Developers urged: Build more green projects

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita October 25,2018 - 09:58 PM

David Leechiu,CEO of Leechiu Property Consultants,says that going green goes beyond just parks or masterplanned developments.
CDN PHOTO/JOSE SANTINO BUNACHITA

CEBU’S REAL ESTATE BOOM

Investments in the real estate industry in Cebu are forecasted to continue to boom in the coming years, but with more structures being built comes the added demand on the environment including water and energy among others.

This is the reason experts are pushing for developers to build green buildings and institute energy efficiency projects in their developments.

David Leechiu, CEO of Leechiu Property Consultants, said that going green goes beyond just putting parks inside townships and masterplanned communities.

“Masterplanned communities are not just about the nice parks, and roads, and sidewalks. We have to do better than that. We have to learn how to manage energy, water, waste, and refuse,” Leechiu said in a press briefing on Monday.

He said it is important to take note of this as urbanization, which prompts the construction of more and more buildings, is gonna continue in the coming years with more Chinese investors setting their sights on the Philippine property market especially in key cities like Cebu.

Energy consumption

Data from the Department of Energy (DOE) show that buildings account for a significant 36 percent of national energy consumption.

If this trend continues, the country’s greenhouse gas emission levels are also expected to increase.

Even other sectors like banks, which finance real estate projects, are recognizing the need for more energy efficient developments.

Jo Ann Eala, head of the Sustainable Energy Finance (SEF) Program of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), lamented that making buildings green is given little attention.

Nice to have buildings

She said that while green buildings are part of the global view of creating a sustainable society, it is still considered only as “nice-to-have” by many developers and businesses in Cebu.

What most businesses do not know, she said, is that going green can be very profitable.

“It should be part of long-term planning not only for the environment, but also for businesses who want to be around for generations. Green building innovations generate savings in energy and water consumption, promotes good health and well-being among employees, and lowers operating and maintenance costs,” Eala said.

This need becomes even more apparent when considering the natural environmental hazards in Cebu.

Things to watch out for

Eala cited a 16-city study of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), commissioned by BPI, which showed that there are some important things that Cebu needs to watch out for.

For one, there is saltwater intrusion in the underground water supply of the city which was caused by heavy extraction, due to the concentration of businesses in the city.

Landslides, rainfall

On the other hand, Cebu’s upland areas are also vulnerable to landslides and extreme rainfall.

“Cebu City’s opportunity lies in a long-term plan and development model that will disperse and diffuse climate risk. Cebu will require investments in climate resilient infrastructure and technology,” she said.

Even the law has recognized the need to promote green buildings.

The Philippine Green Building Code (GBC), enacted in 2016, when complied with, ensures resource efficiency in building design, construction, and operations among the code’s six components — energy efficiency, water efficiency, solid waste management, material sustainability, indoor environmental quality, and site sustainability.

“For new buildings this is mandatory, but only a few companies, developers and even government agencies are aware of the code,” said Eala.

SEF Program

Meanwhile, for their part, BPI has also been supporting businesses to be more environment friendly and profitable through their SEF Program.

Since they started the program in 2008 and until December 2017, BPI has disbursed more than P115 billion in loans for 151 energy efficiency projects, 79 renewable energy projects, and 61 climate resiliency projects.

P6.5B

In Cebu alone, the bank has disbursed P6.5 billion for 29 projects — 22 in energy efficiency, two in renewable energy, and five in climate resiliency.

Energy efficiency projects include replacing old air conditioning units and old lighting equipment to more energy-efficient equipment, among others.

Renewable energy projects are those that harness renewables like solar, hydro, and biomass; while climate resiliency projects are those that help businesses climate-proof their structures and buildings.

Aside from the actual loan, Eala said BPI also offers, as part of their package, consultancy services with experts in these fields.

Eric Luchangco, head of corporate credit products of BPI, reiterated their vision to help create a more financially inclusive country by making financial solutions more accessible to every Filipino, especially green financing.

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TAGS: Build, developers, green, more, Projects, urged
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