Philippines: green-minded architects seek a new standard

While doubters easily dismiss “green architecture” as a sales-oriented gimmick, there is no doubt that there is a growing number of believers that it also equates to monetary savings aside from aesthetic satisfaction.

According to architect  Miguel Guerrero, chairman of the Green Architecture Advocacy Philippines (GreenAP), green buildings are structures that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout its life-cycle, from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.

“The Green Building practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort,” he said, stressing that it is more a philosophy rather a design technic and requires close cooperation among architects, engineers, and building owners.

He said a green building can be built at the same cost as traditional buildings if the green design strategies are those that are passive and do not require electrical or mechanical power to operate.

Passive green design, Guerrero said, can be as simple as orienting the building to have more windows north and south rather than east and west to reduce heat accumulation inside the building.

“We need to come up with an environment that uses less electricity. Buildings use up to 70 percent of the electricity produced, and as such, designers must focus on more energy efficient buildings,” Guerrero said.

He said GreenAP is trying to help develop awareness by holding an annual forum. This year, the 9th Green Forum will be held on Sept. 7-8 at the Philippine International Convention Center with the theme: Green Challenge: What’s the Score?

Guerrero said green buildings usually use products that can be “reused, recycled and if it needs to be disposed, the material should biodegrade back to the earth.”

“Since green buildings keep tabs on reducing resources, it should focus on renewable materials over non-renewable materials. The ultimate sustainability of our progress and development is assured,” Guerrero said.

He said green architecture has been making strides all over the world and several countries have developed their own green building rating schemes, like the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design in the United States.

Locally, the Philippine Green Building Council is currently developing the BERDE rating system and several buildings in Taguig and Makati cities have sought certification under the local standard.

“There is no national law mandating that we should have green buildings. However, Quezon City has a green building ordinance while other cites like Makati are currently studying the possibility of a similar ordinance,” he said.

But Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has proposed legislation, Senate Bill No. 3251, that seeks to establish green building standards and rating system and provide incentives to builders and owners via tax breaks and other benefits.

“By adopting green building standards, the Philippines will be true to the advocacy of sustainable development, which is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”


Source: Manila Standard Today

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