How Colombia is Building Green


Above: Medellin

By Dana Niland
CJ Contributor

Colombia has embarked on a significant new green building initiative.

The plan to promote efficiency in water and energy use in new buildings is now receiving praise abroad, from both the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

The new construction degree in the Caribbean Basin country was announced in June by Housing Minister Luis Felipe Hanao Cardona, and calls for a balanced used of resources in new building projects, leading to 15 percent in water and energy use saving for commercial buildings and a ten percent increase for residential buildings during the first phase of the program, which officially begins June 2016.

The measure, which has received support through the Colombian Association of Construction Firms (CAMACOL), is among the first in the region to ensure that its regulations are practically applicable by the construction sector.

“By making a commitment to transition toward sustainable or low-carbon development, Colombia is one of the pioneers of the region,” said Cardona.

Colombia is a member of AILAC, a coalition of developing nations striving to lower carbon emissions in order to mitigate climate change and promote sustainable development, practices which they believe offer opportunities for growth and the prevention of natural disasters and weather events.

“The importance of this decree lies in the fact that the measures adopted will have an impact on the environment and the quality of life of citizens,” said Kristtian Rada, head of the IFC Latin American cities program. “The inclusion of different energy and water savings measures, as a country strategy, paves the way for mitigating the impact of climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the construction sector. This will help promote sustainable cities in Colombia.”