Green Building and Sustainable CertificationsBy Lorenzo Núñez | Wed, 09/01/2021 - 16:12
Q: How has Mexico’s adoption of global standards for air conditioning, heating, ventilation and electromechanical installations changed after the pandemic?
A: The importance of sustainability in infrastructure cannot be understated. Buildings consume vast amounts of energy during their entire lifetime and here in Mexico, buildings tend to have a 40-year life span. For the most part, these buildings are poorly designed, meaning that their energy costs are way too high. In addition, in Mexico there are not many preventive measures built into the design, meaning that if a part of the air conditioning system breaks, then everything must be replaced.
At IACSA & Associates, we approach the design from a holistic point of view. We have established three main pillars for sustainability: economic, social and environmental. Focusing on only one pillar will result in an ineffective system. You may have an environmentally friendly installation but you may hurt your users. We tackle all three using ASHRAE, which is the global standard for air conditioning systems.
ASHRAE systems limit the amount of energy you use for the system, while also having rooms properly set up with air filters, temperature, extraction and insertion of new air currents, as well as air quality. IACSA introduced these standards to Mexico well over 30 years ago. Since then, all HVAC systems have been designed under those standards. This provided us a really big advantage during the pandemic because these standards are now becoming the new norm.
At IACSA & TIC we are always seeking to improve the HVAC systems with designs to maximize efficiency and reduce initial and operating costs. However, since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been concerned about human well-being, ensuring the user´s health through strategies that allow confidence and provide a sense of security and relief by offering high quality air, filtered with MERV - HEPA and ultraviolet light.
Q: What are the main benefits of an efficient HVAC system?
A: Cost reduction in an overall life-span system. Very high filtration systems, air quality and additional exterior performance, energy-reduction, and low-contaminants indoor environments for better and healthier interiors.
Q: Why should companies trust IACSA to meet these standards and develop HVAC projects?
A: IACSA has been a leader in the HVAC design for more than 30 years in the Mexican construction industry and we have worked for the most stringent and cutting-edge clients and companies. This has also been a real opportunity for us to improve ourselves and lead the sustainability movement through the most advanced and energy-efficient certification rating systems, being pioneers by certifying the first LEED Platinum Building in Latin America and continue this ever-evolving role in sustainable performance through LEED, WELL, ARC, and EDGE building certifications.
Q: What are the benefits of IACSA’s energy simulations?
A: There are many benefits to having an energy modeling analysis in the very early stages of the design process of a project. Nevertheless, the one that is most attractive to our clients is that all the output from these different building settings result in many interesting scenarios, where our clients have more accurate options to choose from. They can either choose a much more efficient glazing and slab system to reduce the costs and maintenance of the HVAC and lighting system or decide where to invest more in terms of architectural and engineer points of view. All of these options are completely adjustable and can vary according to each project´s specific requirements, minimizing the over-cost when the systems and building is already in construction or operating. By doing this at an early stage of design, decisions encourage real efficiency and money-savings that are highly appreciated by both stakeholders and shareholders in every project.
Q: What do LEED, WELL and EDGE certifications mean for clients?
The design, construction, and regular operation of buildings with an international, science-based, and innovative rating system like any of these will help to ensure a more environmentally responsible, more socially equitable and more cost-saving project from the beginning. These certifications base their constant knowledge and highly efficient technologies to make buildings places where people are healthier, more productive, and feel much more comfortable than in a conventional place. They guarantee the continuous improvement and ongoing operation and maintenance in order to extend the entire-building lifespan. We are sure to know that any client or company has made the best investment of all: caring about their human capital.