Property dev't takes green road

Manila Bulletin - January 03, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – 2010 glowed green for the local real estate industry, as more property developers followed the path of eco-consciousness and initiated new technologies friendly to the environment.

Energy preservation, sustainability and landscaping – those were on top of the list of the amenities which developers presented during the year. Even construction fairs and real estate-related events promoted themes for the environment, such as the 2010 World Building and Construction Expo (WORLDBEX) held in March last year which had the theme, ‘Constructing the future green communities through efficient technology and materials’. The expo promoted products and technologies that follow the global efforts of creating eco-friendly communities.

Among them were walls made from recycled products, light fixtures with the energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode), non-toxic paint materials, and other touches of green in the buildings, such as pocket gardens.

Whether it’s building technology, property zoning, or simply the landscaping of certain communities, property buyers saw a promising direction in the real estate industry: Green architecture.

Earth-friendly technologies

Property developer DMCI Homes has been promoting the Lumiventt design, building technology now known as the company’s signature. This architectural innovation integrates natural light and ventilation in their building designs. It allows the free flow of natural light and ventilation around the high-rise structures. First introduced in Tivoli Garden Residences in Mandaluyong, the technology is now benefiting some 200 families residing there.

With three-story high openings called Sky Patios at the front and back of every five floors, and through openings at the ends of each level, natural light and air permeates through the building and all the unit spaces. Wind passing around the structures creates areas of positive and negative pressure. Employing the basic principles of airflow, the introduction of the central landscaped atriums and large openings of the Sky Patios provide channels through which air can move. Fresh air flows in while stale or hot air is displaced or sucked out.

The Lumiventt technology is also applied in other projects such as Flair Tower in Mandaluyong, and La Verti Residences along Taft Avenue in Manila.

In other DMCI developments, all condominiums such as Illumina Tower in Sta. Mesa, make use of open corridor layouts units that open to a landscaped atrium instead of the next door neighbor’s door. This also allows air to flow freely, promoting natural ventilation and light.

Eton Properties, on the other hand, has the ‘green pathway’ in projects such as 68 Roces in Quezon City. These are patches of green that go around the community’s luxury townhomes, and provide extra space as jogging paths or well-landscaped pathways to go around the development. Aside from promoting these activities, the layout also allows fresh air to circulate freely around the units, and also promotes natural lighting – lessening dependence on artificial lighting and conditioning.

Another tower, the Sun Life Centre in Fort Bonifacio, was awarded a pre-certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Core and Shell Developments (LEED-CS), which means that upon its completion this year, the 14-story tower will be utilizing sustainable ‘green’ building practices and initiatives.

The plan will allow its corporate tenants and individuals to contribute to the reduction of their carbon footprint. Key feature of the plan is the utilization of double-glazed Low Emissivity Glass which will allow daylight in the building while blocking noise and heat from outside spending less on electricity consumption for light and ventilation.

Masterplanning for green

The real estate projects of 2010 can also be regarded as masterplanned to promote a greener landscape.

Much of the new developments were conceptualized to allot a significant part of their property to open spaces that have been landscaped to showcase a greener, more nature-friendly environment.

Timberland Heights of Filinvest Land Inc. for example, is being promoted to have nature as its backyard. The developer has even made a nature trail in the forests of Tanay, where the project is located. The property is now well-known among outdoors people who visit the mountains for the excellent biking and trekking trails.

Homes in Timberland create their own charm as farm lots and residents have eagerly complied. Today, there are vegetable gardens in many lots whose residents have not yet even moved in.

Another project of Filinvest, the Oasis communities of high-rise condos, create the landscape of famous vacation destinations places known not only as dream destinations, but a natural haven as well. These communities Capri, Bali, Maui, Sorrento and One Oasis were conceptualized to provide modest income families the chance to live their dream with projects that are enveloped with green surroundings through lush landscaping and choice amenities.

DMCI Homes’ La Verti Residences in Manila also have a 60:40 ratio when it comes to building area and open spaces, the latter gets the bigger share of the land. The open spaces are used for pocket gardens, jogging paths, and other nature-inspired amenities.

Robinsons Land Corporation’s Escalades South Metro under the Robinsons Communities brand, allotted almost 75 percent of the 2.2-hectare property to open areas used as ‘green’ spaces. This is made up of landscaped gardens, jogging paths, gazebos, activity lawn and meditative pond with water features.

Magnolia Residences in New Manila, on the other hand, was masterplanned to allot more green landscapes and gardens to entice residents and their families to go out their homes and enjoy outdoors.

Not only that, RLC’s mixed-use community set-up allow for a resident’s needs to be found in one convenient location lessening the use of cars which are known to be one of the major pollutants of the environment. Magnolia Residences will have its own mall and lifestyle centers.

Megaworld’s Manhattan Garden City in Araneta Center was given the distinction as one of the company’s sustainable township projects during the 1st Sustainable Building Technology Conference held last November at the SMX Convention Center.

According to their sustainability consultant, township developments like MGC are the perfect models for sustainable land use planning. Compact townships promote ‘densification over sprawl’ and transportation connectivity. Residents here are encouraged to walk from the home, to the mall, or their office.

Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc. went the extra mile for the preservation of the environment. Its projects Crosswinds in Tagaytay and Georgia Club in Sta. Rosa, are supervised by a special Greenscape team. This group is in charge of the landscaping of different Vista Land projects. The Greenscape Team makes sure that there is a concerted effort to maintain lush landscapes and rolling terrain amidst human activities. The group’s inputs shape the landscape of a community, determining which areas of the property will be built on.

In Georgia Club, old trees were spared during land development, so much so that the construction worked around the trees and left it untouched. In instances when they had to sacrifice a tree, the group actually “balls” the plant to transfer it to another spot.

Looking at the direction of these projects, property buyers are assured that despite the constant growth and development of the real estate landscape, we’ll be seeing more of the refreshing greens of nature’s architecture amidst the cold and often gray backdrop of modernization.

View details of Tivoli Garden Residences

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