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EELA – Energy Efficiency in small brick enterprises in Latin America

Win-win for climate and brick producers

The Programme on Energy Efficiency in small brick enterprises in Latin America to Mitigate Climate Change (EELA) helped to mitigate climate change and improve the quality of life of brick makers by encouraging appropriate technology for efficient energy use in brick kilns.


The brick production by artisanal producers mainly is a manual process. Before the EELA programme, they used fuels with high negative impact on the environment. Other problems were that the artisanal producers were not identified by the local authorities and therefore were excluded from public policies, and they had difficulties in obtaining capital, to invest in new technology or tp improve their processes.


Im­proved kilns, air in­jec­tion sys­tems, ma­chin­ery and bet­ter pro­duc­tion prac­tices helped to reduce greenhouse gas (GG) emis­sions. These measures re­duc­ed the fuel re­quired to gen­er­ate the same quan­tity of en­ergy, therewith re­duc­ing de­foresta­tion and air pol­lu­tion. Because of cleaner air, the working conditions for the brick makers and their families improved. On top of that, the reduction of expensed for fuel allowed the brick producers to increase their income.


EELA was implemented in 6 countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru. Besides, specialists from Argentina took part in regional events and conferences.


The programme was funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).



Inclusive Markets Approach

The EELA programme was developed with the Inclusive Markets approach. Under this scheme, the programme facilitated the actors of the brick industry's value chain to strengthen their capabilities and personal skills. Innovative producers were motivated to invest in more efficient technology, and look for new business opportunities. Also, the providers designed new equipment and built sophisticated kilns. The financial sector, also included in the value chain, offered credits to producers in order they acquire equipment to improve their productive processes.



The EELA programme promoted technology alternatives and furthered the dissemination of efficient and innovative products through regional and local market providers, such as:

  • Ventilators: By blowing air into the kiln, ventilators reduce fuel consumption and obtain a complete combustion during the burning process. Fuels are mainly wood, sawdust or other agricultural products.
  • Extruders: This equipment is used during the moulding process of the brick. The brick obtained is  more standardised and the visual perception of the product by the costumer is better.
  • Improved Kilns: The architectural structure of the improved kilns helps to keep fire and warmth longer inside the burning chamber. Moreover, the bricks of these kilns look more uniform, which allows the producers to charge a higher price.



Public Policies

Before the interventions of the EELA programme, the majority of the countries did not have any regulation or policy in regards to the brick sector. Incidence in public policies that promote the mitigation of greenhouse gases in the brick and plaster-work sector

  • National policies now address the brick sector issues in environmental control level in all six Project countries. Some countries like Mexico started to do studies in order to plan directives for the brick sector.
  • The Bolivian municipalities of Sipe Sipe, Sacaba and Colcapirhua finished directiv for the brick and plaster-work sector. The city of Chochabamba is made a study of territorial planning.
  • National policies address the brick sector on different levels in four countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico

Model of Economic-Environmental Management

EELA in Bolivia was used as a model of economic-environmental management of energy sources and environmental planning for the brick and plaster-work production to decision makers replicable in other countries. Several studies resulted from this insight in one country, which delivered important information for all project countries, among them five reports about territorial planning and 3 reports about soil recovery.

Moreover, the programme developed a study in Cochabamba on the impact of the artisanal brick and plaster-work production on the health and safety of the producers and as well as the population in the surrounding areas.

Knowledge Exchange

Several events for stakeholders of the EELA programme allowed the exchange of knowledge and best practice. The activities focused on bringing together the artisanal brick producers from different countries with the technology providers. The activities included:

  • Training for brick producers by specialists in brick production
  • Excursions of artisanal brick producers to regions with advanced brick production
  • Organization of international events and seminars like the “International forum of public policies for the brick sector” in Colombia in July 2015
  • Preparation of materials (manuals, demonstrative videos, so on ) for dissemination of technology
  • In total, 143 exchange activities on regional and national level took place
  • 5,875 participants took part in these exchange events 



Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
Hardturmstrasse 123
CH-8005 Zürich

Tel. +41 44 454 17 17
Fax +41 44 454 17 97