2021 Year in Review: GBCI in Latin America
As so many have said, 2021 was a difficult year filled with hardship and disappointment, but we also saw incredible resiliency and recovery and reasons for optimism.
The GBCI Latin America team, Rebeca Ortiz in Mexico, Maria Alexandra Cardona in Colombia, and Sandrino Beltrane in Brazil, plus our friends and partners at GBCs and member organizations across the region have achieved so much in the last year despite so many challenges.
Here are the highlights for 2021:
New Project Numbers
- Over 300 new projects registered for LEED in 2021.
- 220 projects achieved LEED certification in 2021, bringing our regional total for to over 2,400 certified projects representing over 42,000,000 square meters of space. The top countries for LEED certification are Brazil, Mexico, and Costa Rica which together account for 70% of annual certified projects for the region.
- 940 projects reporting data in the Arc platform keeping Latin America in second place for the third year in a row (right behind the U.S. and Canada markets).
- 2 TRUE certifications for projects in Ecuador and Mexico that are certified as zero waste facilities.
- GBCI certified 211 projects for EDGE in the region. The top countries for EDGE for GBCI certified projects are Peru, Ecuador, and Argentina which together account for 73% of the annual certified projects for the region.
New Professional Credentials & Education
- 139 new LEED Green Associate credentials
- 61 new LEED AP credentials (BD+C, ID+C, O+M, and ND)
- 8 TRUE Advisors in 5 countries
- 30 new WELL APs
- 7 new Green Raters in 7 countries
- 1 new SITES AP
- Over 30 hours of continuing education provided in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
We celebrated our 2021 Leadership Awards winners from Mexico to Chile in June. To see the video recognizing Falabella Retail, De Paola & Panasolo Sociedade de Advogados, Colegio Rochester, Universidad de Monterrey, Vivero Parque Residencial, Grupo Madero, Maraey, and Juan Francisco Sifontes, check out our leadership awards video on YouTube. In partnership with El Salvador GBC, we also recorded a special webinar featuring the award winners in Spanish.
We celebrated female leadership in sustainability in Latin America in GBCI’s most popular blog post of the year: Women in Green – Rising Stars in Latin America.
Virtual Conferences & Events
We were proud to support the inaugural USGBC Live event and hear from colleagues and experts across Latin America on technical projects in Brazil, Peru, and Mexico plus a keynote speech from Costa Rica’s Dr. Monica Araya.
A small but enthusiastic delegation came to Greenbuild San Diego to experience the show live and bring back the best of Greenbuild to the Latin American LEED community.
Latin American projects in Colombia and Brazil were recognized in the first annual LEED for Cities and Communities Recognition Event in December 2021.
Together with USGBC’s advocacy team and U4CA, we supported the participation of Daniela Balaguera Villafaña, a mestizo Arhuaca from Colombia and an environmental and social activist at the COP 26 meetings in Glasgow. To hear more about her experience at COP 26 check out the video interview she did with GBCI’s Maria Alex Cardona.
In Mexico, GBCI produced the second year of our series, LEED Innovators with support from SUMe, that reached over 400 professionals. The complete collection of nine case studies and interviews are available on SUMe’s YouTube channel and the new GBCI en español channel. We were also proud to partner with Inmobiliare Magazine and AMEFIBRA, Mexico’s REIT Association, to present a special discussion on ESG and LEED for Mexican REITs.
With our partners at CCCS in Colombia, GBCI was a part of the third year of the Encuentros por la Sostentabilidad with leaders of the Colombian green building market. Together, we produced a series of nine events plus participation in five of the CCCS-led series, Viernes de Soluciones Sostenibles, that reached over 1,000 professionals. Construverde, Colombia’s largest conference on green building, celebrated its 12th year. The virtual event attracted over 10,000 participants from 16 countries, featured 42 speakers (including USGBC/GBCI staff and technical committee members). With GBCI support, over 100 newcomers to green building in 14 countries in Latin America received a full scholarship to attend the event.
We were delighted to be a part of CICS with our new partners at Costa Rica GBC. Their 8th annual congress in May was made free to the public by their generous sponsors and reached over 621 people in 27 nations around the world. USGBC and GBCI presented on LEED Zero, LEED certification system updates from v2009 to v4 and v4.1, trends in sustainability in higher education, advocacy, and much more.
At El Salvador GBC’s annual congress, we were honored to present on circular economy and data-driven green buildings as well as to support a very inspirational first-ever Women in Green event. TRUE Advisors from Chile GBC led a TRUE workshop in Spanish.
We celebrated the re-branding and re-launch of the green building council of Peru, GBCpe with their virtual event as well as technical training for members on LEED and Arc.
It was a joy to welcome CEES to the green building community as the council for Ecuador this year and to spend time working with them toward the registration of the first LEED Lab project in Ecuador.
In November we joined GBC Brasil for the region’s largest, all virtual week-long green building event, Greenbuilding Brasil. GBCI was proud to be a part of 10 of the education sessions offered this year.
Research, Technical Trainings & Translations
- We were delighted to release The Business Case for LEED in Latin America prepared by CCCS with support from SUMe and the community of LEED professionals
- Chileans focus on putting education into action with the launch of a new free guide to sustainable landscapes from Chile’s Ministry of Housing and Urbanism and Chile Green Building Council.
- LEED for Cities and Communities: Plan & Design Guide was translated into Spanish by members of the USGBC Faculty and launched as a resource in 2021
- The Arc Re-Entry Guide was published in Spanish – a great tool for facility mangers seeking to make office spaces better during the pandemic.
- We shared the region-specific highlights and key takeaways from the 2021 World Green Buildings Trends report.
- We produced a video to guide new exam takers on what to expect from the new virtual LEED exams with a panel discussion from recent exam takers.
- With CCCS, GBCI completed the first year of training and partnership with ACE Colombia, the national association of retail malls. Over the last year we have conducted education and outreach to over 180 malls and provided in-depth training to teams from over 36 malls on LEED v4.1 O+M and Arc.
Looking forward to 2022
Good things are on the horizon for 2022. The team is focused on celebrating green building leaders, supporting our partners, and supporting market transformation from LEED Zero certifications to getting projects on the path to decarbonization with Arc.
We will focus on LEED, ESG, and Taxonomy as major market drivers. Real Estate Investment Trusts are placing greater emphasis on ESG reporting goals with a growing opportunity to include comprehensive green building policies and certifications as key element of demonstrating action and outcomes. Multiple national governments in the region have announced a new green financing taxonomy, or classification of building assets and activities, to align efforts for climate change mitigation and adaptation with national goals. Green financing, bonds, and greater lending related to these taxonomies will spur greater growth for the green building market from Mexico to Chile.