Lamudi highlights sustainability and resiliency

Bhavna Sur esh (from left), chief executive officer of Lamudi; Angela Ibay, head, climate and energy program of the World Wide Fund for Nature; James Buskowitz, chief executive officer of Buskowitz Group; Arch. Amado de Jesus, vice chairman of the Philippine Green Building Initiative; Jaime “JJ” Fernandez, strategic management consultant of Menarco Development Corp.; Justine Santos-Sugay, director for resource development and communications of Habitat for Humanity; Aina Cruz, marketing manager of Lamudi

CLIMATE change is a global issue. It is one that is pushing the Philippines to act upon its weak spots and harness its strengths. “It’s inevitable,” Lamudi CEO Bhavna Suresh said at the media roundtable held recently in partnership with Holcim Philippines, and Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA). Though the country may be facing a dire situation, there is plenty to be done in response to climate change, from big, industrial efforts to small, household changes.

Lamudi reinforced their support for building resilient and sustainable cities with the first panel discussion, Sustainability Efforts for the Philippines of NGOs and Private Organizations. NGOs, private organizations, and green developers were represented in the discussion, which tackled the roadblocks to green development in the Philippines and determined the efforts already in place to steer the country into a greener future.

Highlighting resilience

“Most of our coastal municipalities want to be cities eventually. How do we push them toward not just sustainability but also push them to also look at measures that will make them resilient, as well?” Atty. Angela Ibay, head of the climate and energy program of the World Wide Fund for Nature, posed an important question at the roundtable.

In a country that is dotted with high-rise mixed-use buildings and humble coastal homes, the effort to save the environment is tightly coupled with the measures developers can take to safeguard the value of their legacy. One solution, something as simple as planting trees, encourages the growth of foliage and relieves some of the urban heat island effect our cities are experiencing right now. However, it is not enough.

Addressing roadblocks to sustainability

The Philippines has not been remiss when it comes to sustainable efforts. One of the problems developers and real-estate experts face, however, is misinformation or lack of dissemination at the grassroots.

One issue all Filipinos will relate to, especially in the Philippine capital, is the water shortage. Despite the typhoons that visit the country and leave damage in low-lying areas, there is water shortage because the rainfall missed the dams that are meant to supply water to the majority of the city. Ferdz de la Cruz, former chief executive officer of Manila Water Co. Inc., emphasized the urgency of the matter: “It’s up to us to make hard choices for us to be resilient. There are no easy choices at this point. For us to make that, we need to have a constructive dialogue and without the misinformation.”

De la Cruz also said the disparity in the supply and demand for water supply. According to him, “There are two issues on water—there’s the supply side and there’s the demand side. On the supply side, there is a road map of what needs to be done, but there are delays in the execution of the road map. There’s always opposition to a big water project.”

Sustainability in the commercial and industrial sectors

Much of the effort real-estate developers have put into sustainability can be seen in the commercial buildings they have strategically positioned in key cities. Jaime “JJ” Fernandez, strategic management consultant of Menarco Development Corp., mentions the savings Menarco Tower is able to pass on to its tenants through its sustainable design. According to Fernandez, “There is an estimate that the tenant will save about 20 percent in terms of energy consumption because the way the building is built is very efficient.”

Fernandez also highlighted the human aspect of thinking sustainable. “Prospective tenants would rather pay a little bit more rent” when they know the building will take care of their employees.

This, paired with de la Cruz’s observation that people will be more responsible if the problem pinches their bill, makes the case for green developments: rather than lose money in inefficient designs, developers, tenants and residents can save by prioritizing sustainability.

Trickling to the residential developments

“What color is your roof?”

A simple question sparked discussion in the roundtable’s second panel discussion, design and construction trends in real estate to build sustainable and resilient cities in the Philippines. It is not a pointless question either, as the simple selection of a white roof can already help a household save energy.

Lamudi’s CEO said climate change is not an isolated problem: “All of these inequalities that exist in the world today are getting heightened because of global warming.”


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