Will green building sustain its momentum in the Philippines?

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Though a laggard in Southeast Asia in terms of sustainability, the country is bumping up its LEED cred

Greenbelt Park in Ayala, Makati, Metro Manila. Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

The Philippines is on a greening streak. The country now has a total of 245 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) projects. Sixty-one projects, representing a square footage of 16.98 million, have already been LEED-certified in various categories.

Among them is the 47-storey BDO Corporate Center Ortigas, certified LEED Gold in the New Construction category last month. One World Place in Bonifacio Global City had been certified LEED Silver for Core and Shell a few days earlier.

One of the first buildings in Asia to be certified LEED Platinum is the Zuellig Building, situated in the financial hub of Makati in the Philippines.

Global Gateway Clark, a satellite city outside Manila, will be home to two pre-certified LEED Gold projects and three office towers aiming for Platinum certificates.

“Green certification is much more than applying labels that add a positive image to real estate projects,” Mark Williams, chief executive officer of Global Gateway Development Corporation, which owns the Global Gateway Clark project, wrote in a post for Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).

More: Japan leads Asia in sustainability

“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. While energy savings is a direct advantage, it also has other benefits such as greater company marketability and increased employee productivity.”

The ubiquity of LEED-registered structures does not, however, suggest that the Philippines is bounding forward in terms of sustainability. Manila ranked 96 worldwide on the latest annual Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index, compared with Singapore, at number two, and Kuala Lumpur, at 55.

The creation of domestic rating schemes, however, could foreshadow a more frenetic drive to green building among domestic developers. The Philippine Green Building Council runs a rating system named Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence (BERDE), which has received applications from 26 projects to date.

“While the Philippines still lags behind its Southeast Asian neighbors such as Singapore and Thailand, sustainability is rapidly coming to the fore when building new developments and retrofitting existing ones,” stated Williams.

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