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Fort tower poised to put Philippines in ‘green’ map

/ 08:59 PM June 03, 2011

FUTURE landmark represents both Taguig City’s forward vision and the latest generation of green and efficient buildings by The Net Group.

On paper, it looks radically different, ecologically and socially responsible.

And the company that will develop the project from the ground up guarantees that the reality will live up to the promise.

A “green” tower is being trumpeted as ideal headquarters for multinationals, and not just because its location is at the heart of the Bonifacio Global City central business district (5th Avenue corner 26th Street, BGC). The name of the project is Net Lima, and its development has set the property industry abuzz, even online.

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Net Lima is the first Philippine project of world-renowned Miami-based green architect Chad Oppenheim (the designer of the eco-friendly COR Tower in Miami). It also boasts of being the first certified green building in the Philippines by the Berde (Building For Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence) rating system. This local green building rating system was developed by the Philippine Green Building Council (PhilGBC), a member of the World Green Building Council (WGBC).

When completed, Net Lima will look radically different, a trademark of many Oppenheim works. It promises to be ready for occupancy by the end of 2011.

Net Lima will be developer The Net Group’s first green certified building. The Net Group is known in the property industry as the Philippines’ leading developer of boutique IT offices.

Ramon Fernando D. Rufino, executive vice president, told Inquirer Property that as Net Lima becomes the first officially Berde certified green building, another office tower developed by the company, the Net Park, as part of The Net Metropolis 5th Avenue, will also be Berde certified.

“Oppenheim was chosen and engaged by The Net Group not only for his talent, expertise, and advocacy for green buildings, but for his familiarity with our climate which is similar to Miami,” Rufino added.

Net Lima was conceptualized in 2007, but underwent different design iterations and location studies before the design and the location were finalized. The groundbreaking was held June 7, 2010.

Being Berde certified means the building exhibits ecologically sound strategies, programs and features in 11 key areas: management, land use, water, energy, transportation, indoor air, materials, emissions, waste, heritage and innovation.

Ecological firsts

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Furthermore, all members of the project team are now members of the PhilGBC.

THE FIRST Oppenheim masterpiece in the Philippines to rise at the BGC central business district

Net Lima, once completed, will feature the following ecological firsts:

To be completed by the third quarter of the year would be a building envelope consisting of sun shading and a full glass curtain wall featuring double-glazed low-emissivity glass, which reduces costs and energy use associated with air conditioning, which, according to the PhilGBC, is the largest and costliest energy consumer for a commercial building in the Philippines.

The (GRP) Fiberglass fuel storage tanks, which are already installed but not yet operational. This feature, expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2011, has built-in leak detection for generators used during power outages. Compared to industry-standard steel tanks, these tanks reduce the risk of leaks and contamination. They also have a life span twice as long and can easily be repaired and serviced.

By the third quarter, the harvesting of condensate water from A/C will be operational. Instead of wasting the condensate water, this is collected into a separate tank to be used for landscaping, cleaning and other needs.

Cold air recycling will also be operational by the third quarter. A portion of cool exhaust air is ducted to provide comfort cooling to the arcade area in front of the lobby

LEED or Berde?

TOO GOOD to be true? Wait until the end of the year if it lives up to the hype.

Rufino said, however, that there is no intention to secure a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for Net Lima.

“Berde is sufficient, since it is recognized as the green building rating system of the Philippines by the World Green Building Council, of which the Philippine Green Building Council is a member. LEED was developed by the US Green Building Council, which is also a member of the WGBC.”

The PhilGBC promotes design, construction and management methods that are ecologically and socially responsible, safe and healthy. More specifically, it transforms internationally accepted green building practices into a national set of standards that are adapted to the local conditions and environment. Compared to the US-based LEED system, Berde answers the ecological needs of Filipinos in their own environment.

“The PhilGBC … facilitates a consultative and consensus-driven process to create the Philippine Green Building Rating System called Berde. This was the best way to transform the market,” said Christopher de la Cruz, chair of the Philippine Green Building Council, in a statement.

‘Sick building’ no more

Rufino said green buildings have proven to contribute to increased productivity of its occupants. He explained that Net Lima has been designed and built to do just that. Occupants will benefit from workplaces with panoramic views accompanied by ample natural light, yet the heat inside the workplaces would be reduced through a high-performance façade system.

Even the parking podium features natural light and natural ventilation. Indoor air quality will be greatly improved with supplies of fresh air, which would address the “sick building syndrome.”

He added that the building would also efficiently use resources which will redound to savings in operations for tenants.

“For Filipinos, Net Lima will serve as an inspiration that green buildings can be designed and built here in the Philippines. Hopefully, this will lead to the development of new green buildings and the renovation of old structures to make them sustainable,” Rufino concluded.

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TAGS: Bonifacio Global City, Chad Oppenheim, environment, Green Buildings, Inquirer Property, Net Lima, Philippine Green Building Council (PhilGBC), World Green Building Council (WGBC)
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