Global warming is a phenomenon that today causes great concern worldwide. In recent years, nearly 94% of countries recorded the warmest years in history, increasing the magnitude of the problem.
Following this major problem, many real estate projects and movements have emerged in order to improve the conditions of our environment .
Terms such as environmentalism, sustainable development, and energy saving and efficiency, are some of those covered by the “green” movement. Within this movement there is a real estate approach that considers the design, construction, and operation of spaces for housing, work, public and social order to regulate environmental damage.
These are referred to as “green buildings “
What does it take for a building to be classified as a green building?
Green buildings are aimed at reducing environmental impacts, efficiently use resources (water and energy), and improve the quality of the spaces where people live.
To be classified as “green buildings”, these must achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. This certification is regulated by the United States’ Green Building Council, who stipulates and evaluates the different parameters for certification.
LEED evaluation criteria and rating system for green buildings:
The evaluation criteria used to grant LEED certification is as follows:
- sustainable location
- water use efficiency
- energy and atmosphere
- materials and resources
- indoor environmental quality
- design and construction innovation
The organization also has 4 different levels of certification, which are allocated based on the number of points awarded for the design and construction of the project.
Overall, green buildings can save from 24% to 50% in energy and 40% water. They can also reduce between 33% and 39% of CO2 emissions and 70% solid waste.
In Panama, this type of initiative is supported by national institutions and laws, such as the Ministry of Energy and the Energy Efficiency Act 69. There is also the “Panama Green Building Council ” part of the “World Green Building Council.” The WGBC is a global union of national councils around the world, making it the largest international organization influencing the market for the construction of green buildings.
Panama currently has a total of approximately 94 projects registered for LEED certification, 23 of which are approved and distributed in throughout all levels of certification.
Below we will show some of the projects that show the best performance in each level.
1. City of Knowledge Bedrooms
Currently the first and only project in Panama that achieves LEED Platinum certification, and 4th in Latin America. The certification was awarded in May 2013, after reaching a score of 80 out of 110.
2. US Embassy
In March 2008, a year after its inauguration, the US Embassy in Panama became the first LEED-certified building in the country, and the second American diplomatic enclave in the world to obtain it.
The Embassy currently has the LEED Gold certification. ( 70/110 )
3. Plaza Real Costa del Este
Is the first LEED Gold certified green building in the village of Costa del Este. This corporate building managed to accumulate 64 points, and is positioned between the top 34% of all activities in Panama.
4. MMG Tower
This Morgan & Morgan branch office also has LEED Gold certification with a total of 61 points. This structure stands out thanks to the innovation of its design, obtaining all possible points in this evaluation criteria.
5. Global Business Terminal A
Tower A of Global Business’ business center has LEED Silver certification thanks to the accumulation of 52 points on the scoreboard. This project is one of the latest to be certified, as it was finally approved in June 2015.
Most Panamanians buildings with green qualities are still awaiting certification. Among the registered projects still in the pre- certification process we can mention: the new headquarters of the Electoral Tribunal, Metropolitan School of Panama, City of Knowledge Bedrooms Stage 2, among others.
At the present time, Panama does not occupy the top positions in terms of green buildings with LEED certification, because it is Brazil, Mexico and Chile, who lead the green lists in Latin America. However, as the construction of Panamanian green buildings continues to grow, Panama could soon reach the list of Top 5 green countries in Latin America.