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Eco-friendly building projects gain ground in the Philippines

Posted on May 25, 2011 08:07:13 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

PROPERTY FIRMS in the country appear to be testing the waters for environment-friendly and energy-efficient developments.

Aside from aesthetics, property firms are now focusing on cost savings for office tenants and residents, officials from several developers said.

Already, three property projects -- one high-rise residential tower and two office buildings -- have been reported to be seeking accreditations or are already accredited under the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

The LEED green building certification system is a third-party rating program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance sustainable buildings developed in March 2000.

To date, there are 20,585 LEED-certified projects worldwide ranging from schools, commercial buildings, homes, retail shops and township developments.

“[Environment-friendly project] is additional cost to property firms but it is good to the occupants for office and residential because they will save on maintenance and water consumption,” Angela de Villa-Lacson, president and chief executive of high-end developer Arthaland Corp., said in an interview.

Arthaland is applying for the first LEED-certified residential project in the country.

To comply with stringent requirements under the LEED, Ms. de Villa-Lacson said the company is spending 3%-7% in additional costs for its P4.5-billion, 6,537-square-meter Arya Residences in Taguig.

The first of the two-tower Arya Residences is scheduled to be delivered to buyers in the first quarter of 2014.

Arya Residences is claimed to provide shade through ledges, funnel wind and provide natural ventilation to units to comply with LEED standards.

Residents will reportedly save 14% on energy costs through efficient lighting and ventilation. Furthermore, 40% savings on water consumption will be derived through a double piping system that uses recycled water in toilets.

“A residential project is the most difficult to get accreditation. We have to complete the building first and then let the customers experience what we have promised,” Ms. de Villa-Lacson said.

The Zuellig Building of the Zuellig Group, one of the largest private firms in the world, is meanwhile poised to be the first LEED-certified building in the country’s financial district.

The P7-billion, 33-storey Zuellig Building in Makati city is reported to provide more than 60,000 square meters of luxury office space and around 2,000 square meters of retail space.

Energy savings promised is approximately 15% or 4.3 million kilowatt-hours annually, while it will also conserve 71% for water consumption or 29 million liters annually through collection and recycling of rain water and condensate water.

Ayala Land, Inc. for its part, has already secured LEED certification for its four-storey office building in Sta. Rosa Laguna dubbed One Evotech.

“I think it will be good for the environment and top of that, it reduces the operating costs also,” Ayala Land President and Chief Executive Antonino T. Aquino separately said.

Its energy consumption was measured at 74 kilowatt-hours per square meter, below the average for Southeast Asia.

One Evotech is claimed to provide 14% energy cost savings for its tenants.

“It is a win-win solution, a double bottom line,” Mr. Aquino said. -- Neil Jerome C. Morales

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