Building Green is the Key for Sustainable Cities

Homes built by VINTE, in Mexico, have features such as low-energy equipment and rainwater harvesting systems. © VINTE

Edgar Rodríguez Rosas, who lives near Mexico City, was committed to finding a home built with sustainable features and green equipment that would allow his family to save on monthly utility bills and reduce household emissions. But it was also a priority to find a home that was affordable.

Once they moved into an eco-friendly development built by VINTE, the Rodríguez Rosas family realized they could have it all. Their two-bedroom home features low-energy light bulbs, an efficient refrigerator, and a rainwater harvesting system that allows them to reuse rainwater to irrigate green areas and wash clothes and dishes.

Many of VINTE homes are certified by EDGE (IFC’s Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies) program. IFC created EDGE to identify sustainable solutions in construction, increase efficiency in the use of resources, and reduce the impacts on the environment. In fact, the first worldwide EDGE certification for housing was given to VINTE, in 2012.


Affordable, Eco-Friendly Housing

IFC recently granted a new credit line of 350 million Mexican pesos to VINTE to boost the construction of 2,000 new homes with the EDGE certification—building on a long-term investment relationship that has allowed VINTE to develop more than 26,000 sustainable homes across Mexico.

The company was founded in 2001 by Mexican entrepreneur Sergio Leal and other local investors determined to demonstrate that eco-friendly homes can be attainable for all.

Today, VINTE is one of the largest housing construction companies in Mexico and has become a model for strong financial performance and technologically innovative housing products. Homes’ green features and affordable prices make them attractive to young working adults, many of whom are first-time home buyers who grew up in informal housing settlements with marginal access to clean water, electricity, sanitation, roads, schools, or parks.


Advancing Green Building Efforts Worldwide

Creating eco-friendly, affordable homes in Mexico is just one part of a much larger effort by IFC to ensure that as the world’s cities expand, they are built sustainably. As the global population grows and moves to cities, it is expected that more than 400 million homes will be built by 2020—most of them in developing countries.

In addition to IFC’s EDGE software tool, which helps more than 100 countries design green buildings, IFC invests in the manufacturing of green building materials and energy-efficient technology to spur market transformation. IFC also works with governments, regulators, and construction associations to build capacity for green buildings through policy and regulatory support.

In Colombia, for example, IFC has worked to develop and implement green building codes. New regulations require minimum mandatory building standards in the new construction of commercial and residential buildings in the country.

As a result of Colombia’s new green codes, buildings are expected to consume 10 to 45 percent less energy and water. These reductions will avoid nearly 190,000 metric tons of greenhouse-gas emissions by 2021, helping big cities like Bogota achieve a goal to reduce 2019’s greenhouse emissions by 16 percent compared to 2007.


Urbanization Requires New Solutions

Over the past five years, IFC has invested more than $2 billion in energy-efficient construction, and our work in the area now spans 125 developing countries. The experience in other parts of the world is significant because trends spurred by urbanization in every region will define the skyline of the city of the future.

By 2030, for example, Mexico’s population is expected to reach 121 million people, creating demand for 11 million additional new houses. This market opportunity is a key driver of VINTE’s business model.

For Rodríguez Rosas, though, business models and evolving city skylines are far from his mind; settling into a home of his own is much more personal. “It makes me very happy to live with my daughter and my wife in a house that is not only sustainable, but is also built with equipment like centralized utility controls, security cameras, and a website for community activities. This allows me to have a better quality of life,” Rodríguez Rosas said.

To learn more about IFC’s work related to climate change, visit:, and about the work in housing, visit:  

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Published in November 2016


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