Going green ‘should not be costly or complicated’

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Friday, July 18, 2014


A GREEN architecture advocate believes the green rating systems available in the country today will not solve the problem on unsustainable construction.

“Green building rating systems will not save the world,” said Green Architecture Advocacy Philippines chairman Miguel Guerrero.

Instead, the architect stressed that being green should not be very costly or “too complicated.”

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In the Philippines, local rating systems include the Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence (Berde) of the Philippine Green Building Council, Geared for Resiliency and Energy Efficiency for the Environment (Greeen) of the Philippine Green Building Initiative, and the Green Choice Philippines of the Clean and Green Foundation Inc.

Berde follows 11 criteria for the rating system. These include among others Land Use and Ecology, Environmental Quality, Management, Heritage Conservation, and Innovation.

Meanwhile, Greeen adopts eight, including climate change resiliency, material sustainability, water and waste water management, and material sustainability.

Although Guerrero acknowledged that these green building rating systems pave the way for more buildings to become environmentally friendly with a huge consideration for energy efficiency and water management, he said the cost of the building evaluation itself is “high.”

Rating system

Under the rating system of the US Green Building Council, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (Leed), which grants Certified Leed, Silver, Gold, and Platinum ratings, the registration, design review, and construction review start at P153,000 down to P189,000.

Guerrero said that even if building owners will pay the amount, there will be no assurance that they will be certified if their buildings do not conform to standards.

Running green buildings, according to Guerrero, can reduce energy use up to 50 percent, carbon dioxide emission by up to 39 percent, water use by up to 40 percent and solid waste by up to 70 percent.

But in the past 11 years since the Leed was established, only six percent of the total number of buildings in the US availed themselves of the rating system, according to Guerrero.

“Cost, complexity, and resistance to change stop people (or building owners) into going sustainable,” Guerrero said.

He said sustainability should be practiced by everyone and the jargons of going green be eliminated.

He listed the procedures in 10 steps, which include: keep sun out, let light in, catch breeze, insulate roof, harvest rainwater, recycle wastewater, efficient lighting, thermal control, use of renewable materials, and if possible adopt alternative energy.

He said homeowners can already purchase in the market small solar panels that they can use to charge their phones and gadgets.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 19, 2014.

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