Italpinas project gets IFC certification

GREEN builder Italpinas Development Corporation has received a green building certification from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, for the company’s Primavera Residences project in Cagayan de Oro.

For its eco-friendly design, the twin-tower, mixed-use development got the IFC’s Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE), company officials announced in a briefing Monday.

This makes Italpinas the second developer in the Philippines to get the mark.  The first was Imperial Homes, for its affordable housing projects in Batangas—the Tiarra Premiere Homes and the Delsey Homes.  Imperial Homes’ projects got the recognition early last year.

EDGE is a new green building certification system for emerging markets. Its goal is to prove that the next generation of buildings can be more profitable while making a lighter carbon footprint.

“To be able to qualify for certification, a new building must achieve a 20-percent reduction in energy, water, and embodied energy in materials compared [with] a conventional building,” IFC said during Monday’s handover rite.

Architect Romolo Nati, Italpinas chairman and chief operating officer, said the green building mark could further improve its projects’ take-up, which he described as already high.

“I would say that the occupancy of the units is quite high, because even if around 40 percent of our clients are overseas Filipinos—so they really don’t live there—with the access of a property management group, we are renting out their units for them, so that they’ll produce income,” Nati said.

The first tower of Italpinas’ Primavera Residences is already sold out, while the second tower is 80-percent taken up.

The first tower began construction in 2010 and was completed in 2012.  The firm began building its second tower in 2013 and completed it last year.

Nati emphasized that most units for the Cagayan De Oro project are literally occupied, as units bought by Filipinos who work or live abroad are being rented out to tenants.

Nati also expressed optimism that the EDGE certification would fulfil the firm’s goal of developing eco-friendly buildings for the middle-income market.

“So in some way, this is to prove that the stereotype that green building is very expensive has been broken,” Nati said.

Also, Italpinas President Jose Leviste III said the certification acknowledges what the firm has done and helps prove that green building is accessible to middle-market developers, as EDGE offers a more affordable certification.

“Relative to other forms of accreditation, EDGE is very mindful of excluding the cost of application as a significant factor,” Leviste said.  “That’s one good thing because it prevents us from seeing green accreditation as an elite certificate to pursue for only expensive developers to see.”

When asked if the certification will help increase property sales, Leviste said it might, and they are hopeful.

“It’s a positive thing. It’s a way of acknowledging what we’ve done.  So, yes, we hope so,” he said.

The newly listed firm also aims to have all of its projects EDGE-certified.

Nati said the company is in the process of applying for certification for its other Cagayan de Oro project, the Primavera City.

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