Meet the Dominican Republic’s greenest mall
Photo courtesy of USGBC
Welcome to Ágora Mall, the first LEED-certified building in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The building was certified under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Earth program, according to the organization.
LEED Earth offers certification at no cost to the first platinum project in any country to certify using the newest version of LEED (v4). It also offers free certification to the first project to be LEED-certified in one of the more than 100 countries where LEED has yet to take root. USGBC’s mission is to bring the environmental and human health benefits of green buildings to all, and it is committed to accelerating the adoption of LEED in new and existing markets.
Large retail spaces are notorious for being huge energy consumers, and this was not lost on the project team behind Ágora Mall, Santo Domingo’s first LEED-certified building. Minimizing its environmental impact through energy- and water-saving strategies was a key priority for the project.
Ágora Mall was awarded LEED silver under the Building Design and Construction (BD+C) rating system for Core and Shell, according to the USGBC. While the mall doesn't control the entire design of the tenants, the achievement highlights the complexity of systems that converge within the building. Its domed roof is a 2,000-square-meter structure made of steel and pneumatic ETFE pillows supported by a lightweight structure. The pillows are filled with low-pressure air for insulation and resistance to wind loads. This helps the building save energy by maximizing sunlight while maintaining thermal control over the space; it also creates a more natural indoor environment, which can directly increase employee productivity and boost visitor moods.
“This certification has a direct impact that goes beyond complying with the requirements of efficient design and construction,” said Dariela Linares of the Landmark Realty Corp., the owner of Ágora Mall. “Our commitment goes beyond the technical operation of the building.”
The mall’s status as a green building also inspires change in people’s lifestyles to raise public awareness about the need to save energy and water and how individual behavior influences our ecological footprint, she added.
The project team also implemented a recycling and waste management plan, which has become an environmental management program with key sustainability indicators that include the treatment, reuse and disposal of potable and wastewater; energy savings; and the correct handling and disposal of hazardous materials.
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Companies: U.S. Green Building Council