Sustainability and Green Building in Focus at POCB Anniversary Event

In an extraordinary session of the Philippine Overseas Construction Board’s 44th Anniversary event, held on June 24 2021, an incredible line-up of speakers has delivered a memorable sequence of presentations underlining the necessity and new awareness about sustainable development and green building with the preservation of our ecosystem as the priority. 

This exclusive afternoon session was held in partnership with the Infrastructure and Construction Focus Group led by Italian entrepreneur and public relations expert, Mr. Lorens Ziller. His speech opened the webinar and reminded the audience of the opportunity this particular moment in history is giving us: to reshape, reorganize and review our relationship with nature towards a more sustainable future. The Focus Group has years of history in organizing events and conferences within the construction industry and provides strategic information and business opportunities to its partners and sponsors.    

Arch. Felino Palafox, the country’s most famous urban planner and sustainable development advocate was one of five speakers all aligned on defending the importance of a green mindset. He also pointed out how connectivity has surpassed location as the most important metric for real estate development. This means the underlying infrastructure is the essence of what comes next and when the dots are connected economic growth and the well-being of the citizen are guaranteed.  

Another speaker and thought leader of green and sustainable design in the Philippines was the Italian Architect Romolo Valentino Nati, Chairman and CEO of Italpinas Development Corporation who recalled how, when he came to the Philippines in 2008, green architecture was still a niche market and how he dared to start his first mixed-use green building project in the southern city of Cagayan de Oro, in Northern Mindanao.

Both Primavera Residences and the Primavera City project are now a landmark of the capital of Misamis Oriental. After more than 10 years and several projects under construction that have been very well received by the community, he has proven that green architecture with passive green design features are a new strategic asset for new homeowners as they offer a healthier living environment within the framework of a green lifestyle. Italpinas’s upcoming project, Miramonti Residences in Sto Tomas, Batangas is yet another example of green building inspired by nature with passive green design features as well as solar panels for energy savings. 

As an inspiring thought leader in the field of green design Arch. Nati is a true inspiration for the many young design professionals who are looking at “Green” as their ‘leitmotif’. 

The President of the Energy Efficiency Alliance, Mr. Alexander Ablaza introduced and explained the energy efficiency law that came into effect this very April 2021. With his vast experience in Asia and with the World Bank as well as with ADB he underlined that there are a lot of investments flowing towards ESG-inspired developments. 

ESG is the acronym for Environmental, Social, and (Corporate) Governance, the three broad categories, or areas, of interest for what is termed “socially responsible investors.” Ablaza firmly believes that energy efficiency will guarantee an enormous amount of jobs for Filipinos in the near future as this topic is going to play a big part in the planning and maintenance of infrastructure and construction developments. 

Sylvester Wong, a masterplanner and the Vice-President for Cities of AECOM, one of the world’s leading engineering and design companies, excited the audience with a truly distinguished talk about how planning and design is modelled around people and data. He asserted that “the new competitiveness is sustainability, data and creating value for communities.” In Asia other than the regulatory framework it is the values of the people that are the most important together with the outcomes of sustainable planning. 

Nature has become the new center of gravity and connectivity enables designers to create revenue generating capabilities with the planning of communities. Digital infrastructure and data, together with new technologies are multipliers for value, revenue and opportunity for the citizens of these spaces. 

During the following Q&A session, moderated by the former executive director of the Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines, Arch. Ramon Abiera all parties convened on the necessity to turn to a green economy and about the great opportunities that this is bringing to SMEs and young professionals in the Philippines, especially those who are willing to jump on the train of a sustainable future. 

Finally, many countries will turn to Filipino companies to outsource professional help and consultancies in the field of the green economy provided that the know-how and technologies are acquired at this fertile time. The event was closed by the executive director of POCB Doris Gaucho thanking for the vibrant 2 hours that brought together knowledge, ideas, inspiration, and hope for a brighter future for Filipino SMEs. The replay of the event can be watched on the Facebook page of the Philippine Overseas Construction Board as well as the one of the Infrastructure and Construction Focus Group.

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