A LEED of One's Own: New Green Building Certification in the Works for Turkey

siemens leed gold building gebze turkey photo
The LEED Gold-certified Siemens building in Gebze, Turkey. Photo via ÇEDBİK.

While American readers are used to seeing the LEED label attached to eco-friendly buildings, such structures are identified in other countries by an alphabet soup of certifications -- from BEES and BREEAM to LCAid and SBtool. Next up may be a similar certificate a la Turca that takes Turkey's climate, culture, geography, and energy consumption into consideration, giving a boost to the country's nascent green-building sector.

In response to growing concerns about energy supplies, Turkey's Environment-Friendly Green Buildings Association, or ÇEDBİK, is working on a country-specific certificate based on the British Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) standards, which are commonly used in the European Union.

A Turkish Version Of BREEAM
According to the Turkish newspaper Referans, "BREEAM, a system that measures sustainability of new non-domestic buildings, implements a rating system to certify buildings as passing, good, very good, perfect, and top-of-the-line. Until now, some 116 buildings have been certificated among 714 registered buildings."

The proposed Turkish version will include special parameters for earthquake safety, says ÇEDBİK Vice Chairwoman Duygu Erten, as well as a focus on allocation of water and energy resources. Green building materials, which are hard to come by in Turkey at present, will play a smaller-than-usual role in getting a seal of approval.

Experimental Solar House Turkey's First Green Building
The first "ecological building" in Turkey was an experimental solar house built at Middle East Technical University in the 1970s, LEED-certified consultant Nilbay Canbay told attendees at the 8th Ecocity World Summit last month as part of a talk on the Turkish green-building movement. While commercial projects larger in scope have followed, she said, examples of eco-friendly construction are still rare and isolated -- unconnected from the cities that surround them.

gordion breeam shopping center ankara turkey image
An artist's rendition of the BREEAM "very good"-certified Gordion Shopping Center in Ankara, Turkey. Image via ÇEDBİK.

Generally such projects have been shopping centers, luxury apartments, and other developments geared to the high end of the market, such as the Sapphire tower in Istanbul's Levent district, the Varyap Meridian, which aspires to be the country's first LEED-certified mixed-use structure, and a pair of BREEAM-certified malls in Ankara and Erzurum built by the Dutch company Redevco.

Corporations And Hotels Getting On Board
Some corporations have gotten into the act too -- a new Turkcell R&D; building in the industrial district of Gebze has a green roof and maximizes natural light, while a LEED-certified Siemens plant in the same area has reduced water use 70 percent and energy consumption 25 percent. There's also the government's "Green Star" program, which recognizes eco-friendly hotels.

A set of consistent green-building standards and a body overseeing them would help ensure that such projects truly reduce the use of energy and resources while incorporating new criteria such as sustainable site selection -- before the construction sector becomes awash in greenwash.

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Tags: Environmental Certifications | Green Building | Turkey


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