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Building code being updated

Posted on July 24, 2013 10:28:59 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]
DAVAO CITY -- Review of the National Building Code has started, led by experts from industry and government and aimed of incorporating “green” technologies that promote energy efficiency, an official of a World Bank unit said at the sidelines of a forum here last Tuesday.
Noel N. Verdote, International Finance Corp.’s (IFC) sustainable energy finance operations officer, said the review group has started looking at provisions that could be amended or inserted in Republic Act No. 6541 to update it with the needs of the times in mind.
“The code is very specific on safety, not on energy,” he said at a press conference here on Tuesday on the sidelines of the Mindanao Energy Efficiency Forum.
“Buildings should be adaptive (to climate change), have to be efficient (in use of energy).”
Local governments, he added, must start formulating regulations that will encourage new building owners to adopt “green” technologies.
He added that building code amendments will eventually be submitted to the newly convened 16th Congress.
Government units, both local and national, can use the “carrot-and-stick” approach to promote use of such technologies.
In this city, for instance, the local government has adopted a law that encourages building owners to set up rainwater catchment areas.
Councilor Leonardo R. Avila III, author of the law, said he will ensure that implementing rules and regulations will be issued within the year.
“We are still studying that as we look into the experience of other areas,” he said in a telephone interview.
Some of the new buildings here erected by Manila-based property firms have adopted “green” technologies.
Villar-led Camella Davao, for instance, has announced that the fourth building at Northpoint condominium complex has a “Sky Court” -- a garden that allows the building to “breathe.”
Mr. Verdote said rising cost of electricity can persuade building owners to consider “green” technologies that reduce costs in the long run.
The problem, he admitted, is that many housing developers have not adopted the technology because of the perception that it could erode their bottom line.
“Anything that will not help them meet their rate of return (they will not adopt),” he added.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has partnered with four local banks, namely: Bank of Philippine Islands; BPI Globe BanKO, Inc.; BDO Unibank, Inc. and China Banking Corp. to extend loans to companies that adopt technologies for energy efficiency.
Mr. Verdote said these banks have been telling clients that adoption of such technologies can result in savings.
“It is just a matter of educating them,” he said. -- C. Q. Francisco    
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