The local chapter of the World Green Building Council. an international nonprofit organization present in 12 countries around the world, was founded in Chile with the goal of fostering more environmentally friendly construction.
The new office was founded by 14 Chilean companies and institutions: Asociación Chilena de Seguridad (ACHS), Asociación de Oficinas de Arquitectos (AOA), Atika, Colliers, Deloitte, Falabella Retail, Johnson Controls, Kohler, Komatsu, Masisa, Philips, Sodimac, SustentaRSE and Universidad del Desarrollo (UDD).
During the official launch of the Chile Green Building Council, organization member and vice president of the UDD Federico Valdés affirmed that “we are faced with the great challenge of disseminating this trend in Chile, which implies creating public policies and preparing the community to achieve a global transformation of the industry.” The academic added that local companies are increasingly concerned about protecting the environment and providing efficient solutions in energy issues, while users are increasingly demanding more proposals that allow them to live better with lower costs.
In 2010 the organization plans to hold seminars, conferences and workshops to provide the market with expertise and to raise public awareness, in addition to fostering networks to create a community of Chilean experts in sustainable construction. Likewise, they will work to train professionals, establish work commissions to share experiences among companies, and foster research and innovation in the industry.
Initiatives have already been developed in Chile to implement construction and energy systems that are more efficient and sustainable, such as for example the National Energy Commission’s National Energy Efficiency Program (PPEE) and Corfo’s InnovaChile Agency. In addition, this year the UDD began to offer a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Design and Construction, the first of its kind in Chile.
The country also has two emblematic buildings with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, which covers issues like energy efficiency, water use and the materials used. They are the Easter Island Explora Hotel and the Titanium Tower in Santiago. In addition, the Copiapó Homecenter Sodimac store in the Atacama Region is the first LEED-certified retail building in Chile.
Andrés Romero, executive director of the National Energy Efficiency Program, notes that by 2020 Chile will need to double the energy that it consumed in 2008, the majority produced with fossil fuels, which makes it necessary to implement renewable sources of energy. “Energy efficiency contributes to supply security, the efficiency of the system, and to the sustainability of our energy development,” he stated.
“Along these lines – Romero added – the opening of this Chilean chapter will contribute to the country’s success, as a community of leaders who are working to make green buildings and prove that it is not only possible, but economically profitable in the long term.”