In the fall of 2016, the Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México (IBERO) launched its first LEED Lab course within the architecture department. In the course, students assess the performance of existing facilities on campus and choose a building where they facilitate the entire LEED Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M) certification process. This immersive course uses the built environment to educate and prepare students to become green building leaders and sustainability-focused global citizens.
The administrators and instructors at IBERO took a unique approach to the LEED Lab process, proposing to certify a building in their community, rather than on their campus. They chose to work toward certifying Siglum Tower (Torre Siglum), a 39,000-square-meter building consisting of 22 levels above ground and eight levels of underground parking. It is located on Avenida de los Insurgentes in Mexico City and is used daily by the building’s 1,317 occupants.
Grupo Surge, the developer and owner of Torre Siglum, decided to take a chance on the proposal and provided the building for the LEED Lab course. "We are convinced that it is necessary to educate the generations that are going to develop the cities of the country in the future," explained architect Juan Pablo Bostelmann, CEO of Grupo Surge.
The course ran over two semesters, was taught by two instructors and included 10 students in the final year of their undergraduate architecture program. The students formed five teams of two people each to analyze the different LEED categories. For the students, this was an apprenticeship that gave them professional experience with one of the most important sustainable building certification systems in the world.
Siglum Tower achieved LEED Gold certification on June 20, 2017, becoming the largest building in Mexico to obtain this level under LEED v4 O+M.
"My biggest challenge was to face something unknown head-on—mainly because of the size of the building. Knowing that we were the first LEED Lab in Mexico was exciting. For me, it was a very enriching experience, as it brought us closer to sustainable issues and practices in the building. It helped us to see the building from another perspective, and to see how the practices of this building and the environment are related. As an architect and person, it is gratifying to have achieved LEED Gold certification at Torre Siglum, as this helps us reduce damage to the environment, allows us to continue to grow responsibly and aids us in achieving a balance in the architecture profession." —Salma Lahud, student