In this week’s interview of the week, Lourdes Salinas, Director General of THREE Environmental Consulting spoke to Mexico Infrastructure & Sustainability Review about LEED, sustainability and how to change developers’ mindsets about the burdens of incorporating sustainable building techniques into their constructions.
Mexico’s mindset regarding sustainability is changing for the better but there are still gray areas as developers come to grips with just what it means to create a sustainable project. “Sustainability can be seen simply as a label that one can place on a building or as a marketing strategy,” says Lourdes Salinas, Director General of THREE Environmental Consulting. “On the other hand, if carried out in the right way, with the right studies and analysis, it will give developers greater added value and a return on their investment.”
THREE Environmental Consulting’s goal is to support developers in the creation of projects that focus on the most cost-effective strategies within sustainability consulting and LEED certification. “THREE Environmental Consulting carries out a series of numerical studies using computer programs to precisely measure the results each sustainability or architectural strategy would generate,” Salinas explains. “It is important that any strategy implemented is not simply aesthetic or subjective, but that it actually has numbers to back up the investment. When developers see these results, that is when sustainability stops being a trend and becomes a replicable investment strategy.”
One size does not necessarily fit all, which is why it is crucial to carry out the proper studies before implementing a strategy. “Not all sectors or projects are the same and it is our job to be creative and find the unique characteristics that can increase the value of each product,” Salinas says. She stresses the importance of not only taking into consideration the space and environment, but also the habits of the people that will inhabit that space. “Developing best-fit solutions for residential real estate is far more complex due to the variety of uses the space can have, as opposed to commercial real estate, which tends to have standardized schedules and uses.”
THREE Environmental Consulting has experience working on commercial and residential real estate, which includes many corporate, housing and mixed-use projects in Monterrey and other cities across Mexico and the US. Salinas identifies Monterrey as a city that is experiencing a strong push forward in sustainability. Urban projects such as Distrito Tec, which is being carried out by ITESM, push for the construction of sustainable buildings and bolster the involvement of communities in infrastructure projects to generate greater value.
Salinas says one of the toughest sectors in Mexico’s real estate is social housing due to restricted budgets, specifications and locations. THREE Environmental Consulting has participated in research alongside the Association of Companies for Energy Savings in Construction (AEAEE), where together they studied 14 cities with high population growth and different bioclimatic characteristics to identify the best ways to increase comfort and reduce energy consumption in social housing.
This is an exclusive of the 2018 edition of Mexico Infrastructure & Sustainability Review. If you want to get all the information, plus other relevant insights regarding this industry, pre-order your copy of Mexico Infrastructure & Sustainability Review 2019 or access the digital copy of the 2018 edition.