USGBC’s mission is to bring the environmental and human health benefits of green buildings to all, and it is committed to accelerating the adoption of LEED in new and existing markets.
LEED Earth offers certification at no cost to the first Platinum project in any country to certify using the newest version of LEED (v4). It also offers free certification to the first project to be LEED-certified in one of the more than 100 countries where LEED has yet to take root.
The LEED Earth Project Pioneers series spotlights those who have set a new standard of green building leadership in their countries, sharing both the successes achieved and challenges navigated.
Large retail spaces are notorious for being huge energy consumers, and this was not lost on the project team behind Ágora Mall, Santo Domingo’s first LEED-certified building. Minimizing its environmental impact through energy- and water-saving strategies was a key priority for this project.
Ágora Mall was awarded LEED Silver under the Building Design and Construction (BD+C) rating system for Core and Shell. While the mall doesn't control the entire design of the tenants, the achievement highlights the complexity of systems that converge within the building. Its domed roof is a 2,000-square-meter structure made of steel and pneumatic ETFE pillows supported by a lightweight structure. The pillows are filled with low-pressure air for insulation and resistance to wind loads. This helps the building save energy by maximizing sunlight while maintaining thermal control over the space; it also creates a more natural indoor environment, which can directly increase employee productivity and boost visitor moods.
“This certification has a direct impact that goes beyond complying with the requirements of efficient design and construction,” said Dariela Linares of the Landmark Realty Corporation, the owner of Ágora Mall. “Our commitment goes beyond the technical operation of the building.” The mall’s status as a green building also inspires change in people’s lifestyles to raise public awareness about the need to save energy and water and how individual behavior influences our ecological footprint, she added.
The project team also implemented a recycling and waste management plan, which has become an environmental management program with key sustainability indicators that include the treatment, reuse and disposal of potable and wastewater; energy savings; and the correct handling and disposal of hazardous materials.
LEED around the world
Currently, there are 160 countries and territories using LEED. LEED Earth has helped catalyze green building in markets where sustainable building practices are not as prevalent, and is an important first step in steering communities toward a more resilient, healthy and sustainable future.
To date, India, China, Mexico and Canada have certified their first LEED v4 Platinum buildings. Countries that have certified their first LEED building as part of the campaign include Bolivia, Burundi, Croatia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, Honduras, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Myanmar, Pakistan, Serbia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Ukraine and Venezuela..