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Sustainable building: know what it is and what are the competitive advantages

Marina Andrade • 4/8/2022
In general terms, a sustainable building is characterized by minimizing impacts on the environment and contributing to the well-being of people, especially in large urban centers, where it is necessary to mitigate the effects of atmospheric pollution and, in less explored regions, to reduce the impact on biodiversity. Learn more about this set of practices that, in addition to working in favor of sustainability, generates more value and competitive advantage for the building.

What is a sustainable building?

It is a set of sustainable practices, applied in the construction or operation of a building to promote more efficiency and innovation. These are points that seek to improve the operation as a whole, from the construction to the maintenance of these spaces. Here are some of the practices that characterize a sustainable building:

Reduction of water use: both inside and outside the building, enabling the saving of potable water.

Energy efficiency and renewable energy: by controlling and managing energy to identify energy saving opportunities.

Waste management: to quantify and specify the types of waste (both during construction and during the operation of a building) to give the proper final destination, benefiting the maximum amount of waste and consequently diverting it from landfill.

Choice of materials: in order to reduce sources of toxic materials to occupants and nature, such as mercury present in lamps, chemical compounds in paints, glues, adhesives and sealants, for example; using materials that prove their low impact. In addition, there is an incentive for the chain of producers and suppliers to adapt to these sustainable needs.

Green cleaning: reduces chemical, biological and particulate contaminants present in cleaning products used in the operation and maintenance of a building.

• Quality of the internal environment: guaranteeing the quality of the air for the occupants of a building through improvements and maintenance of air conditioning equipment and pipes, for example. In addition to paying attention to air quality practices during construction, in order to generate the least possible impact both for those who work in the construction and for the neighborhood, fauna and flora.

Alternative transport and mobility: encouraging the use of public transport in order to contribute to the reduction of pollution produced by automobiles and prioritizing the location of the building in places with high density so as not to generate an impact in regions that are not yet developed.

• Thinking about the useful life of the building and renovating existing buildings: these are also important practices that help, for example, to reduce resource consumption and waste generation.

Through the practices described and many others identified from the study of the profile of the property, we seek to achieve certain certifications, such as the LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which proves that the building is sustainable, as it meets the certification goals and has the ability to generate less impact on the Planet, and may also fall into the Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum category, depending on the score achieved.

According to Forbes, the USGBC (United States Green Building), creator of the LEED system for classifying green buildings, Brazil currently counts more than 1,500 sustainable constructions, which places the country in 5th position among 180 countries in the world ranking of sustainability. The trend is that in a few years, sustainable buildings will become standard and no longer a differential.
Contrary to popular belief, a building does not necessarily have to be 'born' sustainable. If it has already been built, it can still become a sustainable building, as Marina Andrade, Project Coordinator at Cushman & Wakefield, explains: ''there are buildings built many years ago that have become sustainable buildings, such as the Torre Nations, in São Paulo, which more than 30 years after its construction, relied on our consultancy to adopt sustainability strategies and obtain the LEED O+M Existing Building certification, winning the Silve category of the certification'', he says.

What competitive advantages does a sustainable building bring?

The corporate real estate market has become increasingly innovative. Every year new and imposing buildings appear and the projects surpass themselves day after day in all aspects, especially in relation to architecture and technology.

A sustainable building, in addition to all the benefits to the environment already mentioned, can be a decisive factor when choosing the occupants: ''companies and brands of products or services increasingly seek to position themselves in favor of sustainability, especially with the increased pursuit of ESG goals, so they choose to settle in a location aligned with their values. Even those that do not have sustainable products or services have sought to reduce the impacts generated on the environment.”, reveals Marina.

2020 data released by the USGBC (United States Green Building), creator of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, in Portuguese) system for classifying “green buildings”, show that Brazil ranks 5th among 180 countries in the world ranking of sustainability. Currently, there are more than 1,500 sustainable buildings in the country – 641 already registered and 50 million square meters still in search of the GBC Brazil Condomínio® Certification.

Are you thinking about transforming your building into a sustainable building? Count on the support of Cushman & Wakefield to obtain LEED certification and have a property much more attractive in the eyes of the market. The LEED plaque represents leadership and demonstrates that a building has been designed, built and is operating as intended.
All Cushman & Wakefield projects are developed with care and professionalism by all teams involved to not only meet certification goals, but also have a building operating much more efficiently, as well as a much more valued property.

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