SUSTAINABILITY CERTIFICATION GUIDE
BCNecologia has developed a proposal for auditing in order to provide ecologically progressive urban initiatives and developments with certification or accreditation. The guide is designed to evaluate the quality and extent of sustainable initiatives introduced to both new and existing urban developments.
The Sustainability Certification Guide is presented in the form of a methodological guide, and includes the instrumental procedures necessary to evaluate criteria based on sustainability and urban actions. This guide outlines the necessary requirements, information and steps for calculating indicators, as well as minimum reference values that are considered desirable. This certification process is entirely voluntary for municipalities who wish to implement it, though certification is aimed at municipalities with a population greater than 50,000 people.
The methodological guide is structured as a tool guide for urban planners. Its purpose is to help them improve, measure and certify developments, both in the initial and final stages of planning on either new or rehabilitated developments. Planning officers must certify the extent of sustainable actions in development proposals and diagnosis the status quo of sustainability in urban systems.
In order to achieve top certification, the guide promotes the model of the complex, compact, efficient and socially cohesive city. The top certification is guaranteed if the city or municipality is in compliance with a set of restrictors (indicators) that parameterize the extent (or lack thereof) of sustainable elements.
In this way, the certificate guarantees the sustainability criteria is first defined and then implemented to make the urban performance a reality.
In addition, this guide promotes the updating of existing legislation regarding urban development due to the fact that our urban legislation was defined years ago, and was not as present in everyday practice as it is today. Consequently it will be necessary to review the standards and references contained in these regulations, to adapt the legislation to the criteria set out in this guide.
This section of the guide presents the mathematical indicators that are part of the certification and are related to achieving efficiency and habitability within the urban system.
The indicators are grouped into two parts: First, there are reference indicators, used for the development of urban planning, and second, there are indicators for the certification process used in existing urban areas.
Each group of indicators is independent of the other, as they are designed for either a new or existing urban development. However, the sustainability criteria used to define the indicators, as well as the areas of assessment, are the same for both groups.
One of the main aspects of the guide is that it assesses each situation separately, and measures sustainability against the physical surroundings and resources available. Any developments or modifications made to the physical surroundings will impact the natural environment, and will have both economic and social repercussions that could induce irreversible effects. In this case, before considering any modifications to the urban space, planners should consider the context of their urban setting previously determined by a set of factors.
The criteria used to determine the context of any site or action that wishes to become certified is assessed before any planning begins. In this way, it is possible to analyze the site’s features first, and then to anticipate any consequences that might arise in terms of limitations, risks or existing urban requirements.
Therefore, by setting criteria and indicators to assess pre-existing conditions, planners are able to use this guide as an analytical tool for urban planning. The guide provides criteria to evaluate the scope and characteristics of sustainability, guidelines on how to adopt a new system, and the necessity to assess systems against other criteria, which may call for intervention in the end.
SUSTAINABILITY CERTIFICATION GUIDE
<<This guide was developed to assess and evaluate the quality and degree of sustainable urban actions. After an audit is proposed, certification or accreditation is given when sustainability requirements are met or exceeded. >>