Filipino real estate sector looks for ways to make buildings ‘green’



By Alexander Villafania

TAGUIG CITY,  METRO MANILA  – “Green”  is definitely in these days and the the real estate industry is perhaps one of the biggest supporters of this worldwide initiative.

It’s not a surprise considering civic works entails the repurposing of any type of place – including forests — to give way for commercial and residential construction.  This concern of forest destruction for real estate development was highlighted in a report from the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development.

But the simple destruction of forests for buildings is not the only result of environmental degradation.

Eric Caruncho of the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted architect Angelo Manosa that buildings emit about one-half of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions and also consume large proportions of water and electricity flows. Coupled by the general worsening of the environment via water, soil, and air pollution, living and working in urban areas in the Philippines has been more or less a socio-economic hazard.

Still, many of those involved in the real estate business, from developers, civil engineers to architects, are now looking towards mitigating the effects of environment destruction, that is by turning their own creations into something more environment friendly.

These could be in the form of using better materials for building construction, creating improved distribution system for water, electricity and other utilities, to utilizing wind and solar energy for some electricity and lighting needs. These types of technologies are being developed  constantly to suit the needs of developers.

Even ordinary homes are being developed or retrofitted with green technologies. An example is a house at the University of the Philippines Diliman owned by writer Jimmuel Naval, who had his home’s roof redesigned for better aeration and utilizing natural sunlight for illumination inside.

One such organization that is advocating green technologies is the Philppine Green Building Council. Already, this organization has linked up with many local and international building construction agencies to find ways to utilize the latest environment-friendly construction technologies as well as building systems for efficient building resource utilization.

PGBC Chairman Christopher de la Cruz said in one of his presentations that adapting green technologies in buildings mean not only the more efficient use of energy but also the management of waste products from trash to sewage. He said that green technologies have positive impact on the environment, such as reduction in natural resource consumption, improving the well-being of building occupants, better public image (especially in an urban setting), reduce liabilities, among others.

There are also providers of high tech “green” technologies for occupants of commercial buildings, particularly those that have contact centers.

Schneider  Electric Philippines is an alternate energy equipment for commercial and industrial use. Its president, Philippe Reveilhac said that buildings account for 18 percent of their market worldwide. While it’s significantly smaller in the Philippines, he said he is saying rising demand for commercial building owners to implement energy-saving equipment for their tenants.

“Being green is not just a term, it’s now an advocacy and the Philippines is fast catching up to worldwide standards on green building technologies,” Reveilhac said.

The prospective benefits of adopting green technologies in building construction has indeed driven demand for such technologies. Hopefully, these benefits will encourage more building developers to start looking at saving the environment with these green technologies.

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