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Int’l pressure mounts for more ‘green’ buildings in PH

/ 11:03 PM June 22, 2012

THE ZUELLIG Building in Makati

The construction and real estate industries have been called to shape up for the environment. While industrialization has long cast a gray pall over the planet, wealthy nations have also long been made aware of the consequences and have been implementing “green” building initiatives with international green rating systems.

The Asia-Pacific region is catching up in terms of these initiatives. The scale, pace and general trend of recent construction efforts have been geared toward efficient commercial real estate that complies with green building codes.


CBRE Philippines cited that an increasing number of building owners are retrofitting and upgrading existing buildings to improve their energy efficiency and environmental performance, among other things.

Now, there’s mounting pressure from the international business community, especially from foreign investors, on local locators to offer more green buildings in the country.


Joannie Mitchell, director for CBRE Philippines’ global corporate services, announced to the press during the June 20 mid-year report that international companies trying to invest in the country are looking for more environmentally sustainable structures to hold offices in.

Amid the presence of five LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design)-certified buildings in the Philippines and 58 more projects currently registered for LEED certification, more building tenants have been encouraging their landlords to retrofit their buildings to be environmentally sustainable. Some multinational tenants have required landlords to retrofit their buildings for the latter to be able to secure the contract to lease.

Increased demand

Mitchell added that there has been a business demand for more green buildings, and from the viewpoint of corporate social responsibility, a moral imperative to build environmentally sustainable structures.

CBRE Philippines maintained that the surge in the number of green buildings would support the robust growth of the country’s property sector market.

“Fortune 500 companies, multinational corporations, and even local firms now consider green initiatives as prerequisites in their day-to-day maintenance and operations,” said Rick Santos, CBRE Philippines chair and CEO. “Through our global networks and resources, we have been strengthening the drive toward sustainable development which, as pointed out in several studies, could also benefit not only developers and the environment but also end-users—tenants, employees and residents—in the long run.”

A local rating, a counterpart of the LEED certification, has already been established by the Philippine Green Building Council. Called Berde, the certification means Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence.


Another local rating has been formulated by the Philippine Green Building Initiative. This ratings body is composed of professional organizations such as United Architects of the Philippines, Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers of the Philippines, Philippine Institute of Interior Designers, Geological Society of the Philippines, Heritage Conservation Society, International Council of Monuments & Sites, the Philippine Society of Ventilating Air-conditioning & Refrigerating Engineers.

Rating system

LEED, meanwhile, is a widely used international green rating system developed by the US Green Building Council.

The five LEED certified buildings are the Asian Development Bank, Nuvali One Evotech, Shell Shared Services Office, and Texas Instruments in Baguio and Clark.

Among the 58 projects currently registered for LEED certification are The Zuellig Building in Makati; BTTC Centre in Greenhills (both precertified Gold under the Core & Shell Program); Megaworld 8 Campus Building in Bonifacio Global City (which is pursuing Silver Certification under the Core & Shell Program); and Wells Fargo Headquarters in Bonifacio Global City, which is seeking Gold Certification under the Commercial Interiors Program.

Country           Registered

India                  1,283*

China                 589

South Korea     126

Hong Kong      55

Taiwan             45

Malaysia          42

Singapore        42

Philippines     38

Japan              36

Thailand         31

Sri Lanka       23

Vietnam         18

Bangladesh   16

Pakistan        9

Indonesia     7

Nepal            6

Cambodia    2

Macau          2

Bhutan        1

Total       2,371

CBRE Global Sustainability Team chart showing LEED-certified projects in various countries. To date, the Philippines has 5 LEED certified projects and 58 under registration. The figures only cover projects under the LEED rating system.

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