Grupo Casillas certified 359 homes with EDGE. They wanted to build homes that would improve the quality of life for their tenants, whilst also reducing their impact on the environment.
|Project Name||San Francisco Eco Residential|
|Homes Certified||359 units|
|Total Floor Area Certified||27702 m²|
|Certification Date||March 2022|
|Duration of Certification||10 months from registration to completion|
Grupo Casillas is a leading residential developer in Guadalajara, Mexico. For the last twenty years, the company has had a strong focus on sustainability and the environment, becoming pioneers in the use of eco-technologies within the construction sector. According to the Grupo Casillas mindset, families are guaranteed a better quality of life in an environment of coexistence and sustainability.
The company operates on the idea that to make a home truly accessible, it needs to be designed in a way that would require minimal maintenance. This means focusing on the materials and design to create something that wouldn’t require the homeowner to make big changes to it regularly, such as designing projects with brick instead of paint so there wasn’t an added cost of re-painting homes. This is just one of many design principles that went into the San Francisco development.
The San Francisco project began four years ago, when the local municipality required the project to include an on-site water treatment plant. This requirement initiated an exploration into what types of water recycling systems and efficiency measures could be put into the development. After reviewing several options, the company decided to invest in a greywater system that could feed treated water into the parks and green spaces of the development.
Following this challenge, the San Francisco team came across a second hurdle: height. The development is located near the Parish of the Lord of the Ascension temple. Due to the conservation efforts, all developments nearby need to adhere to a certain height restriction. As a result, part of the San Francisco development included houses, instead of apartments. Using this as an opportunity for innovation, Grupo Casillas decided to make these units fully electric.
All housing units in the residential development include water solar heating, but the homes also had solar panels installed to allow the householders to benefit from as much renewable electricity as possible, thus reducing householder’s energy costs.
All of these efficiency improvements highlight Grupo Casillas’ commitment to a sustainable future and how it’s possible to combine environmental protection with high quality housing for residents in Mexico.
What is interesting about this story is that Grupo Casillas had considered many of these efficiency measures before making the decision to go for certification. In fact, up until the San Francisco project, the company had never certified a development against a green building standard.
The driving force for green certified homes tends to be customer led. For Grupo Casillas, the typical buyer of these homes and apartments is a median income household, aged 30 to 45 years old. While these buyers may consider the environment in decision making, it isn’t a driving force.
Yet for Grupo Casillas, independently verifying their commitment to sustainability was an important marker for their company’s achievements. They wanted to show their customers and stakeholders that they are sustainable and have been for many years. To do this, they decided to invest in certification.
They chose EDGE certification as a system that is internationally recognised, and well recognised within the financial sector. It gave Grupo Casillas clear data that could be communicated to the end customer and aligned well with their mindset of providing value to their customers and helping to drive down their utility costs and delivering a high-quality product.
As they were new to the green building certification scheme, they decided to work with a local EDGE Expert company, Civita. Civita has over 15 years of experience in certifying green buildings, with over 74 certified projects across Mexico. As EDGE Experts, the Civita team were able to advise Grupo Casillas on how to go about the EDGE certification process, what type of documentation was required and to help build the EDGE assessment and run through the steps required to achieve certification.
“Grupo Casillas are committed even more now as housing developers to continue seeking the certification of future projects that help mitigate greenhouse gas production, climate change and global warming to comply with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.
One thing we took away from the process was that it is very helpful as project owners to get involved in the physical audit process as it is a great learning opportunity. You watch the review processes and learn about the measurements of the reported green technologies to see how the criteria we selected are assessed.”
Pablo Pérez Casillas, Director of architectural design and sustainability, Grupo Casillas
Grupo Casillas has another project under the EDGE certification process, which it hopes to complete in the next 36 months. The goal is to evaluate each future development and identify where EDGE certification makes sense. For certain sizes, it is likely that EDGE certification will not be compatible. However, the integration of green building certification is now part of the company’s ethos and through using the EDGE App, they can check that designs align with sustainability principles and provide the independent validation where appropriate.
The EDGE certification will play an important role for the company’s green financing plans. Grupo Casillas has been working with BBVA on financing and will be looking to integrate the EDGE certification as assurance for a green loan product in the near future.
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