2016 Fire Awards Winner
Cathal Conaty, Managing Director, International Housing Solutions

In Africa, high perceived costs and uncertainty surrounding the benefits of green technologies, coupled with low awareness, has inhibited the penetration of green technologies in the affordable housing market. For example, solar hot water, which is relatively cheap and cost effective in South Africa is only present in about 1% of affordable homes. Absent consumer demand for green technologies, private finance will not invest in greening homes.

Affordable Green Homes is an initiative led by International Housing Solutions (IHS) to deliver and build demand for green homes in South and Sub-Saharan Africa by proving, measuring and marketing their benefits.

Barriers Addressed

Limited demand due to unclear benefits and perception of high costs
Private finance is waiting until demand is proven
Catalytic and commercial investors haven’t joined forces
No large-scale demonstration projects


Increase the size of an existing private equity fund, and replicating the fund in further countries, blending capital from both catalytic and commercial investors. By taking a lower return, the catalytic investors lower the overall cost of capital of the fund to enable investment in clean technologies to green homes under development without having to lower returns to commercial investors or charge a higher price for the homes. This allows the market to experience the benefits without have to pay for them. The fund manager measures and reports the benefits, and publicizes the results in the wider market to raise awareness and ultimately demand for green technologies in this market.

BNEF On-Stage Pitch