Raising awareness about the importance of sustainability in architecture has been one of the biggest challenges for Nadia Ayala, a Jalisco architect who, through her firm Kiltik Consultoría, has participated in the development of projects that offer to reduce their environmental footprint.
Her first approach to sustainable architecture was in 2011, while working at EA Energía y Arquitectura. There, Ayala participated in the first three projects in Jalisco to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification. The first was Corporativo Atmósfera, an office building in Providencia, while the second was the Taller de Innovación y Diseño (TID) at ITESO, and, later, she coordinated the documentation of the Fortius Casa Hidalgo building, the first LEED platinum-certified project (the highest level) in the entity.
In 2013, at age 25, she earned the title of LEED AP BD+C (Accredited Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Professional with a specialty in building design and construction) from the Green Building Certification Institute.
Determined to be an agent of change through sustainable architecture, Ayala undertook the project that would allow her to fulfill that perfectionistic desire. With services focused on the construction industry, supported by integrated design to achieve an economically viable, socially positive and low environmental impact result, in 2014 she created Kiltik Consultoría.
“Something that has always defined me is to be very perfectionistic. I soon felt that I couldn’t find a company that met all my expectations, so I started looking with the idea that ‘if you don’t find it, then create it.’ That was my impulse.”
With a master’s degree in Sustainable Projects and Construction, from ITESO, she shared that, during the six years she has been with Kiltik Consultoría, one of her clearest objectives has been to be an example from within, offering well-being to those who have been part of this startup.
“My hope was to be a company in the fullest sense of the word, that is, one that had enough to cover the corresponding taxes, pay adequate salaries and offer spaces created with a sustainable vision, situations that in many recently created companies are difficult. It was important for me to realize that if I wanted to do something, I wanted to do it well.”
Ayala works together with her partner, Johanna Senott, an architect who also has the title LEED AP BD+C. Together, both defend the idea that Mexico must be built in a sustainable way.
“The issue of sustainability is something that must become an obligation for our generation. We may not see it, but I hope that in the next few years there will be a real change. LEED certification is only part of the real estate industry, but it must go further and establish itself as a way of life.”
The Kiltik Consultoría team has worked on more than 40 projects in the process of LEED certification and certificates throughout Mexico and Latin America. Currently, the company coordinates the certification of more than 1,076,391 square feet of construction throughout the country, in the areas of mixed-use projects, offices and hotels.
Their most recent project is the certification of Lobby 33, a mixed-use project with 30 levels that includes a commercial area, office area and apartments.
For Ayala, throughout her professional career, sustainable architecture has allowed her to demonstrate how strong and conscious she is about what she wants to achieve, leading her to take on high-level projects, which have forged a trajectory that has allowed her to give conferences and workshops at various exhibitions and congresses.
“I came to give quotes at meetings where most of the attendees were big shots, and I feel that I have never been intimidated, because I trust the quality of my work. Nor do I lend myself to inflated prices, where there is something to negotiate. I feel that this is a determining factor in achieving a socially responsible company.”
Breaking the taboo that sustainable construction is a large investment is an issue that must be explored further. However, little by little, Mexico has managed to position itself as one of the 10 countries with the most LEED-certified building projects in the world.
“It’s a challenge that requires a high level of commitment. Sometimes a larger capital injection is needed, but any client who knows about finance can realize that it is a medium- to long-term investment, where operating costs will be much lower.”
A teacher at ITESO for seven years, Ayala is a member of the LEED Technical Committee in Mexico of SUMe Sustainability for Mexico A.C. In addition to exploring sustainable architecture and developing as an entrepreneur, she is currently experiencing her greatest love: being a mom.