stood out. This is a milestone for the banking and electricity sector, since it is the first financial entity in Peru to have this technology in its facilities. The installed construction consists of two 7.4 kilowatt (KW) WayBox chargers, which have a type 2 input cable included. This allows a 50% recharge to be obtained in at least 2 and a half hours.

Regarding the 360° Charging as a Service solutions, the agreement signed between Enel X Way and the concessionaire of road network 4, AUNOR (Autopista del Norte), for the installation of the first fast electric charging network in the Panamericana Norte, which will connect the cities of Lima and Trujillo. The electrical charging network will have 19 chargers, among which are 5 WayPump chargers of 60kw, which will allow charging 80% of the battery of the AUNOR vehicle fleet in approximately 40-45mins, and 100% in approximately 1 hour. . Likewise, 14 WayBox chargers will be implemented that will allow a battery to be charged to 100% in a range of approximately 5 to 7 hours; which will allow supplying 14 vehicles.

Likewise, the recharging solution that Enel X Way offers to the Condestable mining company was highlighted: a 150K Fast-charger, a charger that facilitates the use of an electric truck of 40 gross tons – 25 net tons, for an underground mining operation, reaching to avoid more than 54 tons of CO2 per year.

Alex Ascón also highlighted that among the long-term projects are the recharging hubs, which involve the implementation of infrastructure, chargers and financing.

These and other projects that the company has been working on seek to continue promoting electric mobility in Peru, with the aim of achieving the energy transition in a sector as important as transportation.

Sustainable mobility

Sustainable mobility

The way we mobilize is changing. Around the world, new initiatives emerge every day that open the space to innovative, more sustainable forms of transport, which contribute to improving the air quality of our cities, contributing to caring for the environment, and therefore improving the quality of life. of people. It is estimated that by 2020 the demand for buses will dominate the market globally, even the most ambitious reports dare to think that by 2040, 80% of the world fleet of municipal buses will be electric, or at least so. reflects the most recent study by BNEF (Bloomberg New Energy Finance).


Bogotá has not been oblivious to this reality. As companies of the Enel Colombia Group, with the purpose of making our capital a smart city, which is a benchmark in Latin America, we have created, developed and implemented initiatives that allow cleaner and healthier mobility. An example of this is the 100% electric Articulated Bus that we have put into circulation in the city, a pilot plan that has been possible to carry out thanks to the joint support of the Bogotá Mayor’s Office and Transmilenio. This is undoubtedly one of the great advances in terms of electrical sustainability in Colombia since it is not only the first of its kind in the world, but it also generates a significant impact in improving the environment and the quality of the city ​​air: to date, in its more than 260 days of operation, it has stopped producing around 84 tons of CO2. (figures from June 2018).

We are convinced that electric mobility is the alternative that will allow us to advance in improving the quality of life in our cities. This motivated us to implement the first pilot plan of 40 completely electric taxis in 2014, being up to now the largest public transport fleet in all of Latin America. For these taxis, there are 4 charging stations with 34 connection points with an installed capacity to serve 308 vehicles per day, this in order to be able to satisfy the demand as electric taxis increase.

But this example that we have been giving is not limited exclusively to public transport, in favor of cleaner mobility, in the city of Bogotá more and more electric vehicles move, and in order to be able to satisfy the demand, we as Group companies At Enel Colombia, we have been working to provide an increasingly better service to the city, delivering more than 15 charging points, which are sustainable electrical installations.

In the second half of this year, together with Bicycle Capital, Supermercados Carulla and the sponsorship of Scotiabank Colpatria, we launched the electric bicycle sharing program called BiciCo, in which through a mobile application people can rent electric bicycles for move around the city.


As a company we think that we must be an example of responsibility, which is why, motivating our employees to be the main ambassadors of sustainable mobility, we launched the ECOCAR program, with which 20 of our collaborators had access to the acquisition of a Renault electric vehicle, which has allowed them to significantly improve their quality of life, reducing CO2 emissions in the city, and offering them the possibility of moving freely around the city, at the time they wish.

In this same sense, we have wanted to impact the workers of our companies in their entirety, for which we have started the MoverNos program. With this initiative we seek to generate transportation habits that are friendly to the environment, health, and mobility in the city, which is why the program invites the employees of our companies to use a shared car or taxi, bike, or walk to commute from home to office.

In the same way, we have managed to continue the E bike to work program for more than seven years, where we have a fleet of 48 electric bicycles that have benefited more than 300 employees of the organization, totaling more than 11,600 trips. The positive learning from this experience prompted us to implement this shared bike concept externally.


Bioclimatic architecture and the houses of the future

Bioclimatic architecture and the houses of the future

About 36% of the planet’s energy consumption occurs in the construction sector. Buildings are also responsible for 40% of the total CO2 emissions that are emitted in the world according to data from the International Energy Agency (IRENA). It is for this reason that the energy transition urgently needs to accelerate the building model to one that promotes sustainable and carbon-neutral infrastructures. This construction model is called bioclimatic architecture and its projects are a fundamental piece to stop climate change. In this article we are going to learn about the importance of this type of building.

One of the keys to bioclimatic architecture is solar energy, so installing solar panels in your home or business is one of the most important steps towards the energy transition and the use of renewable energies.

What is bioclimatic architecture?

We understand by bioclimatic architecture the building construction that has been designed taking into account the weather of the place, reducing its environmental impact, taking advantage of local resources and with the maximum energy efficiency possible.

Its main characteristics are the use of elements that adapt to the environment, of local construction materials (the zero kilometer), just like an eco-friendly design including trees and/or plants, that is to say, that it does not make the construction stand out against natural elements. Therefore, it is a “green” architecture, which also differs from the so-called “sustainable” because it requires a detailed climate study unlike the latter.

The principles of this typology of architecture, therefore, are weather and location, the energy efficiency, that includes solar gain and insulation to minimize the loss of thermal comfort, and the naturally regulated ventilation. All these principles have the same objective; achieve that, without resorting to mechanical and/or electrical equipment, and the house will self-regulate your temperature for comfort. To do this, it seeks to make the most of the natural resources and so reduce electricity consumption, which otherwise can come from solar panels. Thermal isolation is achieved with hermetic closures on windows and doors, the same ones that will be part of the cross ventilation, a way of making the air in the installation renew constantly and naturally, improving the climatic conditions of its interior.

Although it seems like a modern trend, the origin of this way of building dates back to antiquity. In the 5th century BC, the philosopher Socrates was the first to anticipate how houses should be designed like that, with a text stating that “it is more pleasant to have the house cool in summer and warm in winter”. From this statement, it began the defense of building houses considering the incidence of the sun. Later, it was the Roman Empire which broke down what were the principles of bioclimatic architecture that would be used throughout its territory.

How does a bioclimatic home work?

Bioclimatic architecture contemplates the type of climate and adapts the spaces of the building to it.

First of all, in cold weather, larger spaces should face south and have the largest possible glazed area, which allows the passage of light to heat the environment.

Second, in hot climates, architecture seeks to minimize the number of rooms facing south and with less light, so that the shade cools the rooms.

Vegetation plays a fundamental role.Trees and plants outside the building will create a microclimate which, in turn, will provide an environment of nature. All this allows bioclimatic buildings to provide total comfort in terms of thermal sensations and environment with nature.

What materials are used and how is the wind harnessed?

Bioclimatic buildings are built with natural materials such as bamboo, wood, earth or stone, among others, and with processed materials such as polystyrene, a thermoplastic polymer with very good thermal insulation properties.

Apart from this type of materials, we must not forget the role of plants, as we have seen in the lines above. Strategically placed, they can help protect from the cold of the winter wind or offer shade in summer. Besides, control erosion and beautify the place.

Natural cross ventilation is the application that will help to take advantage of the wind. From two openings in the same space and with opposite or adjacent walls, the air will be able to flow naturally. This ventilation is extremely important to cool rooms in summer or in very hot places, since it will reduce the average temperature of the room helping to improve thermal comfort.

Knowing that the hottest air currents come from the southern orientations of the houses, as well as the fact that hot air tends to rise, to take advantage of natural cross ventilation it is important to install windows and doors on the south façade, since it is there from where the hot air will be extracted from the interior of the home. In the same way, outside air must enter through the windows located to the north of the house.

Bioclimatic urbanism and the house of the future  

Once the principles of bioclimatic architecture are understood, we can intuit what bioclimatic urban planning is. Is about rational and integral planning of a territory in which the constructions of houses and buildings will form a design consistent with the principles of bioclimatic architecture. That is to say, a comfortable environment at the thermal level and pleasant at the level of environmental impact, in which all the buildings have been designed considering the fundamental factors of the climate, such as temperature, humidity, wind and any other associated with it.

The trend is that, in the near future, more and more buildings will be built under these principles, both private and public. To this day, the commitment to this bioclimatic urbanism is evident on the part of numerous city councils, which seek to increase the “green areas” and the construction of public buildings with high levels of energy efficiency, solar panels and even cross ventilation when possible.

The “house of the future”, therefore, will be the one that considers all these principles that we have seen in this article.

  1. Cross ventilation and thermal insulation, so maximum efficiency is achieved to maintain the interior temperature.
  2. Renewable energy, especially solar energy with photovoltaic panels and type systems like aerotermia, for example.
  3. Correct construction orientation to make the most of the available daylight hours, minimizing the need to use artificial light.
  4. Construction with the maximum possible natural materials, recycled and zero proximity.
  5. Installation of exterior elements that help, with shadows, to maintain the temperature. They can be awnings, blinds, pergolas, cornices, etc.
  6. Paint the building with colors that match. The light ones will reflect the light and make the rooms larger and cooler, while the dark ones will absorb the heat, increasing the temperature of the room. Similarly, the exterior can be painted with colors that fit with the environment.
  7. Having “green” spaces, whether they are terraces, gardens or windows with plants. The vegetation creates a natural ecosystem, protects from heat and increases the feeling of comfort.

Bioclimatic architecture is increasingly more present among us. It is part of the energy transition, given that to alleviate the effects of climate change we must minimize greenhouse gas emissions and the water footprint of our homes and buildings.