The World Green Building Council’s Regional Networks are incredibly important as they empower Green Building Councils and accelerate market transformation within specific regions. Being Chair of the Americas Regional Networking is a huge honor. Despite the challenges arising from different scenarios of development and priorities across the continent, we can easily identify a strong sense of collaboration between all GBCs across the Americas, from Canada to Argentina, and this collaboration is a key element for any transformative movement based on sustainability.
The Americas are home to ancient civilizations, entrepreneurs and innovators, and communities of dazzling diversity. Yet North, Central, and South America all share the risks that come with growing cities, climate change and resource scarcity. And all recognise that buildings offer a key opportunity to address problems, mitigate risk and improve communities.
North America has the most advanced green building market, with predictions that by 2018 green building in the US will account for more than one third of the entire construction sector. In Canada, green building already represents almost a quarter of the construction workforce. Commercial, manufacturing, hospitality, retail and government sectors continue to drive market uptake of green building, while leveraging green building for schools and affordable housing remains a social priority.
Central and South America have smaller but active green building markets. This region is one of the most urbanised parts of the world, with 80 per cent of people living in cities or urban areas. By 2025, these cities will see more than 20 per cent growth, and be home to over 315 million people. Implementing green building practices will be crucial to ensuring a high quality of life for those who live, work and play in these cities.
Through the Americas Regional Network, GBCs are working with enthusiasm and consistency to accelerate the development of new topics in North America, and to anticipate the introduction of those topics in South America and the Caribbean.
Reflecting on the purpose of our work and our achievements to date, I feel blessed to be able to contribute to the Americas Regional Network’s development efforts. More than that, meeting and collaborating with green building leaders from the region, who are actively changing the global construction industry, gives me confidence that I am helping to build the pathway toward an equitable, healthy and prosperous future.
Executive Director of Green Building Council Brasil and Chair of the Americas Regional Network
After graduating from college, Andrés Prera worked in a sustainable architecture firm in St Louis, Missouri. In 2003, he became one of the first in Latin America to gain LEED AP credentials. Upon his return to Guatemala, Andrés co-founded 1/2 Ambiente Arquitectura (Environment Architecture) with Julio Alvarado, another architect and friend from university. The firm specialised in green design and sustainable consulting, working with LEED.
Since 2004, Andrés has worked to promote and provoke change in the building industry towards a sustainable future for the country and the region, now working in several countries (Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica). In 2006, Andrés earned his Masters of Urban Management degree from the Technical University in Berlin.
In 2010, 1/2 Ambiente Arquitectura got a small group of professionals from different sectors in the industry together and founded the Guatemala Green Building Council, and Andrés became the first and current president of the Guatemala GBC. The organisation has grown each year at a fast pace, and is looking towards becoming an Established GBC in the short term.
Andres Prera, Born in Guatemala City. LEED AP BD+C, Master of Science Urban Management, Architect.