ILFI is proudly featuring a series of member impact stories to showcase and celebrate some of the wonderful work our community has been doing. This week we introduce Esteban Martinez, co-founder and COO-sustainability director of Colombian sustainable architecture and engineering firm Green Loop.

When architect and civil engineer Esteban Martinez co-founded Green Loop in 2009, sustainability movements in Colombia were still in their infancy. The architecture firm has been at the forefront of regenerative design in the country ever since, going on to become a founding member of the Colombia Green Building Council and helping to jumpstart its LEED rating system. Today, Colombia has the third largest green building market in Latin America, and Green Loop is leading the way with over 40 engineers and 75 LEED projects certified. 

International Center for Tropical Agriculture’s gene bank laboratory located in Cali, Colombia. Courtesy of Green Loop.

In addition to numerous regenerative design certifications, Green Loop has worked on several Living Building projects. Esteban’s familiarity with prominent sustainability rating systems allowed him to point clients already pursuing LEED and zero net energy status in the direction of Living Buildings, serving as an ambassador for the Institute. These projects have included a National Geographic eco-lodge (production was unfortunately halted due to COVID-19) and a single house unit hotel pursuing Living Building Challenge certification. However, Esteban’s favorite has been a gene bank laboratory for The International Center for Tropical Agriculture. He testifies to its breathtaking design, characterized by a yellow curved metal canopy that evokes a forest. The lab, which will be the first Platinum-level LEED certified gene bank in the world, is set to be a global hub of innovation in agricultural conservation and crop diversity. It is the first building that Green Loop has worked on to achieve certification, and Esteban remembers building up consulting work for zero energy, water, and other green building disciplines from the ground up: “It was quite a journey”.

Images courtesy of Green Loop.

Despite the challenges posed by advancing ambitious regenerative design in a world where the infrastructure of tax exemptions and government recognition doesn’t always keep up, Esteban is glad to be part of the global sustainability movement. His involvement with the Institute has introduced him to a network of frontrunners in biophilic design and development. He believes Green Loop’s DNA as a company is closely aligned with the Institute’s philosophy of change, and that the strong collective voice provided by this community will help push us toward progress.

Esteban Martinez is an architect and civil engineer from the Universidad de los Andes.  He received his Master’s Degree in Sustainable Design from the Boston Architectural College and complementary studies in Sustainable Urbanism from the Rotterdam School of Architecture. Esteban holds the following credentials: Living Future Accreditation (LFA), LEED Fellow (former LEED AP BD&C & O+M), LEED for C&C advisor, WELL AP, Green Rater, Edge Expert, Living Future Accredited Professional, Regenerative Practitioner and Certified Building Commissioning Professional from the Association of Energy Engineers. Martinez is Co-Founder and Director of Sustainability at Green Loop, in Bogota, Colombia – South America where he brings his vast array of experience as a sustainability consultant, energy modeler, and commissioning agent. Esteban has worked on over 350 different projects located in Colombia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Honduras, Ecuador and EEUU.

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