What made you switch to sustainability and efficiency construction in your professional career?
The co-generation market boomed in the 90’s as a consequence of a new regulation in Spain, aimed to promote this technology and the renewable energies as well. I joined first a small specialized engineering company in 1992 and then an international group in 1996, which let me develop a comprehensive expertise in different energy effective technologies.
Applications ranged from buildings and infrastructures to different industrial sectors.
Since then, my career followed the latest trends in green building, leading professional teams for implementing energy efficiency and sustainable practices in airports, commercial and residential buildings, SMEs, industries, etc.
What advantages do you think a green building has compared with a normal one?
No doubt that competitiveness is the key benefit derived from a green approach. Some facts support, in my opinion, this statement:
-Green strategies are a clear trend in the real estate market, so any step taken now will improve the position of the asset tomorrow, both in local and international markets.
-Savings embedded in a green prospective directly benefit operation costs, like those related to energy and water consumption, maintenance, waste recycling, etc.
-Several studies and analysis conclude that an improved indoor environmental quality leads to increase the productivity of building occupants, avoiding diseases, thermal or acoustical discomfort, and other complains.
-The possibility of certifying sustainability through third-parties schemes, supports the image and marketing strategy.
-In the middle term, it is very likely that Europe follows USA in tax benefits for green building, avoiding homogeneous burdening for assets that require less public services than standard construction.
Do you think will come the day when all the buildings are Green certified?
I don’t think so. The driving force behind certifying a building is mainly the differentiation from the rest of the portfolio.
Most of the buildings are certified, the most of the stringent , the schemes become, what subsequently outdates old labels.
Besides, the objective is not certification, but assuming green strategies as a standard in building design, construction and operation.
What is the most interesting green building project you have worked on?
I’m the LEED AP for a new construction project in the South of Spain, involving a new air control tower in a military base.
The application of the standard to such a singular building implies a lot of obstacles that require open-minded solutions.
Besides, neither the main contractor nor the subcontractors have experience in LEED projects, therefore training and detailed follow-up are key for success, and that’s rewarding.
On the other hand, I’m involved in a LEEDEBOM certification process for several buildings in the portfolio of a property company.
The change of mind required to assume new green standards in asset management requires an effort from the consultant to provided reasonable recommendations regarding purchasing or waste management policies, cleaning alternatives, energy efficient operation, effective preventive maintenance, etc
Do you think investing money in sustainability for a building will represent a cost or a saving in the Long term?
It will be an important saving for sure. First thinking in energy cost, that increases faster than any other operational aspect, and capitalizes additional investment in the short or medium term. But also considering water cost, maintenance requirements, staff productivity, advanced legal requirements compliance, etc. And this is real for both new and existing buildings, regardless of certification.