Voluntary building certification schemes in São Paulo: Strengthening the LEED certification process for existing buildings

University essay from Lunds universitet/Internationella miljöinstitutet

Abstract: The building sector is one that can be accounted for numerous impacts on the environment, both by extremely high consumption of resources, and by emitting green house gases to the atmosphere on a large scale. Retrofitting existing buildings tackles energetic and emission related issues and one way to go about such projects is through the process of high-performance building certification, within which the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) scheme is establishing itself as the trend to follow. Although LEED certification is now a worldwide common practice, its regional adaptation is still debatable and the opportunity to further strengthen the voluntary scheme is then possible. LEED’s adaptation to the Brazilian reality is already an undergoing process, nevertheless only at the criteria level, thus leaving unattended the entire application process and tools that follow. As such, for this study a research structure was developed, which has its pillars on the perception that retrofitting project owners/managers have on different decision-making factors, the four tiers – Operations & Maintenance, Productivity, Corporate Image, Environment & Economy. Through this approach it is possible to identify areas in which LEED’s application process can be strengthened, in the Brazilian context, as well as allowing two distinct projects – one LEED certified and one unregistered – to come side-by-side in order to identify similarities between them. From the performed analysis it was possibly to identify several issues. Amongst them is the fact that between two distinct projects, the perception of the proposed aspects is relatively the same. Additionally, from the analysis of the available voluntary schemes it was possible to identify tools and processes that hold the potential to have a positive impact on LEED projects, both on project itself and on the overall certification scheme. At the same time, in regard to the unregistered project, it is concluded that there is room for taking in procedures from the available certification systems in order to consolidate practices.

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