By Romsanne R. Ortiguero
THE burdensome cost of electricity is pushing more households to adapt sustainable living through the use of energy-efficient products in homes.
“The Philippines has the highest per kilowatt hour (kWh) rate in Southeast Asia so it’s not just because you want to jump in the bandwagon of sustainable living; it’s more of a necessity because electricity is so expensive. When people choose to live green or do energy-saving stuff, it is because they want to save money,” Philippine Geogreen, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Liza Crespo told BusinessWorld in an interview.
Latest data from the Department of Energy shows that the Philippines’ power rates continue to be the highest in Southeast Asia with P7.49 per kWh rate for commercial users and P8.90 per kWh for households.
Recognizing that more Filipinos want a green lifestyle but have limited ways to do so, Philippine Geogreen, Inc. — distributor of sustainable and environmentally responsible building products for the construction industry — recently launched a pop-up store in Powerplant Mall in Makati City.
“In our first few years, we just focused on commercial and industrial facilities, and this is the first year that we’re focusing on the residential. We have this residential showroom because we wanted them to be able to appreciate the products and to get know more about it,” Ms. Crespo said, explaining that energy-efficient products are gaining more interest among households especially since energy efficient products are not as expensive as before.
Among those featured in the pop-up store are Solatube Daylighting Systems, a tubular daylighting device that captures the sun’s rays through its dome, which is then directed down its tubes, and then delivered throughout a room.
Another is the Haiku fan of Big Ass Fans, which has the ability to circulate huge volumes of air for both small and big spaces with only an operating cost similar to turning on a light bulb.
The pop-up store also features the Atmospheric Water Generator, a device that extracts water from humid ambient air, which then renders water potable through multiple stages of filtration.
“We source the world for the best green products, and that’s what we basically brought here,” Ms. Crespo noted, adding that these top-notch products have won Green Awards.
“When we inspected the products, we wanted to make sure that the warranties are good. We’re all about longevity because that also goes hand in hand with our concept of sustainability; because if you use a product that is only good for three years, you would throw that in a landfill, and that’s not biodegradable so it’s not really good for the environment. For us, we look at the long-term,” Ms. Crespo said.
In next few years, Ms. Crespo hopes the Philippines would be able to catch up with the most environment-friendly countries in the world.
“Slowly, people are getting into it, and they’re finally seeing the light in going green. We still have a long way to go honestly, but we’re getting there. Like now, the products are more available and accessible to a lot of people, and all these other technologies are easier to purchase. I think we’re slowly starting to catch up. I’m hoping that this kind of awareness will pick up in the next few years,” she noted.
“We’re hoping that we bring it down to the mid-level that’s why we’re working with our suppliers to make it more accessible to everyone,” she added.
To encourage more people to use green products, Ms. Crespo said the government could start giving incentives or get tax rebates, similar to what is done in other countries.
“I hope that eventually, the government will look at it as an important thing to do in order to encourage people to go green,” she said.