Green building should be the new reality, says green building expert ITPI at Clark Green City launch

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Climate change is real. This is why architects and real estate developers have no choice but to begin planning and creating developments that consider this new reality.

This is according to an Italian architect and expert on green building and sustainable architecture who spoke at the launch of the upcoming Clark Green City. Carved from 36,000 hectares of the Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone in Central Luzon, Clark Green City will be the country’s first smart and green city.

“Architects and property developers have a grave responsibility whether or not they fully appreciate it,” said Architect Romolo V. Nati, Executive Chairman and CEO of ITALPINAS Euroasian Design and Eco-Development Corporation (ITPI), a real estate company that specializes in the design and development of sustainable buildings.

“Whether or not we are conscious of it, our work determines how people and communities will be placed in relationship to one another, how whole societies will eat, sleep, work, play, worship or travel,” he noted.

“In short, the homes, buildings and cities we create determine how people live in consonance —  or in dissonance — with nature,” he added.

But today, real estate has a significant carbon footprint and property developments contribute substantially to global warming, Nati noted, maintaining that: “With the grave threat to the planet posed by climate change, we have no choice but to begin building habitats that are in harmony with nature.”

Summit to launch Clark Green City

The green architect shared some green building tips from his long practice of sustainable architecture and green building at The Inaugural Philippine Smart and Green City Summit held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza on December 5 to bring together property developers and urban planners, engineers, economic and management consultants, bankers, financiers and investors.

The summit launched Clark Green City, the new metropolis and investment hub, the brainchild of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.

The city’s master development plan was recently approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and endorsed for final approval of President Simeon B. Aquino. Approval is expected next week, said Rolando P. Gosiengfiao, chairman of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.

Once the president approves the master plan, the BCDA will begin phase 1 of the project’s development, which is expected to cost PhP59 billion through the Public-Private Partnership scheme.

The summit, held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza with the theme “Thinking Ahead, Building Together,” aimed to:

  • Provide a venue for the cross-fertilization of ideas on smart cities and green technologies from the diverse experts
  • Build support for the Clark Green City as a key development project
  • Showcase the green building methods and state-of-the-art IT infrastructure used in the Clark Green City that make it an ideal platform for mixed-use developments
  • Generate investment opportunities

The ITPI executive says he is happy to contribute to the rise of the country’s first smart and green city.

“We take our responsibility as a property developer seriously and even hope we can contribute our ideas – not just to the summit — but to the actual rise of the Clark Green City itself – as well as other green cities in the Philippines,” he says.

Apart from Nati, the other experts who presented during the summit were Architect Felino A. Palafox, founding and managing partner of the Palafox Associates, Chan Eng Kiat of DNV KEMA Clean Technology Center, Michael Russel of KGL Investment Company Asia, Cyndy Tan Jarabata of Tajara Leisure and Hospitality Group, Jan Custodio of CBRE, Mark Williams of KGL Investment Company Asia, Hung Song of CENTIOS (A KT and Cisco Collaboration), Jae-Hung Yu of Cisco Systems Management B.V., Antony Sprigg, Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia, Hans Shrader of the International Finance Corporation, Antonio Ver of the H&WB Asia Pacific (Pte Ltd) Corporation, Architect Engell Franz Fagaragan of the BERDE Green Building Rating System and Michael Russel of the KGL Investment Company Asia.

Eco-logic design and development

In 2009, Nati formed ITPI in partnership with Filipino lawyer Jojo Leviste. All of ITPI’s architectural design and property developments are created “eco-logically” or with an eco-logic behind their planning, design and implementation.

Its Primavera Residences, for instance, is a mixed-use eco-friendly condominium development in Cagayan de Oro City that incorporates many eco-friendly features such as passive cooling techniques and a photovoltaic or solar panel rooftop that produces enough electricity to power its common areas.

Tower 1 of Primavera Residences has an inner courtyard and a cross-ventilation layout designed to enhance natural air flow and light. Shaded facades sift sunlight’s entry through windows, moderating temperature inside units, slashing air-conditioning costs by about a third.

These features also functioned to mitigate the effects of typhoon Sendong in 2011.

Despite being a young developer, ITPI invests most of its resources in its in-house research and design (R&D) department that looks into sustainable architecture. ITPI is also an affiliate of the renewable energy firm Constellation Energy Corp.

A version of this story was published in the Business Mirror:

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