Sustainable Certifications in Mexico

By Susana Castillo and Susana Treviño

BEA 347


Undoubtedly, more and more companies are taking care of their goods and services so that they do not harm the environment. Becoming a "green" or "pro-ecology" organization has become a key strategy to be competitive today.

Placing seals and sustainable certifications has great benefits for any sector at an international level, not only for the prestige that the certificate has, but also for the actions that come with the realization of the project.

At SiiLA we monitor commercial properties in the main cities of the country and closely follow each of them and their actions to place certifications or seals. Follow us on our networks to get the latest news about the Mexican commercial real estate sector.

Real estate certifications are programs that are being standardized worldwide, during 2008 the Building Certification program was established in Mexico and its intention is to demonstrate the importance of sustainability that is related to environmental, economic and social issues in the development of buildings, offices, schools and other real estate complexes.

The International Business Center of Ciudad Juarez in Chihuahua is the first LEED-certified building in Mexico. It is a commercial office building and was awarded this certification in 2005, with the LEED BD+C Building Design and Construction Rating using LEED Version 2.1.

The following are the most well-known certifications in the industry and some that have recently made their way into the market.

- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, better known as LEED: Certification catalogued as one of the most important for sustainable buildings worldwide, it was designed in 1998 in the United States. It covers the good use of renewable energies in the building, as well as the quality of the indoor environment, sustainable use of water and the selection of materials.

It is the most widely used green building certification program in the world with 96,275 registered and certified projects in more than 167 countries and territories. It was created by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), which serves as a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainability in the design, construction and operation of buildings in the United States.

Each project is rated out of 110 points, and LEED awards Platinum, Gold, Silver and Certified certifications, depending on its value. According to Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), in Mexico there are 531 projects already certified, equivalent to 11 million square meters of gross rentable area, among them, the BBVA Tower in CDMX with Platinum Certification, the Reforma Latino Tower in CDMX with Gold Certification, the Centrum Park Building A in EDOMEX with Silver Certification and finally, the IOS Offices Miyana complex in CDMX as LEED Certified.

- WELL Building Standard: System based on the measurement, monitoring and certification of the performance of the built environment that impacts on health and human wellbeing through seven fundamental concepts: water, air, nutrition, lighting, physical wellbeing, comfort and mind.

The maximum score is 110 points consisting of a combined score of 100 points for optimizations and 10 points for innovation. The levels are Silver, Gold and Platinum. This organization is accredited to perform Performance Verification in partnership with the Instituto Tecnológico de Galicia (ITG).

In Mexico, the first building to obtain the WELL Building Standard Silver Certification was "BEA347", the Bioconstruction and Alternative Energy office, located in Nuevo León, which was also the first building in Latin America to obtain LEED Construction and LEED Platinum certifications in operations.

- Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies EDGE: Evaluation designed for new construction, available in more than 125 developing economies, including Mexico.

EDGE certification provides a solution: capitalize on the value of green buildings by promoting the benefits to customers while protecting the environment.

Currently, KAANA apartments in Cancun Quintana Roo, have had this certification since May 5, 2017.

- Net Zero Energy Building, also known by its acronym, NZEB: Certification included in the Living Building Challenge created by the International Living Future Institute, but can be achieved independently. Buildings that undergo this certification seek exceptional energy conservation and meet 100% of their electricity, heating and cooling needs through on-site renewable energy production.

It has the following categories LEED Zero Carbon as Torre Reforma in CDMX, LEED Zero Energy as Beijing Hanergy Clean Energy Exhibition Center in China, LEED Zero Water as Torre KOI in Nuevo Leon and LEED Zero Waste as Edificio Dos Patios in CDMX.

Among other global certifications, we can find:

- EarthCheck: Leading global organization in consulting and sustainable certification for the tourism and hospitality industry. It has five levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Master.

Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, also known by its acronym BREEAM: Method of environmental assessment and qualification of the construction of a building focused on the life cycle of its materials.

- Parksmart: A worldwide certification system designed to advance sustainable mobility through smarter design and operation of parking structures.

It is certified by the USGBC. Points are awarded to parking structures for sustainable and forward-thinking practices in three categories: management, programs, and technology structure design. In addition, Parksmart is an internationally recognized distinction for those who choose to invest in sustainable mobility.

- Passiv Haus: From Germany, it is based on construction guidelines that integrate high thermal insulation, rigorous infiltration control, and maximum indoor air quality, as well as taking advantage of the sun's energy for better air conditioning, reducing energy consumption by 70% (compared to conventional constructions).

It has the EnerPHit and PHI Low Energy Building Standard categories for buildings that do not fully comply with the criteria.

- Green Star: Certification developed in 2003 and is located mainly in Australia, whose main objective is to transform the design of buildings to maintain a lower performance in the face of climate change.

The Melbourne School of Design was the first project to obtain the maximum Green Star score of 6 stars, becoming a global example of sustainable and committed architecture.

Torre BBVA

Paseo de la Reforma, CDMX