One of the biggest concerns of our modern times is the environmental pollution resulting from human activities, including construction and industry.
Emissions related to building construction has continued to increase considerably each year across the world. Buildings and the construction industry together represent 36% of the end use of energy consumption and buildings themselves represent 39% of total CO2 emissions in the world.
According to the International Energy Agency and the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, building and construction activity are expected to experience unprecedented growth over the next three decades, which implies an enormous amount of energy consumption.
Unfortunately, the industrialization process that has occurred in many countries and territories has only focused on rapid economic development and not considered possible impacts on the environment.
With this, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) has developed strategies to reduce the impact of this development by creating the LEED certification.
LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a certification system for sustainable buildings that has been implemented in the United States since 1998, use which has subsequently extended across the globe, giving it international recognition.
Today LEED certification is used by developers, builders, and governments, and has become the most widely-used system for assessing sustainable buildings in the world with thousands of projects participating in the program.
There are four levels of LEED certification:
Eight categories were established for minimizing environmental impacts, each of which outline prerequisites and credits that count as points towards the overall rating to obtain the desired LEED certification level. Below are the categories and actions for which projects can earn points:
Location and transportation. Incentivize the use of alternative methods of transport (bicycles, hybrid cars, public transportation).
Sustainable sites. Avoids sedimentation and erosion of the external environment, promotes habitat restoration and management of water runoff, among other strategies.
Water efficiency. Optimal use of water, including intake , treatment, reuse, savings, and proper disposal.
Energy and atmosphere. Aimed at optimal energy use, the source of this, and the efficiency of its impact on the community (this category is where the most number of credits can be earned for the overall LEED score).
Materials and resources. Involves employing reused materials and properly managing waste.
Indoor environmental quality. Promotes strategies that impact the health and wellbeing of building occupants, including controlling indoor pollution, maintaining a comfortable temperature, etc.
Continual improvement of strategies implemented.
Regional priority. Promotes the sustainable development of strategies implemented.
Some of the main benefits of LEED assessment include:
Spaces with better conditions to promote health and productivity
Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
Access to federal incentives
Reduction in operating and waste management costs
Increase in the value of assets
Savings in energy and resources
Timely detection of irregularities in systems
Minimum cost overrun
Alignment with business objectives
Mexico is in the top ten countries and regions with the most LEED certified buildings with the USGBC. These include a variety of projects, such as offices, corporate buildings, vertical constructions, and industrial buildings, among others.
The sustainable industry using the LEED methodology started in Mexico in 2012 with the certification of the Tenaris Tamsa Expansion project in the state of Veracruz, which was the first heavy manufacturing project in the world to earn this certification. The project achieved over 21% savings on electricity and over half in water consumption, reducing its carbon emissions by 19%.
The Mexican Association of Industrial Parks (AMPIP) promoted the creation of the Green Industrial Park, distinction which was created in 2013 to acknowledge the actions of industrial parks in Mexico taken to reduce water and energy consumption as well as environmentally-harmful emissions.
To date, there are ten industrial parks across the country that have earned this distinction, with the industrial park Monterrey, American Industries’ Apodaca park proudly being among them.
At the end of 2018, Mexico had over 200 industrial LEED projects both registered and certified.
American Industries Group is in the process of certifying its first LEED project located in Queretaro, in the Aerotech Industrial Park, with the goal of obtaining LEED Gold certification. The building is
235,800 sq. ft. and will be used for the food industry.
Without a doubt, great actions start with small steps and we are all responsible for joining efforts to make a better world.
By Paulina Colomo | Arquitecto Proyectista | American Industries Group®
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