The current health crisis may have distracted us from older problems that have plagued many cities in the world today. One of these is environmental degradation resulting from several malpractices.
To counter the consequences of our abuse of nature and its resources, we initiated some actions toward being “friendlier” to Mother Earth. Being “green-minded” is one of them.
We’ve heard jargons like sustainability and “green architecture,” which has created awareness among people about the value of protecting their one (and only) “home” through well-designed and planned buildings. In architecture, a “green building” is definitely not one with trees and potted plants all over it. It is one that is designed to reduce or eliminate negative impact on the natural environment, from its conceptualization to its construction.
In Cebu, Mandaue City leads the way in promoting awareness of sustainable practices in building design and construction. The city enacted its Green Building Ordinance in 2015 after the establishment of a Green Building Framework.
“Mandaue City’s Green Building Ordinance was the first of its kind in the country as it was the first green building ordinance to have adopted the BERDE Rating System in full,” said Crystal Cosedo of the city’s Office of the Building Official.
“The ordinance was drafted after 16 workshops participated by representatives from the Civic Society, the Academe, the Professionals, the Business and Developers group as well as from the Local Government Unit. The Green Building program was aligned to the Incentive Code of the City. With this background, we can surmise that this Board is the first of its kind in Cebu.”
“Mandaue City joined a governance reform program called the Performance Governance System (PGS) in 2012. With PGS, the city leadership was then looking for a performance-based incentive system. Mandaue’s Green Building journey started when our search brought us to the Philippine Green Building Council (PHILGBC), which is an independent, non-profit organization made up of businesses and organizations working in the building and construction industry,” explains architect Araceli Barlam of the Mandaue City Environment and Natural Resources Office (MCENRO).
Under the World Green Building Council, the PHILGBC is the largest green building movement in the country. Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence or BERDE is the rating system of the PHILGBC, a rating system for the Filipinos.
The Mandaue City Green Building Board is composed of the mayor, concerned representatives from government offices, stakeholders and the professional groups. It provides guidance in the development of appropriate rules and regulations for the implementation of the ordinance, support in the effective implementation for voluntary program, recommend appropriate level of performance, standards, and thresholds for the program, review and evaluate effectiveness of the policies, standards, and procedures identified, and to provide policy recommendations for the continuous improvement of the program.
With today’s celebration of World Architecture Day under the theme ”Clean Environment for a Healthy World,” the need for “green buildings” makes us reflect on our current building design practices.
This reminds us there is more to just following the hygiene protocols, made popular by the current pandemic, like wearing masks and washing or disinfecting one’s hands regularly to stay healthy. Yes, we also need to work with our architects to come up with buildings that will do less harm to the environment and promote cleaner cities.