Among all the global initiatives in combating climate change, the most important of them all would probably be the United Nations Climate Change Conference. This yearly conference, which in 1992 made a large headway in the fight against climate change with the Kyoto Protocol, focuses on creating agreements that push countries into finding ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).
In the recently concluded 21st Conference of the Parties (also known as COP21) held in France, 195 members of the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change deliberated on finalizing an agreement that would create protocols mitigating carbon emissions in both developed and developing countries.
Indeed, in more recent years, initiatives to combat global warming have become part and parcel of business operations all over the world.
In the real estate industry in particular, property developers are not just focused on meeting physical needs, but environmental needs as well. The call to combat global warming is fast becoming, among developments, a necessity rather than an added feature. Property developers undeniably play an important role in the overall scheme of things – imagining, testing, and building nature-adaptive and innovative structures that work with the environment and respond to environmental concerns.
France, which was host to the COP21, has earlier in the year passed its Energy Transition for Green Growth Act, among which it touches on changes in housing standards and investments into renewable energy. It has also passed a law mandating the installation of solar panels or gardens on the rooftops of new buildings in commercial districts. Such additions to property developments, where urban areas utilize limited spaces for renewable energy, is a practice emerging in many places across the West.
In Asia, where green technology is still in its infancy stage, numerous attempts have already been made to incorporate such practices into local and regional infrastructure projects. After the recently concluded COP21, the idea for technology transfer—where developed nations provide funding and technology to developing nations, will give way for the application and improvement of renewable sources of energy in more countries around the globe.
The Philippines, which is among the most vulnerable to climate change, joined the other 42 middle-economy and small-island developing nations of the Climate Vulnerable Forum in promising to limit their carbon emissions to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This means that local property developers now carry a heavier role in implementing effective and responsive measures that make sure that it alleviates carbon emission levels, but also meets the target by year 2030.
According to Eric Manuel, Vice President for Business Development at Daiichi Properties: “We’ve seen how green technology has improved on building designs in countries abroad. What we need now is for more property developers to emulate that same success and efficiency in projects here in the Philippines.”
A number of buildings here in the Philippines have already received certifications in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a program that accredits green buildings and recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.
Among them, Daiichi’s own One World Place is already a pre-certified gold level LEED project. It is recognized as the first commercial building in Southeast Asia to feature “monsoon windows,” a concept that allows outside air into the building, improving the cooling system and providing more natural ventilation in public areas. It also features a system that collects rainwater and gray water, which helps manage water consumption, efficient insulated glass, and a solar-reflecting coating that helps to lower electricity costs.
As awareness for green technology is not yet widespread, and its implementation far from flourishing, developers carry the job of adding and improving on local building designs, and encouraging more people to shift towards a more climate-responsive and environmentally-conscious way of building.
Through its developments, Daiichi Properties sees and understands the future and the role of green technology on the real estate landscape, helping pave the way for others to follow in its footsteps towards a greener and greater Philippines.
Manuel adds: “Because of the country’s location, there is a lot of potential for green technology to thrive in the country. There are so many ways we can benefit from it, because ultimately we will be the ones to feel the effects if we don’t do something about climate change. We should work to apply these innovations to the way we design our buildings, and our communities.”