DEMAND for “green buildings” is growing rapidly in the Philippine property market, with more developers focusing on eco-friendly features in their new buildings and seeking ways to improve older ones, the leader of the Philippine Green Building Council (PhilGBC) said.
In a media briefing on Wednesday, PhilGBC Chairman Raymond Rufino expressed his bullish outlook for sustainability in the Philippine property market.
“Sustainability is just one area where I think we have a lot of growth,” Rufino said.
Rufino noted that most of the good quality office buildings under construction today have reached certain levels of green certification.
“And it’s really heartening to see that even the developers who are not specifically going for green building certifications have started to adopt strategies in terms of greening their developments in both existing and planned developments,” Rufino said.
Despite the significant rise in green building awareness, Rufino said there is still one challenge that the green building industry faces, particularly the improvement of older existing buildings.
“Most of the newer buildings already have green strategies as part of the design, but I think the bigger challenge is how do we look at all of the existing buildings, especially the older ones, and how do we improve their efficiency to improve their performance and bring up the level of quality to the current standards,” Rufino explained.
Despite the old buildings issue, Rufino expressed his optimism for the further growth of green building in the Philippines.
“I’m very hopeful what we’re seeing in the market and I think there’s still a lot more to come in the future,” Rufino said.
Apart from the growing number of green developments in the Metro Manila office market, another validation of the rising awareness for sustainability is the rise in the number of members of PhilGBC since its establishment in 2007, according to Rufino.
“When we started the council we had 10 people. Now we’re over 300 corporate members in the council,” Rufino said.
The PhilGBC chairman attributed the growing awareness for sustainability to developers who are integrating green elements in their developments.
“I think I have to give a lot of credit to the developers who are really trying to integrate sustainability more into the way they are doing their projects,” Rufino said.
New green award offered
The 2017 Philippine Property Awards, of which Rufino is part of the judging panel, has recognized the rising consciousness for green building in the country, introducing a new category for this year’s awards, the Special Recognition in Sustainable Development.
The new category will recognize the sustainable initiatives of outstanding developers from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Prior to the introduction of the sustainability award, the Philippine Property Awards, which is part of the regional Asia Property Awards presented the Best Green Developer Award as one of its categories.
Asia Property Awards founder and managing director Terry Blackburn said the launch of the new category is in line with recognizing the green building initiatives of developers who are not exactly solely green builders.
“I think the special recognition for the development is to bring the single developer to a development level to award developers who have green projects that are looking to attain international certification,” Blackburn said.
Rufino said the new award is a testament of a developer’s commitment to green building.
“It’s a level of commitment, how much has an organization demonstrated its commitment to green, the way its buildings are designed, built and operated,” Rufino said.
The 5th Philippine Property Awards will be held on May 4 at the Fairmont Makati. It is part of the regional Asia Property Awards, organized by PropertyGuru.