As the Philippines remains a fertile ground for green industry, foreign and local construction experts say there is a need to renew and strengthen the country’s efforts in paving the way for the smooth adoption of best practices in putting up green buildings in the country.
At the recent roundtable session of International Built Environment Week (IBEW) in Makati City, experts said venturing into construction of more green buildings in the country would require enhanced collaboration between the government and the private sector to ensure sustainability, construction productivity, digitalization and smart facilities management, among others.
Green industry involves buildings or businesses that have minimal negative impact on the global or local environment, community, society or economy. It seeks to address market failures and protect the environment, ensuring a sustainable and economically viable future.
Eduardo Manahan, chairman of the Building Owners and Managers Association of the Philippines (Bomap), mulled the need to revisit House Bill 7373, or the Green Building Act, which aims to mitigate the effects of climate change and preserve the environment by requiring the planting of trees for any construction of residential, commercial industrial and public buildings.
“I don’t know the reason why the Green Building Act is still stoned up to the second reading… [But] we, the Bomap, with other organizations would be much [hopeful about it] because we’re the stakeholders been affected to it,” Manahan told reporters.
The bill, principally authored by Rep. Emmeline Aglipay-Villar of Diwa party-list, seeks to mandate all applicants for building permits of residential, commercial, industrial and public development projects to submit a Tree Planting Plan, in addition to the other requirements imposed by local government units.
Many of the developer-companies in the Philippines have great acceptance of the green building initiative, incorporating it to their respective businesses, according to Manahan.
“Actually, almost all of the developers are now into green building technologies,” he said, citing models of buildings in Bonifacio Global City that were constructed incorporating green building technologies.
“[A] green building is specifically an environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building life cycle. You will say that a green building cost a lot but in the long run you will know that it costs less,” Manahan added.
Meanwhile, Gio Carino, principal architect of Prodigy AE Inc., pointed out that there are existing “misconceptions in the market” or how green industries and its technologies is being perceived by the public.
“Technologies like these have been perceived to be expensive mainly because of the perception of huge initial investment required and the limited perception in terms of time for recovery. You know, when you present the technology you don’t know yet at that moment if it’s going to work,” he said.
Carino noted that shifting into green buildings would allow investors or owner of businesses to “avoid costs” that are unnecessary, generating savings.
“We actually design our house off site and then bring it on site to essentially build the building. We have two projects in Singapore [and] they actually save about six months of construction time. That translates to savings that actually help overcome these misconceptions that investment is too high,” added Louise Chua, project director of Reed Exhibitions.
The Philippines has a number of natural elements that can help out architects and developers to implement “passive green strategies” and make the buildings sustainable, according to Giovanni Gusella, Senior Advisor of Italpinas Development Corporation.
Under the passive green strategies, Gusella said developers are maximizing climate elements such as natural ventilation and shade devices to control the sunlight in buildings, in a way to “keep the prices low and reduce power consumption.”
“If you adopt solutions that will reduce energy [and water] consumptions in the long term, the return in the profit, meaning you have low maintenance and reduced expenses in using energy and power, that is the advantage of green buildings,” he added.