June 26th 2024

Green Loop: Creating Colombia’s Energy Code with IESVE

Green Loop: Creating Colombia’s Energy Code with IESVE

Green Loop, based in Bogota and Medelin in Colombia, and Miami in the US, is a multi-disciplinary consultancy that optimises the delivery of cost-efficient green building projects. With more than 15 years’ experience, they have achieved a leading position as expert consultants in the sustainable construction industry, energy efficiency, renewable energies and sustainability certification processes.

Green Loop has been working exclusively with IES since 2010 for LEED certifications, bioclimatic and passive analysis, ASHRAE 62.1 and 55 compliance, as well as PRM simulations. They have also used the software to deliver the first Living Building Challenge and net zero-ready building in Colombia.

Their headquarters became LEED Platinum CI certified in 2016, and Green Loop have worked on over 400 different projects using IES modelling software since then. Currently, they are working on over 160 different projects, aided by IESVE software and processes.

Creating Colombia’s first universal energy code

The Colombian Minister of Housing approached Green Loop in 2019 to create a new, universal energy code for Colombia, comparable with other worldwide standards. Green Loop were the only consultants in Colombia with the skills and experience in virtual energy modelling to complete the project, using IES energy modelling software.

The remit was to update the previous energy code which had been issued without energy modelling taken into consideration. It had involved simply approaching the energy suppliers to obtain actual energy consumption, and did not involve using simulation to predict how a building will perform. Building energy modelling was a fundamental requirement to create an energy code comparable with other worldwide codes. Green Loop collaborated on the project with Pacific Northwest Energy Consultants, a US-based, non-profit organisation, who had prior project experience in Vietnam in building energy codes. The project involved assimilating more than 1,300 independent energy models to predict optimum thermal comfort, all of which was done using IESVE software. 

For low-income housing in particular, most of the general contractors and developers neglect the thermal comfort of the occupants, so poorly ventilated buildings are either extremely hot or extremely cold. Since Colombia is in the tropics, most buildings have no air-conditioning or heating systems, except in some residential properties near the coast or at sea level.

Green Loop analysed seven prototype buildings, in four separate climates, involving three types of housing, as well as hospitals, education buildings, small retail malls and office buildings. They worked with Camacol, the Colombian Chamber of Construction for general contractors, and conducted workshops on a national level to create plans, designs and drawings to understand the typical layout of the prototypes, such as mechanical systems and lighting. The prototypes included a typical high rise residential building, a typical single unit house and a typical office building.

Green Loop ran every single strategy option to either improve energy/thermal performance or ventilation. With over 20 different scenarios and strategies, it was a huge project for the team, and Green Loop employed seven consultants full-time on this ambitious project for over a year. They also had three dedicated servers and 10 computers for energy modelling, working 24/7.

The study was meant to take six to eight months, but the pandemic delayed it by a year because lockdown restrictions prohibited visits to different sites around Colombia. The first draft was issued in December 2020.

“We are very proud of this project, and IES software has been integral to creating  the new Colombian energy code. Feedback from our clients is that they are always shocked as to the precision of the thermal modelling. Our teams are highly proficient in analysing the models as they have many years’ experience using IES software."

Esteban Martínez, COO, Sustainability Director, Green Loop 

The Green Loop team have also recently been recognised in IES’s VE User of the Year Award, with Alexander Beleno being named the winner for the South America region. To find out more, you can check out the case study, showing how they helped an underground laboratory become the first Living Building Challenge certified building in the region.