The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently recognized eight of its 2020 Leadership Award recipients whose work across Latin America has put them at the forefront of green building. These leaders have made significant strides in green building design and construction, waste management solutions, and environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.
In Latin America, there are more than 4,000 LEED projects and over 1,700 active LEED professionals working to transform buildings, cities, and communities. A video produced by the USGBC showcases the eight 2020 Leadership Award recipients that hail from Latin America. These recipients are:
- Centro Cultural Mexiquense Bicentenario
- Grupo Roble
- MP Service Headquarters
- Pepsi World Trade Center
- Plaza Centroamerica
- Raul Berarducci
- Torre Mayor
Centro Cultural Mexiquense Bicentenario is a campus project of the Institute of Mexican Culture, a government group. Located in Texcoco, the campus includes a library, museum, theater, and classroom spaces that are all certified LEED Gold and tracking performance through Arc, an affiliate of USGBC. The project team used LEED to find ways to improve cleaning supplies, paints, and sealants and developed a robust separation and recycling program to reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill. The facilities team used its LEED certification to make the case for ending a contract for individual water bottles and install water purifiers. The multipurpose campus is located in a vulnerable area and brings culture, art, and classes to at-risk residents.
Grupo Roble certified its portfolio of LEED v4.1 projects at the Gold level using Arc in 2019. The commercial real estate group owns a series of shopping malls and office buildings in Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Colombia, and Dominican Republic. The company started pursuing certification through Arc for five projects and certified all five on the same day almost one year later. They have now publicly committed to achieve LEED certification across their entire portfolio of office buildings.
MP Service Headquarters achieved LEED Platinum in December 2019. The building is located in El Salvador, home to a rapidly growing community of LEED projects and professionals. An engineering firm, MP Service, used the renovation of its headquarters as an opportunity to make the building more sustainable. Initially with the goal of achieving LEED certification, the team used Arc to track performance and the data revealed new ways to improve, leading the project to achieve the highest level of certification. Currently, national laws prevent buildings from seeking 100% renewable energy and the company hopes that its headquarters will become a model to inspire policy changes, showing how buildings can harness renewable energy without competing with the interests of energy distribution companies.
Pepsi World Trade Center, located in the heart of Mexico City, receives nearly four million visitors annually. It includes the Pepsi Center, a concert venue, and the Expo Center, a conference hall, and holds the most events in the country each year. The work of a committed owner and facilities team has earned the project three LEED certifications. The Expo Center initially certified LEED Gold in 2013 and in 2019 recertified at the Platinum level. The Pepsi Center achieved LEED Platinum in 2020. Improvements have significantly reduced energy consumption, while a hydraulic system creates more efficient bathroom facilities. It’s located near bus and light rail systems making it easily accessible by public transit. The facility sorts and separates waste, ensuring scraps of paper, carboard, aluminum, plastic, and metal items are taken to recycling or donation centers.
Plaza Centroamerica (shown above) is Nicaragua’s first LEED-certified project and achieved this milestone in 2020 using the LEED v4 BD+C: Core and Shell rating system. Green building is an emerging practice in the country, but the project team was committed to learning how LEED could be a roadmap for creating a healthy, sustainable space. Owner Yugoslav Cuculiza flew his team to Panama to learn how to implement LEED for the project. Yugoslav graduated from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Executive Energy Leadership Program and his class was the first to walk through their net zero LEED Platinum building. Since then, he has increased solar capacity through his renewable energy company, Cuman Energy. Plaza Centroamerica’s certification serves as a symbol of what the country’s building and construction industry can achieve through hard work, determination and a commitment to a more sustainable future.
Prologis believes that a strong ESG strategy is just good business and its been part of the company’s focus since the beginning. In 2019, Prologis, along with seven of its funds, earned Green Stars, the highest recognition of ESG performance from GRESB, known for its rigorous assessment of sustainability performance of real estate companies and funds. It leads the Americas and Asia with #1 2019 GRESB rankings and FIBRA Prologis, the REIT for Prologis in Mexico, ranked #1 in 2018. At the end of 2019, Prologis owned 29 certified LEED spaces in Mexico.
Raul Berarducci is a quiet leader in the green building community. When Lendlease divided into Lendlease and Bovis, Raul was responsible for securing the future of Bovis in Mexico. He chose to make LEED and sustainability a core part of its business. He championed the creation of a Sustainability Environmental Management System for employees to track and monitor a project’s progress toward LEED or to provide insights on sustainability performance. Raul has made measurement, verification, and certification a core part of the way Bovis manages projects. He believes it is his responsibility to be a vocal advocate for social and environmental sustainability and lent his support to the creation of a new green building council in Mexico, SUMe. He uses his platform to promote LEED and advance conversations around improving construction practices, standards and policies.
Torre Mayor achieved LEED Gold in 2013 demonstrating that existing buildings can be improved to meet high sustainability standards. In 2018, the project became the first in Latin America to recertify through Arc using the LEED v4 O+M: Existing Buildings rating system. The project’s use of LEED was a critical part of creating momentum for LEED and green building practices in Mexico. Located in Mexico City, which regularly faces drinking water shortages, the tower supports thousands of visitors every day. Its water treatment plant provides 100% of its water service, reducing the need for potable water. The building can adapt to citywide water cuts and can be self-sufficient during periods of water shortage for up to four days.
The USGBC presented this video to provide a look at the work of this year’s recipients.
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