THE PHILIPPINES is undergoing an unprecedented rise in construction activity. This is a welcome development for architects and the construction industry as a whole. However, this is not necessarily a positive development for the environment. As we know, many projects and developments are not green and sustainable. And yet, many developers market their projects as ecologically-friendly, without any justification.
How do we know then whether a building or project is green or not?
By developing standards and a rating system that will classify projects objectively, to protect the public and ultimately the environment.
In this regard, a group of professional organizations have banded together to form what is now known as The Philippine Green Building Initiative (PGBI), an objective, impartial body dedicated to developing a locally adopted rating system based on internationally accepted standards for green buildings.
The PGBI is tasked to review, evaluate and rate buildings as to their sustainability in terms of site development, energy use, water consumption, improved indoor air quality and use of green materials, etc.
Purely professional organizations
The member organizations of PGBI are the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP)?President architect Ramon Mendoza, with architects Emelito Punsalan and Amado de Jesus; the Philippine Society of Ventilating Air-conditioning & Refrigerating Engineers (PSVARE)?past presidents of PSVARE and founding members of PGBI engineers Larry Punsalan and Dave Farala and incumbent PSVARE president engineer Danny Duya.
The Philippine Chapter of the American Society of Heating Refrigerating & Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)?President engineer Jim Bata; the Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers of the Philippines (IIEE)?President Greg Guevarra, the Philippine Institute of Interior Designers (PIID)?architect Arlen de Guzman; the Geological Society of the Philippines?Redempta Baluta; the Heritage Conservation Society led by President Gemma Cruz-Araneta and the International Council of Monuments & Sites (Icomos) led by President architect Augusto Villalon.
The PGBI was formed by PRC-accredited professional organizations led by their presidents so they can take the lead in developing standards which shall form the basis for the rating system.
The PGBI structure allows objectivity and sustainability since the incumbent head of each professional member organization will always be a part of the rating body.
There is no conflict of interest in the setup of PGBI since the professional organizations do not own any of the proposed projects that will be rated.
The Green Architecture Movement of the UAP serves as the pool of speakers and researchers for the PGBI.
PGBI green goals
The Philippine Green Building Initiative seeks to promote sustainability in the built environment and raise environmental awareness among developers, designers and builders when they start project conceptualization and design, as well as during construction and retrofitting.
It seeks to encourage the adoption of green building technologies developed, designed and approved by the Philippine professionals in the building industry.
A system of awards and recognition will be set up to encourage the design and construction of more green buildings.
It will set up the program for the continuing education of the Philippine Green Building professionals system.
Climate Change Commission
Secretary Heherson Alvarez, presidential adviser on global warming and climate change, seeing the dedication of PGBI, has tapped the group?s expertise and has included it in the National Framework Strategy for Climate Change.
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