Sustainable construction in Colombia - an eclectic approach to European and U.S. regulatory tendencies

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The Ministry of Environment, Housing and Development (MAVD) has approved a proposal to award the Colombian Environmental Label (Sello Ambiental Colombiano - SAC) for sustainable construction. The initiative is innovative amongst Latin American countries, as the existing regulatory instruments provide for energy efficiency in buildings, in products and in processes, but do not regulate construction sustainability as a whole. Interestingly, the proposal seems to approach the topic from two international regulatory perspectives: on the one hand, the existing Colombian environmental label resembles European eco-labelling, like the EU Flower, the German Blue Angel or the Nordic White Swan; and on the other hand, sustainable construction in Colombia would be assessed according to parameters provided by the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Although attractive, the SAC for sustainable construction proposal deserves further consideration, since different approaches might lead to incompatible effects.

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