Addressing climate change is one of the main global challenges. In the region, the impact on biodiversity and resource availability will be high, and in this sense, the construction sector has been investing in environmentally sustainable projects. In Latin America, the real estate sector is taking up the challenge by investing in sustainable and environmentally friendly buildings, reducing the consumption of natural resources, using alternative energy sources, as well as designing to maximise thermal and lighting comfort, among others.
In the framework of the Sustainability Week 2023, the International Seminar on Sustainable Buildings and Net Zero was held on 6 and 7 June at the University of the Andes (Universidad de los Andes) in Colombia; a joint effort of the Colombian Sustainable Construction Council (Consejo Colombiano de Construcción Sostenible), the Strengthening Capacities for Energy Efficiency in buildings in Latin America project (CEELA), promoted by the Swiss Cooperation, the International Energy Agency, and the Development Bank of Latin America. The event was a space for high-level discussion about best practices and case studies from different Latin American countries related to sustainable buildings and Net Zero.
During the inauguration, Erick Mayoraz, Ambassador of Switzerland in Colombia, emphasizes “This project, supported by the Swiss cooperation, is focused on capacity strengthening (…) The seminar includes lectures and workshops with the aim of: i) updating information on the development of technical guidelines and policies, ii) seeking ways to expand networks among professionals to share experiences; and iii) knowing the best practices applied and their monitoring to promote evidence-based decision making”. He also reaffirmed Switzerland’s commitment to continue working towards a more sustainable future.
Among other important topics, the agenda of the event included the development of two panels that covered: i) social housing, and ii) the regulatory framework that focused the discussion on the basic instruments of public policy and the challenge of its implementation, focusing on the most important aspects related to the implementation of sustainable construction in social housing, public policy; regulation and standards, the balance when introducing aspects of energy efficiency, more insulating materials, solar energy, better passive designs, etc., with limited funding and budget; as well as aspects related to the balance between quantity and quality of social housing.
It is worth mentioning that the seminar was attended by more than 100 people from Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil, France, and Switzerland, who, together with expert speakers, professionals specialising in design and construction, teachers, students and the general public who connected via streaming, highlighted the importance of working on the development and implementation of the regulatory framework (policies, information and incentives) for energy efficiency in buildings in the region, as well as the exchange of experiences and best practices in the design of solutions that lead to the effective implementation of policies and programmes to accelerate the adoption of energy efficiency, comfort and transition to Net Zero buildings in the region.
The experience and expertise in energy efficiency in sustainable buildings gained in Switzerland over the past 40 years, as well as the SDC’s experience in implementing projects related to climate change management, will be the key resource to capitalise on an accelerated transition to a more sustainable, healthy, and people and planet friendly building sector.
The following links give access the panels and keynote lectures that took place during the two days of the International Seminar: