Hot & Humid Climate Challenges for Multifamily Affordable Buildings - Puerto Madero Project (Andrew Straus and Enrique Bueno)

Room 2 • 1:30 – 2:00 PM • Friday, Oct. 19


In tropical countries, hot and humid climate presents different challenges than those the Passive House standard has dealt with so far in heating dominated climates. These challenges, in addition to coping with local building practices for affordability, are what a group of developers are facing designing an affordable multifamily suburban village, 4.5 miles from the Caribbean city of Cartagena, Colombia, one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites. Temperatures of 85F db and RH of 85% are constant throughout the year. Traditional cooling practice is natural ventilation coupled with air conditioning, and conventional building practices do not consider either envelope insulation nor air-sealing of the standard reinforced concrete structures. These practices create the need for high capacity air conditioning systems that cool below the dew point and create mold growth conditions without achieving comfort or humidity mitigation inside the conditioned space.

A complete innovative new design approach was required since the greatest challenge in this climate is air infiltration together with supply of cooled and dehumidified ventilation air. This project will be the first PH project in the country, and probably the first of this magnitude in a tropical climate. Construction was slated to start mid-2018 with 4 six-story buildings, 48 apartments per building, ranging from 635 sqft to 743 sqft per unit, on 42 acres of land with a green building urban approach. This project incorporated innovation in financing, financed in part by crowdfunding.


Andrew Straus is General Partner and founder of Consinfra, a real estate investment firm specializing in real estate development, and redevelopment projects in Latin America. Andrew serves as Vice President of E Plus Buildings, a Passive House Consulting company. He has extensive management and finance experience as Division Manager, Executive Vice President and CFO of the Juval Group, a highly diversified manufacturing and services multinational comprised of 7 wholly owned enterprises and 3 joint venture companies in the aluminum, foundry, mining, steel, cement, construction and infrastructure industries in 5 countries. As CFO Andrew's work included the implementation of financial metrics, cash flow management, investment portfolio allocation, and planning future financial performance with financial forecasts, sensitivity analysis and scenario analysis. Andrew is a PHIUS Passive House Certified Builder and has studied at the Private Equity Institute in New York, holds an Economics and Philosophy degree from Brandeis University, and is alumnus of Harvard Business School. Andrew also completed a post graduate certificate in Real Estate Finance from Middlesex University in the UK and participated in the Generative Leadership ProgramTM(GLP) of the Institute for Generative Leadership. Andrew is active in the community and is on the Board of the Harvard Club of Delaware and the Board of the Harvard Club of Philadelphia.


Enrique Bueno serves as Managing Partner of Consinfra and serves as President of E Plus Buildings. Enrique has extensive engineering and management experience as the President of Juval International, Inc. and CEO of the Juval Group., a highly diversified manufacturing and services company comprised of 7 corporations working throughout Latin America for over 30 years in the steel, cement, mining, and foundry industries. As President and CEO Enrique has led the market expansion into 25 countries and new product lines for the Juval Group of companies involved in expansion projects and the development of new cement plants in several countries of Latin America. Enrique is a PHIUS Passive House Certified Consultant and holds a Chemical Engineering degree from the Universidad Nacional – Colombia. Enrique is a founding member of the Vermont Passive House organization, presently serving as Board’s Chair of the organization.