Buildings impact our environment on a scale we may not be completely aware of.
They actively contribute to our surroundings’ deterioration, not just the buildings per se, but the process required to erect them. In fact, 39% of global carbon emissions related to energy use are attributed to buildings, 28% to their operation, and 11% to the construction process.
For this reason, the whole process of creating this long-lasting physical structure that will live within a community is no easy task to dismiss. In the past, being sustainable was often seen as a supplementary action. Now, the world needs it, there shouldn’t be another choice.
But, going sustainable is not a simple effort. It requires a reformation regarding how the buildings are designed and how businesses operate. As a result, it can add cost and bring unforeseeable challenges. So, the question is: is sustainable construction possible in Mexico this 2022? In this blog, we will explain the country’s current situation regarding green initiatives, the external aids available, and the valid certifications in Mexico.
Sustainable construction in Mexico
The country has potential for energy efficiency, but it’s not there quite yet. In one instance, contractors still have room for improvement in their construction processes, and in another, Mexico has abundant energy resources that are not being harnessed.
To fully exploit the country’s potential, the general public and the private sector must disclose the problem and create awareness about the solutions. Those being through laws, incentives, subsidies or financial aids, guidelines and recommendations.
Since 2008, the Mexican government has been looking to improve sustainable legislation. This year, CONUEE, the National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy, was created. Its main goal is to promote the use of sustainable energy and act as a technical advisor in the matter. Although this is the main government branch, since then, many private and public institutions that support this cause have been created.
2 years later, they made one of the most substantial efforts in favor of clean energy use with the 2013 Energy Reform.
Later, in 2015 Mexico assumed an unconditional commitment with the UNO to fight climate change by reducing 36% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Furthermore, Mexico’s General Climate Change Law established a goal of cutting GHG emissions by 50% by 2050. One of the essential activities to execute it, is to encourage the development of sustainable buildings.
Although many of these green energy initiatives could be updated as a result of the current adjustments to a power related law.
Sustainable Construction Norms in Mexico
Although there are no laws defining how to build sustainably, there are established guidelines that construction companies can follow for the sustainable design and construction of their projects. There are norms that its main purpose is to look for the project’s integrity within the natural and urban environment, considering the comfort of those who will live there.
On the other hand, there are norms for the tourism sector. They specify how to develop sustainable hotels, focusing on energy reduction. In fact, this standard was made considering the possibility to reduce CO₂ emissions by up to 24.8 thousand tons per year.
Financial Aids Available For Sustainable Construction In Mexico
In 2016, the Mexico City government issued its first green bond. In 2018, it issued the second for $1.1 billion Mexican Pesos (approximately $55 million USD), where 25% was allocated to finance sustainable construction projects, including child development centers and different energy efficiency initiatives.
Through the innovation of financial instruments, Mexico’s private sector is seeking to promote the growth of sustainable and green related projects throughout the country.
Valid sustainable construction certifications in Mexico
Mexico has presented itself as a regional leader in sustainable construction. It is the country with the second most LEED-certified buildings in the region and is among the top 10 worldwide. Currently, these are the most popular certifications:
- Climate Bonds: This certification is related to energy consumption. It seeks to generate buildings that emit low or close to zero CO2.
- LEED: The building must have minimal impact on its ecosystem, by reducing water consumption, using renewable energy, and having used recycled materials.
- EDGE Certification: For this certification, the project must comply with at least one of the following savings: 20% on water consumption, 20% on energy, or 20% on energy embodied in materials.
- Living Building Challenge: These types of buildings are free of toxic chemicals and reduce their energy consumption.
- BOMA Best: This one covers areas such as energy management, air quality, water use, safety, comfort, waste management, among others.
As an example, Torre Mayor in Mexico City reduced its operating costs and increased its value, after obtaining the gold certification of sustainable construction Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
Green building effects are reflected in the environment and the improvement of human health throughout the building’s life cycle, through the efficient use of energy, materials, water, and other resources. Additionally, we must also take into account that sustainable construction will benefit us in the long term. The initial investment is higher, but it pays off in the long run.
However, the ultimate reason for doing all of this is clear. Construction has a significant impact on the environment. Our world’s health and the quality of life of future generations depend on the actions we take today. Sustainability is not something supplementary or trendy, but necessary.
Our responsibility as a society is to promote them. In the end, it is our duty to take care of the world we live in. We are the ones that can push sustainable practices across every industry. We are the ones that can push for the creation of more external aids.
Right now, the country is cooperating. Through the innovation of financial instruments and private institutions, Mexico is seeking to promote the growth of the construction sector in the country. The actions we make today will impact the future. So, yes. It’s a good time to take action and start thinking about our future.
Hermosillo for sustainable construction
Our design and construction sustainability approach is intended to protect the environment during all phases of the project. Hermosillo has experience working under LEED directives, with projects such as Caterpillar’s facility in Nuevo León or Greatbach Medical in Tijuana, which have obtained GOLD and SILVER LEED Certifications, respectively. We have a total of 4,987,454 SQF of LEED Certified constructions under our belt.
We continuously strive to reduce our construction’s environmental footprint, contributing to building a better world for future generations. This commitment includes use of best design practices that deliver the most modern, energy efficient buildings to our clients.