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DPWH readies new green rules

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) hopes to complete a draft measure in June to make certain green building practices mandatory under the National Building Code of the Philippines.

At the “Green Building Imperative” forum organized by the International Finance Corp. (IFC) on Wednesday, Johnson V. Domingo, DPWH National Building Code Development Office acting executive director, said: “The work seeks to introduce mandatory green building regulations… for buildings of certain types and sizes. DPWH hopes to have a draft of a green building referral code by June 14.”

Mr. Domingo also said that the DPWH will conduct consultations with stakeholders from July to September.

The official said that the DPWH has been working with the IFC and the private sector to identify and address sustainable building issues. He noted that, to this end, a corporate agreement with the IFC was signed in 2013.

In a statement, the IFC said the updated building code would “set minimum green feature requirements for new buildings, save energy and water resources and support cost-efficient operations.”

The IFC noted that Mandaluyong City, with the organisation’s support, had passed a green building ordinance to provide incentives such as tax discounts on machinery and building improvements.

Mr. Domingo also said that the measures will improve the country’s resilience to climate change.

Green building, also known as green construction or sustainable building, is the process of adopting environmentally sound and sustainable practices in the design, construction, maintenance and operation of a building, the IFC said in a brochure provided at the forum.

According to Mr. Domingo, the DPWH projects P35.2 billion in savings for business and consumers by 2030 if efficient green building measures are legislated.

Currently, there are three Senate bills on green building pending at the level of the Committee on Public Works.

Senate Bill (SB) No. 2133, filed on Feb. 20 by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, proposes the creation of a Green Building Commission to study and draft a national Green Building Code.

SB 410, filed last July 3 by Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., similarly seeks to establish a Philippine Green Building Committee to oversee rating and certification. The bill also provides for fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for certified green buildings.

Meanwhile, SB 1928, filed by Senator Manuel M. Lapid last Nov. 18, seeks to establish green building management standards for government buildings.

Autiff Sayyed, green building specialist for the IFC, said at the forum that most of the buildings in the country consume more energy than in the United States, which is a country heavily criticized in terms of energy efficiency.

“Philippine buildings are actually using more energy per square meter as compared to typical US buildings. Similarly, in retail also, Philippine malls are using and wasting a lot more energy than US malls,” Mr. Sayyed noted.

He said, though, that schools and residential building in the country fare better in terms of energy efficiency.

“[As for] the education and residential buildings, the Philippines is doing much better, and I think that’s primarily because they don’t use much air-conditioning. Most of the schools do not have fully air-conditioned buildings, and most of the houses — even if they have air conditioning, it is not used all the time,” he added.

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