Green development has traditionally ranked low in the Philippines’ priority list, but increasing demand from multi-national companies is now driving a demand-led surge in LEED-registered buildings.
LEED, short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a green building certification used worldwide that is also now gaining traction in the Philippines.
Across the country, more real estate developers are adopting environment-friendly practices in commercial, industrial and residential projects. At present, there are 245 LEED activities in the country, with 61 projects having already obtained certification.
More will soon be joining the likes of Zuellig Building in reaching the highest standards of environmentally friendly construction. Located in the financial center of Makati, Zuellig Building was the first in the Philippines, and among the first buildings in Asia, to be Platinum-certified under the LEED program.
Just north of Manila in Clark Freeport Zone, a new city—Global Gateway Clark—is under construction that will eventually cater to 500,000 workers. Currently, One West and Two West office towers have been pre-certified gold and these buildings, along with a further three office towers, which are scheduled for construction later this year, are targeting a post completion certification of Platinum status.
Another major project—the Clark Green City in Tarlac province—will draw on expertise from the private sector to develop key environmentally friendly initiatives.
Japanese companies Hitachi Asia and The Power Grid Solution will work with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority to set up an energy management and storage system, a district cooling system, a total energy network system and a private utility company across 23,400 acres which will accommodate over 1 million residents.
The appeal of sustainable development
Such projects are a part of a bigger government vision to lighten the load on the congested National Capital Region and encourage more international companies to set up bases in the country. Clark, which has an international airport and connectivity to Manila, is emerging as the best location as the country’s new business hub.
Green credentials are becoming more important for new and existing developments if they are to gain traction with an increasingly sustainability conscious business community, according to Mark Williams, CEO of Global Gateway Development Corp., which owns and operates Global Gateway Clark.
“Green certification is much more than applying labels that add a positive image to real estate projects. From a business perspective, these certifications show that the investment has a higher asset value and is recoverable through reduced operating costs and higher return on investments,” Williams said.
“While energy savings is a direct advantage, it also has other benefits such as a greater company marketability and increased employee productivity,” he said.
While the Philippines still lags behind its Southeast Asian neighbors such as Singapore and Thailand in green initiatives, sustainability is now in the mind of developers when building new projects and retrofitting existing ones.
“The rapid expansion of the green building industry globally sets the bar high for the local real estate sector, and should ultimately encourage developers to keep up with the demand pressure for livable spaces as a result of increasing urbanization and the inflow of foreign businesses,” Williams said.