Sustainability Defined: New Industry Player Champions Healthy, Highly-Efficient Buildings

Given the current health emergency, the real estate sector has been seeing shifts in market priorities, with most buyers demanding properties that are built to last and able to endure crises. Property developers have been stepping up to the challenge. In fact, some have been constructing energy-efficient and human-centered buildings even before these have become buzzwords in the market. I-Land, the real estate arm of ISOC Holdings, is one of those few.

Although a new player in the industry, the company has been at the forefront of developing high-quality, sustainable homes and offices in the last years. In the latest webinar Lamudi released, Quality and Sustainability: A New Player in the Industry Builds Both for the Filipino, the executives talked about their journey in championing properties designed with innovation in mind.

The webinar features panelists Michael Cosiquien, Chairman of the company; Jess Chua, President; and May Lopez, Vice President and Business Unit Head. Here are the show highlights:

Excellence in Property Development

“The overarching theme in all our verticals is innovation and sustainability,” Chua said. Since 2018, they have been building resilient properties, while promoting well-being in communities, Cosiquien added.

Lopez mentioned that all their buildings will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. The company’s first project is I-Land Bay Plaza, which is a premium office tower with a gross floor area of 25,000 square meters, located in MOA (Mall of Asia) Complex. I-Land Residences Sucat, on the other hand, is their first residential development, composed of six mid-rise buildings, situated along Dr. A. Santos Avenue in Sucat, Parañaque.

“This is the country’s first mid-rise development to be LEED certified,” she pointed out.

Harping on the core values of innovation and sustainability, the company has reviewed their residential design plans in light of the new normal.

Chua mentioned, “Unlike most conventional one-bedroom units, I-Land’s design actually provides balconies. This allows for more cross ventilation and fresh air to come to the unit.” 

Convenient, Accessible Property Buying

Given the challenges in client interface brought by community quarantine protocols, I-Land offered online solutions to cater to the market’s needs.

Chua said, “We have introduced virtual tours and we’ve beefed up our corporate website to allow for online payment.”

Aside from creating a convenient home buying process, I-Land has enabled more accessible homeownership. Even prior to the pandemic, the company has set the prices of their condo units within reach.

“It’s always been the mission of I-Land to democratize sustainability, allow more Filipinos to enjoy the benefits of a great design. That’s why from the get-go, prices have always been very accessible,” Lopez said.

She added, “During the pandemic, we’ve offered flexible payment terms with good discounts, also very affordable monthly installments.”

The Industry in the Time of Crisis

While acknowledging the challenges of the current situation, Cosiquien shared that they’re in a stable position because their business is aimed at addressing issues in the new normal.

“Long before sustainability has become a buzzword, we’ve already made it the guiding principle of our real estate developments. Now, we’re seizing the opportunities as homebuyers are recognizing the need for sustainable living in light of this pandemic,” he said.

Giving encouragement to buyers who need reassurance amid the crisis, Chua advised looking into the basic principles of property investment, which remain true despite the current situation.

He said, “Prime location, sustainability and future-proof design, quality construction–all of these boxes have to be ticked to ensure that your investment will last and generate long-term returns.” Chua assures the market that all these factors are present in I-Land developments, while asserting that real estate is a resilient asset class.

Lopez echoes these sentiments, emphasizing the homes of the future that their company is developing, while also mentioning that now is a good time to invest given the attractive discounts and interest rates in the market.

Meanwhile, Cosiquien urged fellow developers to focus on quality product and excellent service. 

He added, “You also have to be agile, designing and planning your developments to adapt to the new normal. Because these are challenging times, it’s good to extend flexible payment terms.”

What Sustainability Entails

With all the talk of sustainability these days, I-Land executives offered a definition on what it really means, focusing on being “LEED certified.”

“It’s about being environment-friendly. LEED is the best standard for this. For us, sustainability is not just a marketing term, but something that we live,” Cosiquien said.

He added, “Developing real estate with an orientation towards sustainability demands more attention to details, more careful planning, and a higher level of commitment to quality in terms of construction and actual product delivery.”

Cosiquien acknowledged that sustainable projects are a bit more costly, but they are “investments that pay off” in the end.

Meanwhile, Lopez emphasized the cost savings green developments offer to dwellers. “In the long run, it can actually translate to almost 30 to 40 percent of savings on utilities.”

For Chua, what defines sustainable homes is its positive impact on human health and well-being, as well as the welfare of future organizations.

Development of Sustainable Buildings

Using the LEED standard, Lopez outlined a few things involved in building healthy, highly-efficient, and cost-saving property designs.

From construction to interior fit-outs to operations (and maintenance, in the future), I-Land adheres to this sustainability framework. The main priorities in such developments are the well-being and comfort of employees and residents.

“Our residential units are designed with ample space that provides just the right degree of flexibility and adaptability, so people won’t feel cooped up inside,” Lopez shared. 

She added, “Our two-bedroom units, for instance, have spacious balconies, which can accommodate urban gardens, in response to homeowners’ desire to grow their own produce. The second bedroom can be converted into a flexible space. It can be a home office in the morning, and a bedroom at night.”

Even small fixtures in the unit, such as windows, follow sustainability standards. “We use low-emittance or low-e window panels. These are high-performance windows that reduce energy costs, reduce destructive UV (ultraviolet) rays, and yet they don’t block the natural light,” Lopez said.

Indoor environment quality is likewise important in I-Land developments, as the buildings feature open corridors with an atrium.

According to Lopez, 50 percent of the outdoor space in their residential projects is dedicated to amenities such as meditation gardens, fitness stations, jogging paths, swimming pools, and pet parks. At the same time, there are water-saving and energy-efficient technologies in place, including the rainwater recycling system.

Responding to the new normal, I-Land projects now feature automatic faucets and soap dispensers, waterless urinals in standard comfort rooms, HEPA filters as part of building ventilation, and antibacterial-coated light switches and door handles.

Most In-Demand Projects

Sharing that they have experienced good sales take-up amid the pandemic, Lopez said that they have received quite a number of positive feedback from their clients on I-Land Residences Sucat.

“Our clients have articulated that they like having the huge, open spaces and greenery for their hobbies. Also, they like having better air and natural lighting,” she mentioned.

Moreover, residents are eager to maximize energy savings. Lopez noted that their residential development is pedestrian-friendly, in that all the vehicles pass through the basement, offering the outdoor space to the people, especially children who are out to play.

Meanwhile, I-Land’s commercial project, I-Land Bay Plaza, is a green-inspired office building that provides greater business connectivity. Located near transportation hubs, including the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), it’s the ideal workplace for employees.

“We also have two floors of retail spaces. Employees can access banks, restaurants, cafes, and convenience stores,” Lopez added. 

Half of the building is already leased out, and I-Land is expectant about the take-up of the remaining half. The dimensions of the corner units range from 350 to 400 square meters, while the inner is at 170. Each floor has 10 units.

According to Lopez, they’re looking to turn over in the second quarter of next year.

Poised for Greater Heights

Founded on the value of innovations, I-Land is expected to introduce more solutions that cater to the needs of the current property market.

Lopez shared that they will be bringing their brand to the north with I-Land Residences Clover Leaf. “This is a 40-story residential condominium along EDSA Balintawak. This development is also going to be LEED certified,” she said.

Expanding their office portfolio, I-Land is constructing a commercial building in the financial capital of the country. Lopez shared, “We’re developing I-Land Offices Makati. This is a modern, sustainable low-rise boutique office and a commercial building located in San Lorenzo Village in Makati.”

The grandest development from the company, however, is going to rise outside the capital region.

“The biggest project that we’re planning is the seven-hectare integrated, premier resort in Clark, Pampanga, which will cater to the hospitality market, and will offer multiple events and recreational facilities,” Lopez pointed out.

Sound Investment Amid the Crisis

Reiterating the value of investing now, Lopez said that they’re offering a limited promo of five percent discount on their two-bedroom units at I-Land Residences Sucat. The promo started this November.

“For those interested in our properties, you can visit us at iland.com.ph, and message us on our Facebook and Instagram pages, I-Land.ph,” Lopez said.

You may also visit I-Land’s developer page on Lamudi.

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