Nuclear energy provides about 3% of Brazil’s electricity. In November 2006 the government announced plans to complete Angra 3 and also build four further 1000 MWe nuclear plants from 2015 at a single site. Angra 3 construction approval was confirmed by Brazil’s National Energy Policy Council in June 2007 and received Presidential approval in July. Environmental approval was granted in March and all other approvals by July 2009. In December 2008, Eletrobrás Termonuclear S/A (“Eletronuclear”) signed an industrial cooperation agreement with Areva, confirming that Areva will complete Angra 3 and be considered for supplying further reactors. Areva also signed a services contract for Angra 1. First concrete for Angra 3 was due in 2009. A construction licence was granted by the National Nuclear Energy Commission (CNEN) at the end of May 2010, and construction resumed two days later, in June. The plant is expected in operation at the end of 2015 after 66 months.

The World Bank and IFC have recently reported that Russia’s current energy inefficiency is equal to the annual primary energy consumption of France. Indeed, the low local cost of energy, a mainly declarative legislation on environmental efficiency and little public interest have long kept Russia out of the global warming debate, and far away from the exotic issue of green buildings.

This trend is hopefully coming to an end with the recent enactment of a new law with compulsory requirements on energy saving and efficiency. This marks a clear ambition by Russian policymakers and will probably enhance the nascent interest in green buildings of the main players in the real estate industry, who were severely hit by the current crisis and seek new growth opportunities.

The spreading trend toward “green” building has resulted in a number of competing and overlapping certification systems, with only faint hope in sight of better standardization. United States builders are most familiar with the LEED system sponsored by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Through USGBC’s association with the World Green Building Council, LEED…