by: Edlen Vanezza Bayaton-Obispo
October 15, 2015
The 24th Subdivision & Housing Developers Association Inc. (SHDA) National Developers’ Convention was held at the Makati Shangri-la from September 17 to 18, 2015. With the theme: “Building a Million Dreams: Stronger in Synergy, Towards a Green & Sheltered Nation,” the convention gathered members of the association from all over the country to discuss challenges, issues, and opportunities facing the Philippine housing industry.
The theme is related to the SHDA milestone in 2016, as part of the Philippine Housing Industry Roadmap 2011-2030, that aims to eliminate the housing backlog in the country by building 1 million homes by next year.
Rodel Racadio, SHDA 2015 Convention Chairman, said that the topics discussed during the convention are the most relevant and timely issues confronting the Housing industry. “One of that is Green Building. There is a Green Building Code, co-authored by the Department of Public Works and Highways and Climate Change Commission,and it is mandatory that everyone follow it to get a permit. So, all developers should be aware (of it, because) it will affect timelines and cost.”
Climate Change Mitigation
For the cluster on Greening the Housing Industry, first, Sec. Mary Anne Lucille Sering, vice chairperson and executive director of the Climate Change Commission, gave a situationer on the effects of climate change that has undoubtedly been felt worldwide for the last couple of years. She made a point that climate change mitigation and disaster risk mitigation were not one and the same. She reiterated, though, that “climate change mitigation can be done with small steps.”
Worldwide, Metro Manila is the second most vulnerable city to climate change—and not just because it is coastal. Why? Because of the number of people exposed and our capacity to react.
She shared different, relatively easy ways to cope with climate change, such as painting the roof a lighter shade, using a ceiling fan, using LED bulbs. Sering also said that, although globally, the Philippines is not a major carbon dioxide emitter, “We all want clean air and cleaner sources of energy. The housing sector can provide that demand.”
Disaster Risk Mitigation
Dr. Renato Solidum Jr., director of Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, on the other hand, reiterated the importance of earthquake and disaster preparedness for builders. “The Philippines is prone to many natural hazards like earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, storm surges, floods, and landslides.”
In terms of earthquakes, Solidum said we must “know the hazards and the risks. PHIVOLCS will monitor together with the local government, then warn the constituents as to what might happen in terms of an impending event or share information with the residents. You need to know the hazards and the risks. After, you respond properly and timely in terms of mitigation and preparedness.”
He said that the role of housing developers is “to select safe or safer locations with
appropriate design and construction; facilitate awareness, education, and preparedness; and help in establishment of evacuation procedures.”
In conclusion, he said: “The country is exposed to earthquakes that can cause loss of lives, properties, and severely impact the economy. Appropriate preparedness, mitigation, andresponse activities must be based onappropriate hazard and impact scenarios. The property sector plays a major role in ensuring safety of people, assets, andbusinesses. Location and construction safety must be ensured.”
He also solicited a commitment from those in attendance by asking: “Who among you will prepare for an earthquake?” And, all SHDA members and convention attendees enthusiastically raised their hands.
Arch. EmelitoPunsalan, vice president of the Philippine Green Building Initiative, said that the Philippine Green Building Code (RA 9216) serves to “push the building industry towards sustainable development.”
Punsalan quoted a section of RA 9729: Climate Change Act: “The State has adopted the Philippine Agenda 21 framework which espouses sustainable development, to fulfill human needs while maintaining the quality of the natural environment for current and future generations.”
He also shared the definition of ‘Green Buildings’ according to the ASHRAE Green Guide: “A design that is green/sustainable is a design that minimizes the negative human impacts on the natural surroundings, materials, resources and processes that prevail in nature.”Punsalan gave many practical, inexpensive measures to ensure compliance with the Green Building Code, considering the following aspects: energy efficiency,water efficiency, material sustainability, solid waste management, site sustainability, and indoor environmental quality.