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Aspects of Environmentally Effective Buildings

LEED is a practical assessment system that allows analyzing the environmental safety of a building from several perspectives. For example, in the context of this certification program, the resource efficiency of water, solar energy, and electricity is considered (Nassos and Avlonas 191). Despite a certain number of vulnerabilities, by the third version of this system, most of them were fixed, which made it possible to evaluate architectural structures more objectively. The project in question, a class A office building Reforma 180, was assessed precisely following LEED 3.0. This striking triangular building is located at the intersection of two of the most important avenues in the Mexican capital, an important financial office corridor (Reforma 180). Thus, the building stands out for its location and design, which organically fits into the crossing of two streets and reflects modern design, taking into account environmental needs.

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One of the main features of this building is the high degree of glazing, which gives access to the interior space to plenty of sunlight and panoramic views. The whole design of this building is subordinated to the idea of creating an ample and comfortable space in which there is a lot of air. Thanks to this, there are practically no heavy elements in the structure. Even the existing columns are placed in such a way as to emphasize the overall style. The features described correspond to several LEED 3.0 categories at once: design innovation, interior quality, and sustainability (Nassos and Avlonas 191). Thus, at first glance, this office building is indeed an example of environmental design in many ways.

According to the official structures page on the U.S. Green Building Council, Reforma 180 has reached the highest platinum level. Since to obtain such a level, it is necessary to score at least 80 points out of 110, this is a rather prestigious position. However, the same official page gives research statistics that Reforma 180 scored 84 points (Reforma 180). Thus, this office building barely crossed the platinum threshold, which also needs to be considered. Among the most highly rated categories are sustainability, water efficiency, interior quality, and innovation (Reforma 180). As these categories earn the most points, success in these areas has allowed Reforma 180 to rank so high on the lists to achieve Platinum. At the same time, there may have been some savings on some of the “cheaper” categories in terms of evaluation.

Some of these categories are indeed fulfilled, taking into account all possible requirements and standards. For example, the building received a 10 out of 10 rating for using and recycling water resources. The quality of the interiors is also at a high level, as they are equipped with all the necessary technologies and conditions for comfortable work. However, there are still a few areas where the Reforma 180 concept could be improved. First of all, it is worth noting the use of energy and atmosphere. According to the assessment, the building uses green energy whenever possible; however, only half of the grid optimization has been done (Reforma 180). In addition, there is no renewable energy, which can be seen from the design of the building – there is no place, for example, for solar panels. Insufficient attention has been paid to the design of the building to maximize open space and reduce light pollution.

However, the most underdeveloped category is the use of materials and resources. In this category, the building received only slightly more than half of the points, 7 out of 13, and the strongest shortcoming is the lack of any measures to reuse the building in the future (Reforma 180). This project does not provide any means of increasing the life cycle of the building. While this may not have a significant impact on the environment at the moment, the consequences could be much more significant in the future. Consequently, despite the relatively high praise, the Reforma 180 concept lacks several vital elements to make this building even more efficient in environmental design.

Works Cited

Nassos, George, and Nikos Avlonas. Practical Sustainability Strategies. John Wiley & Sons, 2020.

“Reforma 180.” U.S. Green Building Council, 2017, Web.

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