Iconic: Sicredi's achievement is an example to other organisations of how the operating efficiency of existing buildings can be improved.
Ground-breaking Brazilian LEED Building Certification
Cooperative financial institution Sicredi which has more than 3.3 million members and operates in 20 states throughout Brazil, has become the country's first organisation and the fourth in Latin America to receive LEED Existing Buildings: Operation & Maintenance, Platinum category certification (LEED EB O&M Platinum).
The level of certification for its Administrative Center (CAS) in Porto Alegre (RS) by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) is reserved for buildings that demonstrate excellence in the adoption of sustainable and efficient management practices and ensures Sicredi surpasses 27 other buildings that have received other levels of certification (including Gold and Silver) in Brasil.
“We committed to the certification project because it aligned perfectly with our sustainability practices by increasing the efficiency and sustainability of the CAS building by reducing energy and water consumption, as well as adding value for Sicredi’s members”, said Banco Cooperativo Sicredi’s Chief Finance Officer (CFO), João Tavares.
“No effort has been spared since we set out to obtain the certification in 2014 which reflects the dedication of our entire workforce and the partners involved in the project”, said Sicredi’s Asset Administration engineer, Dino Soccol, before adding he believes the achievement is "iconic" for Brasil as it demonstrates it is possible to improve the operating efficiency of an existing building by reducing usage of natural resources whilst improving the quality of life and wellbeing of occupants.
In order to adapt Sicredi’s Administrative Center to the required standard, the cooperative financial institution worked with specialised consultancy OTEC whose Development Director David Douek said: "Sicredi is an example of a client that is dedicated and cares about its assets" before describing the LEED EB O&M Platinum certification as "the result of good building-management practices”.
Commenting on the certification, Felipe Faria, Executive Director of Green Building Council Brasil (GBC Brasil) remarked: “Projects like this help to improve the status of the Green Building Council market by demonstrating in a practical manner the importance of energy efficiency in existing buildings for the purpose of complying with targets established at COP 21 in Paris.”
LEED Platinum Certification in Action
The LEED EB O&M Platinum certification process involved continuous monitoring of facilities management practices relating to energy, water and waste management, the indoor and outdoor environments, occupier comfort and wellness, quality management, mobility management, the sustainability of cleaning processes, and purchasing and procurement.
In addition to meeting obligatory requirements relating to natural resource usage and demonstrating compliance with air-recycling requirements, it was also necessary to accumulate points by satisfying non-mandatory criteria as LEED Platinum certification requires at least 80 points on a 110-point scale (Sicredi obtained 88 points which is the best ever achievement by an organisation in Latin America to date).
The Final LEED Scorecard
- Energy efficiency 18 per cent higher than the target, which strategies included the installation of an energy regeneration system for the elevators, retrofit of the artificial lighting system in the parking lot and automation of computers.
Water efficiency close to 50 per cent capable of ensuring the total points in this item, thanks to strategies such as the use of reuse water and rain sensors for irrigation; use of reuse water in restrooms and cooling towers; and adaptation of sanitary ware.
Utilization of cleaning product lines with Green Seal, satisfying toxicity, volatile organic compounds and human health criteria, and utilization of cleaning equipment with low environmental impact and noise.
High utilization percentage of alternative transportation, incentivized through the use of strategies such as the carpool incentive program and implementation of a bicycle parking lot with a photovoltaic roof.
Adoption of heat-island reduction strategies, for both floors and roofs.
Implementation of management procedures in building systems, such as energy audits and continuous commissioning of energy consuming facilities.
Adoption of off-site renewable energy sources.
Landscaping: predominance of native species or adapted to the local habitat and use of low-impact techniques
Waste management: implementation of a waste center, and sending more than 60 per cent of material to recycling or organic waste composting and on-site gardening.
Additionally, several strategies were introduced at a corporate level to allow for the inclusion of Sicredi’s entire staff in the certification process, which included implementation of a signage-based communication programme and the creation of a dedicated, “sensory" space that allowed building occupants to experience the benefits which are associated with sustainable buildings.