Towards sustainable green development in the Philippine setting

March 13, 2012 / By  

In recent weeks, the Philippines was in the headlines again when ran a story entitled, The Best Countries for Long-Term Growth, which was based on a report from HSBC, The World in 2050, citing the country as the world’s fastest growing economy in terms of the absolute size of its GDP over the next 40 years. The study prepared by HSBC examined the different economies which possess strong growth prospects in the future driven by inherent competitive advantages such as demographics, natural resources or geography.

This bright projection of the economic performance of the Philippines is complemented by the country’s efforts to introduce green or sustainable means of development. With the rising initiative to introduce environmentally-sensitive methods and technologies in construction, local stakeholders are now aware of the countless benefits which will result, not only in addressing the problems of climate change, but also in reducing construction and long-term property management costs.

In the quest to introduce improved systems of development, locally-available and ecologically-sustainable building materials to support effective construction designs have been re-discovered. The degree of energy efficiency and the ability to recycle other resources have increasingly become incentives to developers, as property management costs are significantly reduced.

The serious move to encourage sustainable development designs and buildings prompted the creation of a local ratings system called the Building Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence (BERDE) – the local counterpart of the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) design standards, in promoting green architecture and design. BERDE is aimed at considering the management (or upkeep) and heritage conservation of developments as well as formulating a unique metric – with emphasis on land use, storm water management, and access to mass transport systems – to measure the environmental impact in the context of the Philippines market and standards.

Various developers have decided to join this movement and several local governments have also given it their support by providing certain tax credits to encourage the development of effective and sustainable architectural designs, construction technologies, and property management systems. The success of this new type of development will certainly encourage more developers, with the help of local governments, to build better cities and communities. As the country is poised to become one of the more important players in the global economy, what is clear, for now, is that the success factors in maintaining the country’s competitive advantage are being enhanced by concerted efforts towards sustainable development.

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