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Green architecture boosts savings, living standard

ASIDE from preserving the environment, green architecture translates to potential savings and increases the overall standard of living, according to an industry leader.

Festival Mall in Alabang exemplifies sustainability and preservation of the environment in design.

The VI Group of Companies Chief Executive Officer Arch. Kaydee Marie Velasco highlighted the benefits of green architecture during virtual housing forum on Thursday hosted by The Manila Times titled, “PH Housing Outlook: Fostering Urban Development.”

She defined green architecture as the practice and discipline that incorporates sustainability and preservation of the environment in design, which promotes the environment and health through the use of materials and solutions that minimizes the harmful effects of a development.

Green architecture adheres to seven principles — the location and surroundings, energy efficiency, water efficiency, material efficiency, indoor air quality, waste reduction, and low maintenance costs.

Velasco said that practicing green architecture could translate to potential savings as it involves energy saving, cost saving and a lower cost of construction, among others.

“With the energy savings and the [tax] incentives that hopefully all the cities and municipalities can give…it would lower the cost in all aspects,” she said.

She cited Quezon City, where the local government gives incentives to developers who would be constructing “green” buildings by giving tax cuts.

The city’s Green Building Ordinance of 2009 requires “the design, construction or retrofitting of buildings, other structures and movable properties to meet minimum standards of a green infrastructure, providing incentives thereof and for other purposes.”

Under Article 4, Section 17 of the ordinance, those who construct a “green” building or rehabilitate or retrofit a building to make it “green” would be entitled to make use of the green building tax credit.

Velasco further said that green architecture has the potential to create more jobs and save on operational costs.

To make this possible, SME’s (small and medium-scale enterprises) can practice sustainability by using environment-friendly materials, practice energy-saving measures, recycling materials, digitialization of real estate and making use of technology to reduce carbon footprints.

She said that green architecture also promotes health and well-being and gives back to nature. She cites buildings that are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and BERDE (Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence) -certified, and even township projects produce more energy-saving utilities for lessees or tenants.

Velasco proposed ways on how the government could help bolster the housing sector in the country, which includes giving tax incentives for sustainable development, eased process of acquiring requirements, granting provisional license-to-sell, extending VAT exemption for properties set to end in 2021 and low financing rates for housing and the users.

She added that her company is among those aiming to address the 6.5 million housing backlog in the country by incorporating technology and digitalization in their developments.

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Article and Photo originally posted by The Manila Times last September 15, 2020 and written by Faye Almazan.