Green Building 101

What is green building? Green building is the practice of: increasing the efficiency with which buildings and their sites use energy, water, and materials. It is a move to reduce building impacts on human health and the environment, through better siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal (the complete life cycle of a building). This is according to the United States Office of the Federal Environmental Executive.

This movement originated from the energy crisis in the United States in the 1970s. Today, it considers environmental impacts and recognizes the environmental, economic, and social aspects of building.

In our country, we have a boom in the construction industry. Unfortunately, most of our municipalities have not considered the good effects that the “green building” code can give us. Senate Bill No. 3251 otherwise known as the Green Building Act filed by Senator Bongbong Marcos last year is an Act that will establish a national green building code and rating system. This bill seeks to attune the Philippines to the rising global standard in sustainable buildings and construction developments. Through this bill, Senator Marcos is hopeful that aside from establishing green building standards and a rating system, the government may also incentivize builders and owners by way of tax breaks and other benefits in exchange for their compliance with the said green building standards.

The Philippines faces two significant challenges with regard to environmental sustainability. First, energy prices represent one of the highest energy tariffs in the world. Therefore, a significant part of the population could face energy poverty, according to a study. Second, we are likely to be one of the most significantly impacted nations in the world from climate change due to the country’s long coastline and dependence on agriculture.

I hope that all municipalities in the Philippines collaborate and come up with a standard code so that the public will not get confused. We need to be united in our effort of establishing systems, guidelines and rules so that our country does not go wayward.

In order for the this Program to succeed, stakeholders must be involved in the development of policies. These are the owners, tenants, design team, developers, government, utility companies and the community. If they abide by the green building regulation, we will surely succeed in having a more eco-friendly environment.

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