Published on 15 November 2012 [ manilatimes.net ]
Written by JAMES KONSTANTIN GALVEZ
Architectural and building industry groups are seeking the establishment of a green building code to produce environmentally sustainable structures that would help reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions in the country.
Heherson Alvarez, commissioner of the Climate Change Commision, said that building industry groups came up with the resolution to have a unified green building standards and a viable green rating system, following the two-day Asian Technoforum on Sustainability on November 8 to 9.
He stressed that there is an urgent need for buildings that are environmentally friendly and efficient in the use of space, energy and water—noting that buildings account for 39 percent of carbon dioxide emissions globally.
“In the Philippines, the building sector is the second largest carbon dioxide emitter next to the transport sector,” Alvarez said.
“It is high time that our engineers and architects should put their words into action being men of precise calculation and numbers. A paradigm shift must be made to green buildings and bring the Philippines up to global standards in sustainable buildings and construction techniques,” he added.
Architect Michael Ang of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP), who is also the conference director, announced that the calls and recommendations made by Alvarez will be heeded by the industry with urgency.
Ang also asked Alvarez to guide the builders group in setting the target for an annual carbon dioxide emission reduction by next year.
To help cut carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas pollution, Alvarez encouraged the participating organizations from across Asia to replicate best practices.
He said that the Philippine Green Building Initiative (PGBI) and allies should study, adopt or modify the green standards established by Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA).
“As a small island city-state with limited resources and growing needs, Singapore is using its land, water, energy and other resources in the most efficient, prudent and pragmatic ways,” Alvarez said.
He also said that Singapore’s sustainable development program has set a target of achieving an 80 percent compliance with its BCA Green Mark certification rating by 2030, and an energy efficiency target of 35 percent reduction from the 2005 level by 2030.
Alvarez said that PGBI should establish a working group to look into US developments on zero energy commercial buildings or zero energy buildings (ZEBs) that “use no more energy over the course of the year than it produces from on-site renewable source.”
“Newly constructed ZEBs on the US Pacific coast are gaining wide international attention from engineering and conservation groups,” he said.
ZEBs are constructed using readily available technology, with an integrated design as well as mechanical and electrical systems that achieve high levels of energy efficiency.
The industry groups must start crafting proposed legislation that will establish a national green building code. The proposed code should include an evaluation process and rate buildings as to their sustainability, site development, energy use, water consumption, natural lighting quality, use of green materials, and other vital considerations.