Whether you live in Panama or almost anywhere else in the world, every year you have more possibilities to work in an office located in a “green” building. According to the Global Trends of Sustainable Construction report, in the next 3 years the construction of this type of buildings will double from 18% to 37%. Panama is no exception, as it already has 42 buildings with LEED seal (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design), one of the most widespread certifications in the market.
According to the Executive Director of the Green Building Council (GBC) in Panama, Marta Valderrama, the LEED certification evaluates if projects include aspects related to energy efficiency, the use of alternative energy, the improvement of internal environmental quality, water consumption efficiency, sustainable development of the plot’s free space, as well as an appropriate selection of materials. The GBC is the organization responsible for awarding LEED certification and seals.
There are different certifications that measure the sustainability of all types of buildings worldwide, such as the BREEAM in the United Kingdom, the HQE in France or the EDGE and LEED in the United States. These establish the minimum requirements that must be taken into account in the design, construction and operation of a building for it to be considered of high-performance.
Currently all these certifications are voluntary, although in some countries like the United States, all public institutions’ buildings must be LEED certified.
Panama is implementing regulations and guidelines to regulate the construction of new buildings and the adaptation of existing ones, such as the Sustainable Construction Guide, developed by the National Secretariat of Energy and the Ecoprotocol (Secretaría Nacional de Energía y el Ecoprotocolo), developed by the Panama Green Building Council (GBC) and the Municipality of Panama.
With a total of six buildings and two offices, the City of Knowledge currently has the highest concentration of LEED certifications in the country. Among them are the City of Knowledge Foundation building, the Food Plaza and the Lodging Complex.
Alessa Stabile, the Foundation’s Sustainability Manager, says the biggest challenge is “to integrate all those involved in the team to meet the standards. LEED forces everyone to work together: