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Sustainable building certifications

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Respecting and protecting the environment and the planet is one of the most important goals of modern society. Buildings have an immense direct and indirect impact on the environment. During construction, use, renovation, reuse and demolition, buildings consume energy, water and raw materials, generate waste and emit harmful gases into the atmosphere.

The need to protect and care for the environment and the commitment of all to reduce the impact of construction on the natural environment has led to the creation of various green building standards, certifications and rating systems. These have become a growing area of interest for the built environment and aim to solve environmental and sustainability problems related to energy, water and waste. The fundamental purpose of sustainable buildings is energy efficiency and respect for the environment and the people who live in them. We want you to know what the great variety is and which are the most outstanding in Spain.

What is sustainable construction? 

Sustainable construction uses recyclable and renewable materials in building projects that minimise energy consumption and waste production. 

Sustainable construction does not end with the completion of the building project; the design of the building itself should have a minimal impact on the environment throughout the lifetime of the building. In other words, the building design should incorporate elements and materials with a continuous influence on the environmental impact. These include energy-efficient roof hatches, solar panels, adequate insulation to prevent heat loss and minimising the consumption of grid energy derived from fossil fuels and long-lasting building materials.

Main characteristics of sustainable buildings

Five characteristics are necessary for a building to qualify as sustainable. 

  1. Location: the location of the building must not affect the surrounding ecosystem and nature. On the other hand, public transport should be available in the vicinity to reduce the impact and pollution generated by private vehicles. 
  2. Sustainable materials: sustainable buildings prioritise the usage of sustainable materials in their construction to minimise the negative impact on the environment. 
  3. Design: the design should be innovative, practical and functional, facilitating waste recycling. 
  4. Energy efficiency: the building must meet the required energy efficiency standards and be energy and water-efficient, using renewable energies. 
  5. Life quality: sustainable buildings guarantee the basic needs of their inhabitants, such as water and electricity, and their well-being in terms of environmental conditions. 

Facade and ambience of the new Valley Collection development.

What are sustainable building certifications?

Building certifications and standards for green and sustainable practices have been developed to demonstrate that were used high-level sustainable practices in the creation and operation of the building. Two of the best-known certifications are BREEAM and LEED. However, currently, there are many new sustainable building accreditations, some of which also focus on the health and well-being of the people using the building.

Below, we explain four of the sustainability building certifications in detail. 

BREEAM

Let's start with one of the best-known certifications, BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method). BREEAM is an international programme that recognises buildings and infrastructure projects as sustainable, assessing the environmental performance of buildings in nine different categories taking into account the design and construction of the building, its procurement and operation. Certification is accompanied by a star rating from one to six and a designation of "unrated", "pass", "good", "very good", "excellent", or "outstanding".

You can achieve BREEAM certification for new build, in-use or retrofit projects. To get started, you will need to:

  • Find an approved assessor in your area.
  • Register the project.
  • Assess the project. 
  • Wait for certification.

LEED

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to certify that buildings have achieved specific green building criteria, such as energy savings, water efficiency and reduction of CO2 emissions

The higher the score, the higher the rating, which can be platinum, gold, silver and certified. Like BREEAM, you can award this certification to new buildings and renovations.

WELL

This standard takes a different approach to sustainability in buildings, addressing instead user behaviour, operations management and design factors to determine the impact on the health and well-being of users. Seven concepts are measured: air, water, light, nutrition, wellness, comfort and mind

WELL-certified buildings improve nutrition, wellness, mood, sleep patterns and performance of their inhabitants. You can apply it to any building project; the levels of achievement are silver, gold and platinum. This guide breaks down the full certification. 

VERDE

The VERDE (Reference Building Efficiency Rating) sustainability certificate is a sustainability certificate that measures the environmental, economic and social impact of buildings. The Green Building Council Spain developed the VERDE certificate to promote more sustainable architecture. To obtain this sustainability certificate, the building has to complete the following parameters: site selection, location and project planning, quality of interior space, energy and environment, quality of service, natural resources and socio-economic impact.

There are six levels of VERDE certification; the final assessment is measured in green leaves. The more leaves obtained (from 0 to 5), the higher the commitment to the environment.

Sustainable properties at Fortuny Hogares Únicos

At Fortuny Hogares Únicos, we are committed to the care of our planet and the environment; we are pleased to have in our portfolio properties already certified with some of the most globally recognised seals. 

Among them, we highlight two new developments: 

Valley Collection

is a residential complex with avant-garde architecture in Fuengirola, consisting of small intimate buildings and 224 properties. Here you can obtain more detailed information about the two-bedroom flat in our portfolio. 

In Higuerón South Residences,

architecture and nature merge in a dream project with 164 properties surrounded by native vegetation. At Fortuny Hogares Únicos, we believe it is determined that all homes are committed to caring for and respecting our planet and the living beings that inhabit it. 

"The best legacy we can leave our children is love, knowledge and a planet they can live on".

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