QC outlines requirements of ‘green’ building ordinance

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By Alexander Villafania

MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA – On April 2011, Quezon City would officially be the first Philippine locale to implement a green IT building guideline that would require all real estate and property developers to adhere to making all structures to be “green”.

The ordinance took approximately three years to create when, during the time of former Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte, it was decided that the sprawling city needed to sustain a growing population and to maintain land area for real estate development.

City administrators also saw a need to lessen environmental impact by reducing greenhouse emissions as well as maintaining existing natural resources.

The new administration of incumbent Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista has also put in high gear the implementation of the Green Building program, which he emphasized during a recent green building symposium.

Bautista himself stressed that Quezon City has fallen victim to environmental destruction, which has led to losses, both of life and property during natural calamities, particularly the typhoon “Ondoy” disaster in 2009.

Thus, implementing long-term, sustainable green programs would ensure that no more lives and properties are lost.

Under the Green Building guidelines, all new buildings that will be built within the city must be assessed and certified based on several requirements. These are the following:

Use of renewable energy

Installation of insulation and energy reduction and efficiency mechanisms

Solid waste and waste water treatment schemes

Incorporation of green building features

Reduction systems for greenhouse gases and other volatile organic compounds

Among the more specific requirements are inclusion of a “construction activity control pollution prevention system” wherein developers and land owners must lessen air pollution and lessen soil erosion; installing systems that lessen power consumption by as much as 50 percent; as well as installation of indoor ventilation system against tobacco smoke.

Aside from new buildings, existing infrastructure are also required to adhere to the same rules and must submit certification for retrofitting new buildings. The retrofitting itself can be done within a maximum period of three years.

As an incentive, the Quezon City government would issue a “Green Building Tax Credit,” which is up to 25 percent reduction in the applicant’s real property tax.

However, this is still based on a “Green Points” rating system by the Philippine Green Building Council’s BERDE (Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence) program.

The BERDE-based Green Points is a rating system of up to 100 and building construction must adhere to several factors (land sustainability, energy efficiency, water efficiency, materials and resource, and indoor environment quality), each with corresponding points. The higher the points gained means the lesser in real property tax that has to be paid.

Bautista said he hopes their Green Building Program would become a model for other cities in the Philippines.

“We all have important roles to play in maintaining quality of life of our constituents but we also have a responsibility to save our environment.”

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