17 Highly Sustainable Office Buildings in the Philippines

Several office buildings in the Philippines are now LEED or BERDE certified, built with efficient systems for saving energy and water, managing waste, and recycling.

The current workforce is constantly adapting to the changes to meet the rapid demands of the advancing world, and so are the buildings and infrastructure. A substantial percentage of global carbon emissions comes from construction projects and buildings. With sustainability becoming a bigger issue in the Philippine corporate landscape, there is a pressing need to build more green buildings, a need that big property players are filling in.

These eco-friendly offices have various sustainable systems to help reduce their carbon footprint while offering multiple benefits from a business st

The Philippine Green Building Council (PHILGBC), with the Department of Energy (DOE), launched the Philippine Energy Efficiency Project (PEEP) to promote energy efficiency and sustainability through various residential and commercial projects by private and public sectors. DOE also adopted the Building for Ecologically Responsive Design (BERDE) as a response to the needs of the Philippines’ building industry in addressing the negative impacts of climate change. 

BERDE is the Philippines’ representative to the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) and its local counterpart is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification of the United States.

In the Philippines, buildings can qualify for four LEED Certifications: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. They will be evaluated in the following areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials and resources selection, indoor environmental quality, and design innovation.

Meanwhile, GREEEN (or Geared for Resiliency and Energy Efficiency for the Environment) is a Green Building Rating System that provides a voluntary, code-based, environment-responsive set of criteria to evaluate newly constructed buildings undergoing major renovations.

Here are some existing green buildings in the Philippines that deserve their commendation.

Zuellig Building (Makati)

The Zuellig Building is the first building in the country to get a gold level LEED-CS (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – Core and Shell) certification, which has now turned Platinum. A game changer in the architectural field in the Philippines, it is a 33-floor, all-glass building with low-emissivity (Low-E) glass system that helps lessen solar heat gain while maximizing natural light. This floor-to-ceiling panel allows daylight to illuminate almost 90% of the building’s interior. It has a dimming system to adjust the intensity of the light; and heat, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system to regulate outside air flow ensuring superior indoor air quality. These control systems help reduce the building’s overall energy consumption by 15 percent.

The building, installed with premium drainage and irrigation system, also has a rain catchment facility which recycles water condensation, saving nearly 29 million liters yearly.

Home to several floors of different offices, the Zuellig Building also has a centralized paper recycling facility.

Robinland Business Center (Cebu City)

Robinland Business Center (RBC) is the first utility-efficient and eco-friendly IT building in Cebu. Due to the design of the building’s façade, the light that enters is less intense, hence lessening the need for air conditioning indoors. It also has an energy-efficient lighting that ensures lower utility expenses.

RBC has a waste management system and a sewage treatment plant (STP) that recycles water for sanitation and irrigation use. Robinland is also the first and only IT building in Cebu that offers a relaxing panoramic cityscape and sea view.

Sun Life Centre (Taguig)

Sustainability is a core value for Sun Life employees. As the first awardee of a Gold LEED certification in the country, they are working towards a brighter and greener future.

The Sun Life Building uses double-glazed windows that block heat while letting in natural light. Motion sensors help regulate electricity consumption, and carbon dioxide (CO2) sensors drive out pollutants to maintain the quality of indoor air. The building, similar to other eco-friendly offices, has a rainwater harvesting method that retains, stores, and treats water for reuse.

Asian Development Bank (Mandaluyong)

Asian Development Bank (ADB) is also a Gold LEED certificate awardee.  It uses mostly eco-friendly and locally bought materials. Full and partial shielding help keep out outside light pollution.

Aside from having a water-efficient landscaping, the property also has a rainwater-harvesting facility. Stormwater management and sewage treatment plans result in 100-percent utilization of non-potable water.

The building itself has a cooling tower management, which detects bio-fouling problems in ACs and ensures safe cooling. Solar panels provide approximately 3.5 percent of ADB’s power needs, reducing the building’s greenhouse gas emissions. The 3Rs—reduce, reuse, and recycle—are heavily implemented as part of its Green Cleaning Program.

ADB extends the green lifestyle to everyday commuting. Trees shade open car parks, while sensors in parking garages monitor and control the lights and regulate the exhaust systems. The paved roadway around the building has high solar reflectance index. Management also encourages carpooling and the use of public transportation.

ArthaLand Century Pacific Tower (Taguig)

ArthaLand Century Pacific Tower is the newest glass-and-steel building to rise in BGC. The design of this visually refreshing glass building makes it look transparent from the outside. Double-glazed Low-E glass panes keep heat out while letting in natural light. Also contributing to its eco-friendly nature are the rainwater collection system and low-flow fixtures.

ArthaLand Century Pacific Tower is both LEED Gold certified and BERDE registered.

8 Campus Place – Building A (Taguig)

Currently named after its main tenant Wells Fargo, 8 Campus Place – Building A, is the first LEED Gold certified building for business process outsourcing companies in the country. It encourages the occupants to use public transportation by reducing the number of parking slots and providing shower facilities, and also has accommodations for bicycle storage. The building has efficient plumbing fixtures resulting in 45 percent less water usage. Non-potable water is used for plant irrigation.

The wide-glass architecture has double-glazed gas-filled insulated glasses to reflect the sun’s heat away from the building, requiring less air conditioning (AC). CO2 sensors guarantee good ventilation throughout the building.

The building is partly constructed using materials that are recycled and are locally available. Materials and paints used are low in volatile organic compounds (VOC), making them less harmful to both the environment and the tenants.

Megaworld’s Property Management office works closely with Facilities Analysis & Controls, Ltd. to ensure the energy systems installed within the building functions properly and efficiently for many years.

BTTC Centre (San Juan City)

BTTC Centre is the first green building in Greenhills, San Juan to receive a Gold certification under LEED. This green building uses double-glazed glass or insulated glass unit (IGU), which helps regulate and maintain the temperature inside the building and lessens AC use. The building’s walls also insulate heat through a green feature called the Exterior Insulated Façade System (EIFS).

Another innovation of BTTC Centre is the use of a power regenerating electrical system for the elevators. In the event that an elevator is not fully loaded, some of its energy will be converted back into the building’s electrical system. AC units have a variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system that allows less electricity use when running the compressors.

The building also has a water system and sewage treatment. Rainwater and wastewater are gathered and processed repeatedly for other uses.

Shell Shared Services Office (Makati)

Shell Shared Services Office is a 24/7 operating service center for 2,800 employees. It is the first LEED project in the Philippines to achieve Silver certification.

The office invested in off-site wind energy to account for 100 percent of the building’s power consumption. The building also uses low-flow water fixtures and treats all wastewater for landscaping and toilet flushing.

Reduction of energy consumption is the main objective of this green project. Some of their efforts to achieve this include glare-free fixtures, dimmable fixtures connected to the daylight sensors of the building’s periphery, and presence detectors for office spaces. Through these sensors, the building’s outside lights automatically turn off during daytime and indoor lights turn off when a room is unoccupied, reducing overall energy consumption by up to 37 percent.

The building also implements the use of low-VOC materials and environment-friendly housekeeping practices.

Nuvali One Evotech (Sta. Rosa City)

Found in the country’s first and largest eco-city development, Nuvali One Evotech’s effort to develop a sustainable design has earned it a Silver LEED Certification.

Tenants in One Evotech enjoy 14 percent lower energy costs as consumption is only at 74 kilowatt-hours per square meter compared to Southeast Asia’s standard 200 kWh/sqm. Its other green features are its eco-friendly location, water and energy efficiencies, bike ramp, and sun baffles.

Ore Central (Taguig)

Ore Central is a 30-story sustainable building certified by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA). A LEED Gold certification recipient, one of its green features is the double-glazed curtain wall that prevents heat while disseminating natural light. The building makes use of a VRF system in its AC units to help maximize fresh air. Recycled and harvested rainwater maintain the green decks built to ensure good air circulation on every floor.

One World Place (Taguig)

One World Place is a Class A building and PEZA-registered IT park. A LEED-registered building with a silver rating, it is a 31-story premium office with a curtain wall façade that has unique monsoon windows. These windows allow the outside air during rainy season into the building guaranteeing natural ventilation to its public spaces.

One World Place also has a rainwater collection and gray water system, a VRF AC system, as well as a solar-reflective coating in its efficient insulated glass for efficient energy use.

Laguna Lake Development Authority Building (Quezon City)

Laguna Lake Development Authority is the first-ever government green building in the Philippines. This project earned a LEED certificate and a possible three-star rating from BERDE.

The stilted building is connected by bridges with ground-level parking space to lessen its ecological footprint and avoid damaging the existing biodiversity. The building maximizes the natural daylight through shallow widths and light shelves, also reducing the need for electric lighting. Air conditioning cools only 69 percent of the building, although all rooms have the option for natural ventilation. The building’s design also includes a rainwater catchment system.

The site presents a wetland that represent the ecological process happening in Laguna Lake for educational and viewing purposes. The engineering of this wetland allows for on-site natural treatment of storm water and cooling of hot breezes.

Citi Plaza (Taguig)

Citi Plaza gets not just one but double LEED Platinum certification for its efficient use of water and energy and other environmentally-friendly features. It also got the Platinum certificate of LEED for Commercial Interiors. This 27-story tower in BGC is the largest building in the country, offering a gross leasable area of 49,000 square meters to get the LEED Platinum recognition for its Core and Shell design. 

This sustainable building features Low-E energy-efficient double-glazed windows and a 4.3-meter floor-to-ceiling height. During this building’s construction. The lights in this building have occupancy sensors so that unoccupied office spaces are dimmed to reduce energy consumption. Movement turns the light back on to optimum levels. 

Around 95% of the waste was recycled. Types of paints, adhesives, sealants, carpets, and furniture is chosen for this project have low volatile organic compound content resulting in an indoor environment with lesser airborne pollutants. All materials used in this building are sourced from environmentally responsible manufacturers and suppliers. 

Unilever Bayanihan Project (Taguig)

Another LEED Platinum certification receiver is the Unilever Bayanihan Project in BGC. This building is notable for its natural light maximization, temperature control, and trash segregation features. This project got top scores under Sustainable Sites and Water Efficiency and perfect ratings in subcategories such as optimized lighting power, equipment, appliances, construction waste management, and recycled content.

Texas Instruments Philippines Clark (Pampanga)

This facility received Gold LEED certification in 2010. The Texas Instruments Philippines Clark is notable for its reflective roof with a section of vegetative roofing, which helps reduce the heat and water runoff in the facility. It uses a desiccant wheel air cooling system to produce dehumidified cooled air. The facility also has an automated lighting system with sensors to take advantage of natural daylight. The water used for flushing in this facility is reclaimed water. During the construction of the Texas Instruments Philippines Clark, 96% of the construction waste is recycled.

Pioneer House CDO (Cagayan de Oro)

Another LEED Platinum-certified building in the country is the seven-storyhigh Pioneer House CDO. This highly-sustainable building is found on Don Apolinar Velez Street corner Mabini Street in Cagayan de Oro. It has 100% LED lighting, energy-saving elevators, fuel-saving generators equipped with noise suppressors, and shower facilities for employees and tenants who walk or cycle to work at the building.

Bench Tower (Taguig)

The Bench Tower in The Fort is another LEED Gold-certified building in the country. Some notable things the people behind Bench Tower did to make this building highly sustainable are using Low-E double glass walls, LED and CFL lighting, and low-water flushing systems. The building also has several green pockets.

Main photo via Depositphotos

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