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Greenbuilding Brasil: A Sustainable Future Relies on Smart Buildings and Collaboration

The 6th-annual Greenbuilding Brasil was just held in São Paulo, and the conference provided a forum for exchanging ideas and best practices that can help improve the country’s cities and ignite greater sustainability. Honeywell attended this year’s event to talk about the future of smart buildings in Brazil, and how high-performing facilities can help the country overcome one of the most serious energy and water crises in its history.
Debra Gondeck-Becker, a construction and LEED-certification specialist from Honeywell, joined Gretchen Sweeney from the U.S. Green Building Council and Centro de Tecnologia de Edificações’s (CTE) Anderson Benite on a panel session to discuss how new technology such as the LEED Dynamic Plaque can make buildings more comfortable and intelligent, and perform with greater efficiency. In addition, the panelists showcased the outcomes of successful LEED projects. For example, Honeywell products and services helped cut energy use in a LEED Gold-rated facility by 27 percent.
The three panelists also highlighted the importance of engaging all stakeholders to advance sustainable buildings. The plaque is an important tool to that end because it provides near-real-time information about a facility’s performance across five categories: energy use, water consumption, waste output, occupant transportation and human experience. This data keeps the charter of building green top of mind, and encourages operators, occupants and visitors to adopt behaviors that maintain or raise the LEED score.
Greenbuilding Brasil also saw several experts speak on sustainable urban planning, including former Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva​. Silva stressed that the country is currently facing a combination of environmental, economic, political and cultural issues that make eco-centric living imperative. According to the former minister, "sustainability is not a way of doing; it is a way of being." Silva also emphasized in her speech that "sustainability is a fight for all and now."
Developing smart, high-performing buildings is becoming a greater priority in Brazil and driven largely by society's demands to use critical resources sparingly. According to the local Green Building Council, there are about a thousand LEED-certified facilities in Brazil and the country ranks fourth in the world in sustainable buildings outside the United States.
However, developing smart facilities alone will not help Brazil overcome its challenges. Felipe Faria, the council’s general director, emphasized that only a strong collaborative network will be able to transform the building industry, and the landscape and future of the country.