Igvanas Tara Header Image - Collage

For Honduras’ tallest residential tower, PEAR Constructor applied Sefaira analysis in the design development phase. This set the project on track to achieve over 60% reductions in EUI, utility cost & cooling loads from their initial concept and to deliver on the promise of comfortable, well lit and efficient designs with low operational costs.

In our very first Sustainability Around the World article, designer Mauro Zavala of Perspectivas Arquitectonicas Constructor (PEAR Constructor), and sustainability consultant Mauricio Chirinos of Green Building and Eco Solutions spoke to us about sustainable design in Central America. They have designed and are now building the first high rise eco-apartments building complex in Honduras – Igvanas Tara Eco-Apartments.

In this article, we circle back and revisit the project, focusing on how they achieved the high-performing design for one of the tallest green residential buildings in Central America. Located in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, the $13.6M project broke ground in April 2014 and is set for completion in December 2016.

Project Stats

  • Project type: High rise residential development
  • Location: San Pedro Sula, Honduras
  • Building type/Program: Residential Development
  • Floor area/Occupancy: 24,200m2 (7,200m2 parking and ancillary spaces), 34 stories, 350 persons
  • Project stage & completion date: Construction/Completion December 2016
  • Performance Baseline: Local code
  • Performance Goal: A minimum of 50% reduction on initial concept EUI and operating costs

Approach

PEAR Constructor started this project with the goal of creating a high performing residential tower that would set a sustainable precedent for other buildings in the region. Mauricio, a sustainability engineer and Sefaira user, was brought on board after the initial design was created to use Sefaira analysis to ensure that the final concept would deliver comfortable and energy efficient residences with low operational cost for future residents.

Igvanas Tara Rendering 2

Mauro and Mauricio started by analysing the initial concepts in Sefaira. They revisited the design’s assumptions to ensure all opportunities were maximised and quickly tested the impact of potential strategies on the design’s building performance. For example, they investigated the benefits of specifying SIPS panels. Because of the cost implications, it was necessary to ensure that the panels would yield quantifiable long term energy and operating cost savings, in addition to expected short-term savings such as reduced construction times and material waste. They also investigated the impact of double glazed low-e windows, better roof insulation, improved air tightness, natural ventilation, renewables such as solar photo voltaics, solar thermals, and a Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) HVAC system.

Sefaira Strategies Grid - Igvanas TaraBy analysing all these as single and combined strategies in Sefaira, they discovered they could improve the energy performance of their original design by at least 60%!

Results

Although this was Zavala’s first foray into Performance-Based Design, and Sefaira was used after the initial concept was created, the design team were very quickly able to carry out extensive cost-benefit analysis on several strategies in isolation and in combination — providing hard data to support their design ideas. It was also possible to demonstrate that their design would achieve a reduction of 61% on EUI and utility costs, 79% reductions in annual cooling from a typical building in the same region and achieve the desired daylight illumination with a glazing ratio of just 25%. [See more daylight optimisation articles here.]

Daylight Analysis Igvanas Tara

By delivering a report to the client that showed the positive impact of each material choice, system selection and renewable strategy on energy performance, they were able to justify their design. All aspects of the proposal were wholly approved by the project stakeholders and are currently being implemented as construction progresses. Using Sefaira, Zavala was able to avoid value engineering as the project progressed and ensure the delivery of comfortable, well-lit residences with low operational costs. Asked if he would do anything differently, Zavala hopes to use Sefaira on future projects from the very start of the design process.

He went on to say, “Sefaira has been of great help on our Igvanas Tara Eco Apartments project. First and foremost, we learned which elements on our design consumed the most energy and thus we were able to prioritize our investments by addressing these issues to achieve significant energy savings. Another significant benefit is that we could iterate on different orientations, materials and HVAC systems. For us in the construction environment, it is very important that our decisions are backed up by rigorous calculations and analysis data from a prestigious software like Sefaira.

About PEAR Constructor

Perspectivas Arquitectonicas Constructor (PEAR Constructor) was founded in 1991 by architects Mauro Zavala and Edith Page Zavala with the aim of becoming the architectural studio of choice recognised for its professionalism and for pioneering techniques in the fields of architecture and construction in Honduras. 

After 24 years of hard work, PEAR Constructor believes it has achieved this by becoming the first architectural studio to integrate BIM in their design workflow for the benefit of their clients. PEAR Constructor’s portfolio includes more than 150 projects ranging from residential design, commercial, and industrial to San Pedro Sula’s Grand Central Station.