Property developers going “green,” Italpinas project gets IFC’s green building certification

By Doris Dumlao Abadilla | Philippine Daily Inquirer

MORE property developers are seen embracing environmental sustainability features, with about 20 percent of all new construction in the Philippines likely to be certified as “green” developments in the next five years.

This is what the World Bank’s private sector arm International Financial Corp. (IFC) hopes to see with the introduction to the local market of EDGE – which stands for “excellence in design for greater efficiencies” – a simpler and more affordable accreditation system for developers to reduce energy and water consumption in their buildings while lowering greenhouse-gas emissions.

IFC global green building specialist Prashant Kapoor, the inventor of the EDGE system, talked about this new platform during Monday’s issuance of the EDGE accreditation to the twin-tower Primavera Residences project in Cagayan de Oro, the flagship project of boutique property developer Italpinas Development Corp. (IDC). This project is one of the first in the Philippines to obtain the EDGE certification.

Designed by architects Romolo Valentino Nati and Francesco De Luca, the towers feature a set of cantilevers that create a shadow from within, preventing direct sunlight from penetrating windows to keep indoor temperatures down. A green inner courtyard promotes natural ventilation by forcing warm air out of the building through the roof, which is lined with solar panels to power common areas.

The buildings will be maintained in an eco-friendly manner, promoting waste segregation, non-chemical products for cleaning, and bicycles, in addition to resource efficiency. Initiatives will be organized to increase interest among unit owners about the benefits of sustainable living.

With all its “green” features, IDC’s Primavera Residences project is seen to generate 33 percent in energy savings, 37 percent in water savings and 32 percent reduction in embodied energy in materials.

The first tower of Primavera, with 160 units, was completed in 2012 and the 166-unit second tower was completed in 2015.

“We are at the cusp of transformation or edge,” Kapoor said, noting that by offering a simpler and more affordable platform to encourage green design in construction projects, more governments and more private entities would adhere to sustainability features.

“Our vision in next five years is we want to see Philippines have 20 percent of all new construction to be green. That’s the challenge,” Kapoor said.

Kapoor said nowhere else did it make sense for construction projects to go green than in the Philippines, where the cost of energy was so high while economic growth rate was high as well.

“We found a rating system that matches our vision and it’s also a good way that developers can access EDGE. It’s not expensive. It’s user-friendly,” said Nati, who is also IDC’s chair and chief operating officer.

Jose Leviste III, president and chief executive officer of IDC, said having the EDGE accreditation also empowers investors and buyers “to ask the right question and demand the right diligence” from property developers in this day and age when it’s fashionable to claim to be a “green” developer.

“This does resonate for us as developer because what we want to do is to introduce design thinking at this particular market strata,” Leviste said, noting that unless consciousness on green building cascades to the bottom of the economic pyramid, there’s risk that the “green” movement could be perceived as an “elitist” thing.

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