Certify is not about fashion

Here we review the different existing certifications for sustainable buildings that are implemented in much of the Latin American territory. LEED largely dominates the private sector.

by Duvan Agudelo Chaverra

The outlook Latin America within the buildings, both vertical and horizontal sector has been changing over the years regarding trends in construction.

Every day many more buildings with advanced technology are observed, while we see how other existing buildings are running major renovations aimed at generating value for the property, and make it more efficient and comfortable for those who visit or live there.

For example, the field of commercial and industrial buildings is one of the most energy consuming, which is why administrators or managers of operations of this kind of constructions are looking for alternative technologies to improve energy consumption, make safer property and turn it into a sustainable space.

Indeed, the word sustainability has been key in recent years, as the concern to build a sustainable building or renovating one built under this guideline continues to grow. As indicated by Pilar Medina, director of institutional management of the Colombian Council of Sustainable Construction, sustainability in terms of building looking aspects such as durability, specification and energy consumption, specification and material consumption, water conservation, recycling and / or reuse, changes habits of individuals and communities.

Colombia, for example, is betting on sustainability and this trend is growing tremendously, as well as the interest of professionals for updating on the subject.

Since March 2010 been working through the Ministry of Environment, Housing and Territorial Development, the Colombian Council of Sustainable Construction and Icontec, called Colombian Environmental Seal for Sustainable Buildings (SAC-ES) which will focus on analyze and recognize issues such as compliance with current legislation, environmental requirements, location, water, energy, air, building materials selection, management and reduction in waste generation, social requirements, economic requirements, life, delivery.

Currently the SAC-ES is in the process of approval as in the case of the version for design non-residential buildings, but since 2011 already has developed some aspect. For the next few years it is expected to be much seal implemented by buildings in Colombia and become a successful alternative to the international certifications currently being implemented in the country.

LEED certification
For example, this certification Leadership in Energy and Design Environmental (LEED - an acronym in English) was it created in 1993 by the American Council for Sustainable Construction (United State Green Building Council - USGBC), it focuses on the recognition performance the building and has versions for new construction, existing, operation and maintenance, commercial interiors shell and core. There is also an additional certification for larger scale developments known as "Neigborhood Development".

The latest report indicates that there 59,211 USGBC certified, registered and LEED neighborhood development worldwide covering 10.600 million square meters project.

The United States has 45.745 commercial LEED projects. A country where commercial buildings represent 38% of all emissions CO2, the 73% of electricity consumption in the US, 13,6% of all drinking water or 15.000 million gallons per year.
According to the USGBC, green buildings use less energy and fewer resources: "The LEED projects recover more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills, and this figure is expected to reach 540 2030 million tonnes".

Internationally, Canada, India, China, UAE and Brazil lead the list of countries with the largest number of projects outside the United States. Canadians currently have projects 4.375, 1.586 follow along with India, China has 1.282 certifications, United Arab 816 and 717 Brazil has certified LEED buildings.

By certification range Commercial facilities, LEED Platinum category has 1.281 projects, Gold Category 7.686, 6.243 Category and Category Silver Certified 3.825.

Other international certifications
LEED addition, other types of seals certifiers in the world that also offer support to buildings that implement sustainable actions.

- The BREEAM: was created by the Building Research UK Establisment in 1990, this year became the first certifying label after the Kyoto Protocol were. BREEAM sets the standard for best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation and has become one of the most complete and recognized measures of environmental performance of a building.

Seeks to encourage designers, customers and other initiatives on low carbon and encourages low impact designs run, minimizing energy demand created by a building before considering technologies in energy efficiency and low carbon.

- The Green Star: Based both LEED and BREEAM, it is one of the best known international certifications in the industry. It was created by the Australian Council for Sustainable Construction. This focused on the design and construction of sustainable buildings and communities.

Green Star has become a global classification system for all kinds of projects, from apartment buildings to schools, university buildings, hospitals, offices, shopping centers and industrial facilities.

- CASBEE: created in the 2002 by the Japan Council for Sustainable Construction, is the Comprehensive Assessment System for Building Environmental Efficiency (CASBEE acronym) that certifies new construction, existing, housing, urban areas, buildings, among others.

- Certification ISO 14000: Born in the year 1996 as an international environmental management standard, this standard focuses on any organization that seeks to reduce impacts on the environment and comply with applicable laws. That is, unlike the certifications mentioned above, this applies not only to buildings but also for all kinds of activities

Some of the benefits of this certification are:
- Waste reduction, and therefore avoid unnecessary costs.
- Reduced consumption of energy and materials.
- It significantly reduces the amount of required documentation.
- Promoting environmental sustainability.
- Improved corporate image to customers and regulatory authorities.

According to the above, it is clear that government authorities as well as a group of major private companies are betting on sustainability and have worked towards that goal. This requires continuing efforts to update and train all professionals to be active participants in these initiatives that are increasingly demanded by users and incidentally make a huge contribution to the environment and the planet in general.


karla Maria Guzman
# karla Maria Guzman 03-09-2014 15:57
Estimated desire contact in mexico for advice and then certification. Thank you
Duvan Chaverra
# Duvan Chaverra 03-09-2014 21:43
Hello Karla,

We recommend that you visit mainly the official site of the certifying body www.usgbc.org/leed
Moreover, in Mexico there are consulting firms that can solve your concerns as CIVITA www.civita.com.mx, Revitalizes Consultants www.revitalizaconsultores.com and services company Teska www.teskacapacitacion.mx.
We hope this information is of your help.
Quoting products and technical services for Latin America

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