A lot owner in a southern city was asking preliminary questions about how to go about building green on his property in a commercial area. Luckily, the friend he asked happened to be an officer of the Philippine Green Building Initiative, a building rating body.
Off the cuff, the PGBI member told his friend how important it is to provide a healthy environment for the building occupants to ensure their wellbeing and consequently their high productivity.
A green-certified building is also cost-effective and is a sound economic investment. It attracts customers because of its attractive low-energy use, among other things. Green building features have generally a five-year payback period.
How does a property owner start moving into the direction of building green?
Presuming it is a commercial building that he has in mind, it is important to target a high-performance outcome and an integrated design process.
The PGBI, together with the United Architects of the Philippines or the UAP, conducts the same seminars in the UAP National Headquarters and in the provinces for its members to be accredited green building assessors and designers.
The UAP has local chapters all over the country so it will not be difficult to find a UAP/PGBI-"acclimatized" architect and engineer.
It is important for the property owner to identify a good building team for an integrated design process, to include the owner, the architect, consulting engineers, estimators and the contractor. It all starts with clear goals. This is competently helped by the presence of a green-building-certified professional.
On the whole, the team has to discuss site orientation and conceptual strategies to manage solar and wind opportunities. Energy and water conservation are key topics in the discussion. Passive solar design will bring in the light and ensure good fresh-air change while providing excellent views.
Contemporary office environment is adaptable to changing technology and to present and future building needs.
Energy efficiency and conservation can be lowered by up to 60 percent with world-class energy efficiency. Water conservation considers gray-water systems, low-consumption fixtures and rainwater collection. Green roofs provide insulation, reduce storm water run-off, reduce urban heat island effect, and is a great area for employees to relax and get together.
Building design can celebrate local culture and promote local building material use, a very green strategy. The use of green materials is essential. Green construction practices are fine-tuned.
A well-designed building improves the local business and cultural fabric. It is sustainable also because it regenerates the city.
All this and more is promised to the building owner by the green building rating system.