The project is based on the concept of a business community, where the companies and employees are able to satisfy all of their principal needs without having to leave the complex.
Currently, there are twenty-three companies operating in the free zone and the majority are multinational service and technology providers, that employ around 10,000 people. Global leaders such as; Dell, Baxter, Bosch, DHL, Hewlett Packard and IBM call the AFZ their home base in Latin America.
The America Free Zone is the first to obtain the certification of Carbon Neutrality, rule INTE 12-01-06. Additionally, many of the AFZ buildings are LEED certified for Core & Shell, and one of its new buildings has earned the Gold Certification Degree from the US Green Building Council.
To obtain this certification the AFZ implemented a meticulous process that involved auditing the activities of design, construction, remodeling and maintenance of the general infrastructure, as well as their administrative activities. Obtaining the certificate required an investment of around $15,000, and that resulted in an environmental benefit of 119 fewer tons of carbon emissions.
Costa Rica’s National Entity of Standardization, the Costa Rican Technical Standards Institute (Inteco), the global organization, Climate Change Directorate (DCC) and Costa Rica’s Ministry of Environment and Energy are the entities responsible for auditing the certification processes and issuing the Carbon Neutral Certification to the America Free Zone.
In recent years, the AFZ has installed 1865 solar panels, which is 3078 square meters of panels distributed on the roofs of buildings within the free zone. These solar panels produce enough energy for 765 homes with an average monthly consumption of 500 KWh.
Obtaining this environmental certification is important because it demonstrates an exceptional commitment to sustainable development by including elements of environmental and social management in its economic activities. The American Free Zone has become an inspiration for all the other free zones throughout Costa Rica to reach higher levels of sustainable practices.
The writer, Tom Rosenberger has lived and worked in Costa Rica since 1993 and from his travels throughout the country inspecting property and construction he has acquired a wealth of knowledge about living and doing business in Costa Rica.
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