Energy Efficiency Day: Green Building Trend in Latam

Every 5th of march we celebrate the international Energy Efficiency Day to raise awareness of the rational use of energy.

The Woman Post | Catalina Mejía

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This initiative was born in 1998 in Austria during the first International Conference of Energy Efficiency, with the objective of creating consciousness in every single human being of the need to lower the consumption of energy by means of a more rational and sustainable use.

Promoting energy efficiency does not mean lowering our living standard or letting go of the comfort of modern life and technology, by diminishing the energy we use every day. It means creating incentives for optimizing the consumption of energy and preferring renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels, it means encouraging responsible consumption patterns and recycling. Latin America has great examples of green buildings or sustainable buildings, defined as those that by means of their design, construction or operation, mitigate or eliminate negative impacts on the environment or bring about positive effects on our environment and on climate change.

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As claimed by the World Green Building Council, some of the characteristics that can make a building green are the use of renewable energy sources, efficient use of energy and water, implementation of methods to reduce waste and pollution, clean indoor air, use of non-toxic and ethical materials, environmentally friendly design and construction, consideration of the quality of life of occupants and a design that is adaptable to an environment that is constantly changing. According to the results of the Dodge Data and Analytics World Green Building Trends 2018, SmartMarket Report, global green building activity continues to rise with significant increases expects in the next three years.

Some of the environmental advantages of green buildings from a global perspective are: the significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the emission reduction potential can be up to 84 gigatonnes of CO2 by 2050 and the World Building Council has stated that the building sector can make energy saving of 50% or more in 2050, thus limiting global temperature rises to 2 °C. According to National Geographic, use up to 25% less energy than ordinary ones and 11% less water.

The good news for Latin America is that there has been an increase in sustainable construction. Today, the USGBC reports more than 500 projects in the certification process in Latin America. Even though the LEED certification system for sustainable buildings has recently been implemented in Latin America, it has been operating worldwide since 1998 and there is a growing interest for the construction sector in our region to obtain LEED certifications.

According to the offical numbers of USGBC (US Green Building Council) that evaluates and awards LEED certifications with a pre established system based in points, today there are 69 certified constructions in Latin America, two of them which are considered in the upper category (PLATINUM). However, what draws more attention is the great number of edifications that are now in the process of certification.

In the whole continent, there are approximately 571 buildings in process of obtaining environmentally friendly construction systems, less energy and water consumption, and more comfort for occupants. Two projects that have obtained the maximum number of points for LEED in Latin America are El Dorado Business Tower in Brazil and Oficinas Bioconstruccion Mexico.

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