The Chilean government and private companies are both looking at ways to construct buildings that leave a smaller carbon footprint by using energy and water saving techniques and selecting environmentally friendly materials.
Already in Chile, Hotel Explora on Easter Island, the Titanium Tower in Santiago and the Copiapó Homecenter Sodimac store in the Atacama region have received the internationally recognized Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the non-profit Green Building Council in the United States. A branch of the Green Building Council was launched in Chile in late 2009.
Now, Chile’s daily newspaper La Tercera reports that by 2011 there should be three new buildings that will receive the certification, including the office of private equities investment company Empresas Transoceánica, which inaugurated its structure last month in Santiago’s Vitacura neighborhood.
The office is 70 percent more energy efficient than other conventional ones and features a geothermal system for air conditioning, central heating and ventilation that also can adjust the temperature of the building based on water temperature readings in a well 90 meters underground.
Others that expect to be certified next year are the offices of Farmacia Cruz Verde in Espacio Riesco and the office tower of Costanera Lyon in Providencia, Santiago.
Green buildings may increase employee work performance by between one and two percent, according to the La Tercera report.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (Minvu) recently signed an agreement with Chile’s Green Building Council that will see future institutional buildings incorporating the LEED certification system or an equivalent one, which will allow them to save up to 30 percent of energy consumption, water and operational costs.