Q&A: What Is a Green Building?

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In this edition of Lamudi Q&A, we explain what a green building is, and how it is beneficial to the environment and property owners.

Q: What is a green building?

A: A structure is considered a green building when it is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient during the time it is conceptualized, designed, and constructed, as well as when it is operated, maintained, renovated, and even when it is demolished.

Many assume this only involves environmentally-sound design and the use of eco-friendly construction materials and methods when building. However, the green concept actually applies for an structure’s entire life span.

Q: How do you make a building eco-friendly?

A: The objective of the green building philosophy is to make sure that a structure operates with a reduced impact on human health and the natural environment. A building is considered green when:

  • Its design is kept simple but smart, using eco-friendly materials and keeping the construction costs to a minimum
  • It efficiently uses energy, water, and other resources
  • It produces little to no waste, and does not cause pollution or environmental degradation
  • It protects the health of its occupants and increases their productivity.

Almost all facets of a structure can be made environmentally sound (green); from the insulating materials of the walls and ceilings to the types of water and air conditioning systems utilized.

While adhering to a green philosophy is most effective when applied during the time a building is conceptualized, existing structures can also be retrofitted to become environmentally friendly.

Q: How is a green building recognized in the Philippines?

A: For a structure to qualify as a green building, its construction or retrofitting must be validated by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in the United States. LEED is an internationally recognized third-party certification program that validates structures based on rating systems made for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings and homes.

In the Philippines, there is a local rating that serves as a counterpart of the internationally recognized LEED certification. It is known as Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence, or BERDE (which is Tagalog for “green”), and was developed by the Philippine Green Building Council (PHILGBC). It is designed to serve similarly to LEED, while also answering the specific needs of the local environment.

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