Taking sustainability thrust seriously
The race to being green is on.
While the development of green buildings in the Philippines is regarded by some analysts as still being on its pilot stage, a great number of industry players have already begun to incorporate the so-called “green features” to tap the numerous benefits that sustainable structures can bring.
If before, the mantra was location, location, location, the numbers today direct investors to three things: certified sustainability measures, niche potential and the location’s future readiness—factors that are especially crucial in the residential category.
Property hunters are thus on the lookout for green structures that will not only deliver operational efficiency and environmental performance, but will also bear that authentic seal of sustainability.
Globally, there is a recognized standard for green buildings to ensure that the quantifiable sustainability measures are employed. The US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program is a pool of industry experts-led monitoring system that calibrates the building’s sustainability features.
In the Philippines, world-class boutique developer ArthaLand has built Arya Residences, the first and only top-end development to be registered under this LEED program in the residential sector. This top-end flagship project was built to achieve the Gold certification.
Based on the LEED standard, Arya Residences was designed to provide as much as 40-percent savings in potable water usage, and at least 14-percent savings in electricity usage. This projected efficiency stemmed from the integrated sustainability design features such that the towers will receive lesser heat, require less potable water to maintain, and use technology that provides residents the opportunity to reduce reliance on valuable resources.
ArthaLand is also a member of the Philippine Green Building Council (PhilGBC), the proponent of the country’s national green building rating system called Berde or Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence. And Arya Residences is currently the benchmark Berde project for vertical residential buildings in the country.
“Greening the real estate sector is a very important step for all the stakeholders in the industry. Standardizing the greening measures is a major step to encourage developers to take the sustainability thrust seriously,” said ArthaLand president and CEO Angie de Villa-Lacson.
“By cooperating with the PhilGBC in putting together the benchmark for green residential condominium, we believe that we are encouraging our peers in the industry to up the ante in integrating efficiency and responsible usage of resources in the developments that we build,” she added.
Lacson admitted that the greening of developments is a “tricky matter” and this is why ArthaLand, together with PhilGBC, would like to espouse the use of calibrated and strictly monitored sustainability procedures.
“Greening should go beyond the landscape greens and waste management. To fully reap the benefit of sustainability, developers should be able to measure the inputs and the outputs of the eco-friendly features that we build into our buildings,” Lacson explained.
Despite the proliferation of low and mid-market developments, it is notable that the top-end, luxury niche presents better prospects as an investment instrument, according to ArthaLand.
Citing the Philippine Real Estate Market Report released by Colliers International Philippines Research, ArthaLand said that in the first quarter this year, rental rates for a three-bedroom, high-end condominium at the Bonifacio Global City were up by 7 percent year on year, and are further projected to rise by another 6.33 percent in the first quarter of 2013.
These are the larger units and more luxurious apartments that are often preferred by quality expatriate tenants who are willing to shell out roughly $4,000 a month for a 250-sq-m three-bedroom unit.
And Arya Residences is poised to serve that demand, as it presents buyers with a “very attractive investment option given its strong position in the green and luxury segment.”
Rising at the prestigious McKinley Parkway at the BGC, the first tower of Arya Residences houses only about 300 units of one- to three-bedroom apartments, with cuts ranging from 66 sq m to sprawling 300 sq m. The second tower, which was recently launched, will house only about 200 units of two- to four-bedrooms with larger sizes ranging from 114 sq m to over 500 sq m.
“We are very bullish of the market prospects. We are confident that Arya Residences will provide a fresh and rich option for the wiser property investors,” Lacson concluded.