Gov’t urged to recognize BERDE rating

Posted on October 27, 2011

A BUILDERS’ group is urging government to recognize a local rating system for environmentally friendly structures, saying incentives should be granted to those that meet the standards.

The so-called Building Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence (BERDE) rating should be used on a national scale, industry players said in a forum yesterday.

“BERDE is now being looked at as a tool to help transform the Philippines into a greener economy. In the long run, we believe BERDE will also help in the creation of greener enterprises and jobs,” Christopher C. Dela Cruz, president of the Philippine Green Building Council said at the Building Green Conference.

The group is currently in talks with the Energy department on the further use of the rating scheme which reportedly took consideration of the impact of the tropical storm Ondoy on Metro Manila.

“They’re looking for systems out there they will promote and possibly adopt. BERDE is one of them,” Mr. Cruz said, adding that proposal for awarding fiscal incentives are being discussed since many big players are reportedly adopting the BERDE standard.

Four structures, currently being constructed, are set to be the first BERDE-certified buildings: office complex Net Lima, De La Salle University’s Henry Sy, Sr. Hall, First Balfour Corp.’s corporate office, and Federal Land, Inc.-developed Grand Hyatt Hotel.

The 28-storey Net Lima, owned by developer The Net Group, is the first of a three-building complex dubbed The Net Metropolis. Net Lima will feature a special glass aimed at reducing air-conditioning costs, and systems that recycle condensate water.

Construction firm First Balfour’s two-storey corporate headquarters, meanwhile, was built in Sucat, Parañaque City on a previously developed lot, instead of virgin land.

“BERDE jives with our environmental policy, and we feel it is part of our sustainability initiatives in the communities we operate,” said Levi B. Agoncillo, First Balfour assistant vice-president for business development.

“That’s what’s lacking in the country today: concrete government support for green building initiatives,” Maria Cristina S. Samson, The Net Group executive vice-president, said at the conference sidelines.

In the meantime, more people are being trained to give out BERDE certifications, Michael Roberto P. Reyes, BERDE technical management board chairman said at the conference.

Around 200 people have attended the council’s 12 training courses in Manila and Cebu since February this year, he said. -- Franz Jonathan G. de la Fuente