Green building and sustainable architecture in a climate change-challenged world

YOLANDA REHABILITATION EFFORTS have attracted this Italian architect and expert on sustainable architecture and green building. He’s offering to contribute his skills to help rebuild Leyte and the other parts of Eastern Visayas that have been recently devastated by the super typhoon.

Watch how ITPI Corp. (ItalPinas Euroasian Design and Eco-Development) incorporates green building and sustainable architecture principles in its developments throughout the building life cycle.

Watch a short video clip on how ITPI uses performance-based design software to design sustainable buildings:

Green building expert ITPI to builders: adopt ‘biomimicry’ to build smarter, sustainable cities

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Adopting the principle of biomimicry and undertaking performance-based design strategies — these are the keys to building sustainably in an environmentally challenged world.

That was the advice of an Italian architect and expert on green building and sustainable agriculture to builders, urban planners, government officials and various other advocates of sustainable development who attended the 2013 International Conference on Smarter Cities held last November 14 to 15 at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.

“By studying the process behind the creation of natural living structures, we are able to find patterns, which transform into design models needed to define architectural solutions,” said architect Romolo V. Nati, Executive Chairman and CEO of the ITALPINAS Euro Asian Design and Eco-Development Corporation (ITPI).

ITPI is a young developer that specializes in the design and development of sustainable buildings. Formed by Nati in 2009 in partnership with Filipino lawyer Jojo Leviste, ITPI invests most of its resources into an in-house research and design (R&D) department that studies sustainable architecture, as well as building in extreme conditions and challenging environments. ITPI is an affiliate of the renewable energy firm Constellation Energy Corp.


Adopting biomimicry — or the intersection of biology and technology — allows architects and builders to put up buildings that use water, energy and other resources efficiently, Nati said, even as he notes that the concept isn’t new and has long been used by the global defense industry.

Nati’s advice was part of his presentation titled “Eco-logic Architecture: Conceptualizing Buildings Differently,” which was given during one of five presentations under the theme Smarter Economy. The presentations were given during parallel sessions on the second day of the conference.

“Becoming sustainable requires a change in perspective,” Nati said. “We need to move from too much reliance on technology and from an inability to more adaptation to the local environment.”

The architect said this is needed because cities occupy only two percent of the world’s land mass but these account for 70 percent of harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Nati noted: “Right now air conditioning in buildings worldwide consumes 1 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year and by 2050, global consumption of energy for cooling could explode tenfold.”

“Increased CO2 emissions lead to increased energy consumption, which lead to climate change and environmental degradation,” he warned.

He said the solution was to follow nature and adapt more to the local environment by using local material and tapping local know-how when putting up buildings or other developments. He also advised sourcing power locally. “These wouldn’t only be a sustainable practice, but would also lower power requirements, as well as building and maintenance costs,” Nati said.

Performance-based strategies

Nati also recommended that architects and developers use the performance-based strategies that his company employs.

These include sunlight angle calculations for spatial planning optimization, wind analysis for spatial planning optimization and selective daylight internal computation for spatial planning optimization — all done by specialized software.

Organized by the University of the Philippines School of Urban and Regional Planning, the 2013 International Conference on Smarter Cities aimed to begin the public discourse on creating smarter cities in a world beset by overpopulation, rapid population growth, dwindling resources, widespread pollution, climate change and unrestrained urbanization.

The conference brought together builders, developers, engineers, planners and advocates of smart cities from across the world, who shared the ways that smarter technologies can be leveraged to improve the quality of life in cities.

Parallel sessions on six different main themes were held on the second day of the Conference:

  • Smarter Governance
  • Smarter Economy
  • Smarter Mobility
  • Smarter Environment
  • Smarter Planning and Design and
  • Smarter People and Living

Some of the more interesting presentations during the conference were:

  • “Project NOAH: Importance of Technology in Mitigating Hazards” by Mahar A. Lagmay of the UP- National Institute of Geological Sciences for Smarter Governance.
  • “Biofied Space Design – Toward Future Architectural Material, Energy and Integrated Information” by Akiko Watanabe of the Tokyo Denki University, Japan and “Smarter Urban Greening: The Philippine Context” by Arch. Paulo Alcazaren of PGAA Creative Design, Philippines / Singapore and “Landscape Architecture Trends in the Philippines: Ecological Planning as an Approach to the Sustainable Development of Disaster-Prone Sites” by Mary Ann Espina of the UP College of Architecture for Smarter Planning and Design.
  • “Smarter Money for Smarter Cities” by Felix Fuders of the Universidad Austral de Chile for Smarter Economy
  • “Urban Development and Groundwater Management in Asian Cities” by Karen Ann B. Jago-on, UP-SURP and “Planning City Extensions: An Approach to Achieving Sustainable Urban Development” by Christopher Rollo of the United Nations – Human Settlements Programme, Philippines for Smarter Environment
  • “DOST’s Smarter Health Care Program” by Jaime C. Montoya, Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development for Smarter People and Living


Travelling Eco-friendly to CDO

Global warming or climate change has been the talk of the world ever since there has been a visible and feelable effect on all our places, even in Cagayan de Oro. Not everyone is aware of this, no idea of it, or no care about it at all because they have no idea how it affects them and their families.


Travelling eco-friendly in CDO

Waterworld if climate change isn’t controlled. As it is, polar bears are fast losing their glacier homes because of global warming.  Th effect is global as well as local, as we Kagay-anons know very well.


Climate change means the global rise in temperature change of the air and the sea. People are seeing all the change all over the world. Glaciers are disappearing, the arctic sea is melting, storms, heat waves are forming everywhere, plants and flowers are blooming earlier than expected, and unfamiliar insects in our territories are emerging from all angles, birds and other animals are multiplying before they are expected to and those animals that are supposedly hibernating are all awake – the cycles are distorted.

So you ask, what is going on? The planet is getting warmer. Any change in our climate affects each and every one of us. Humans are known to be high energy consumers. No one can deny we consume almost all the energy than any other living creature there is on the planet.

We use tons of energy in our everyday tasks – from cleaning, heating, pumping, even disposing of water. Even the food that we eat is an enormous source of greenhouse gases: the fossil fuels we use in fertilizers and farm machinery, the processing of food, transportation – cars, ships, even jets, the cooking and packing. Even construction requires all kinds of building materials that can only be made with massive amounts of energy.

Even the major necessity we have which is electricity isn’t captured magically – it takes the burning of immense amounts of fossil fuel to convert energy into electrical current. Majority of the things in our lives – clothes, mobile phones, toothbrushes, etc. – are all made using energy.

Individually, we may not be able to make much of a difference. But if we all combine our habits of conservation, I do believe we can do something to minimize our carbon footprint. Even when we travel.

When travelling to CDO, here are a few tips to help conserve energy:

  1. Book your next flight to an airline that is environmental friendly
  2. Stay in a green hotel – (in CDO it’s Primavera Residences)
  3. Drink eco-friendly water (bring your own stainless water containers instead of buying plastic bottles).
  4. Reduce any excess use of carbon or plastic use.
  5. And lastly – Reduce, reuse, recyle in any way possible – even hotel freebies.

Interested in an eco-friendly travel to Cagayan de Oro? Click here to find out how to check in into the only eco-friendly condotel in Mindanao.


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Energy-Saving Tips for Kagay-anons

Energy-Saving Tips for Kagay-anons

Many of us were born with a flood of light beaming down the fluorescent bulbs of emergency rooms. From then on, the magic of electricity has been with us, a part of our lives – so much so that we have taken it for granted.

But then we started experiencing power shortages – and in the middle of summer at that – and we realize that electricity is a limited resource after all. While varied groups are busy looking for more sources of energy, we can do our part by conserving this very valuable resource at home, in school, or at the office.

Here are some energy saving tips we can easily do:

  1. Minimize the use of fans or air conditioning units at home. When you leave for school or office, draw in your curtains at the windows where you are sure the midday sun will be hitting the most. You will be able to keep a cooler temperature inside your house if you don’t allow the heat to come it. Have some of the beneficial sunshine early in the morning while you are preparing to leave.
  2. Have plants inside and around your house. This may sound geeky but remember biology class? The transpiration activities of the plants around actually help keep your environment cooler. So bring in those green and leafy beings into your life.
  3. Don’t charge your electronic gadgets overnight. This was a personal lesson I learned when I was younger and more careless. By doing so, you also save your gadgets from damage. This reminder, I am sure, has been run through us by our parents for a zillion times already and yet we don’t pay attention to it.
  4. Check the wattage of your lamps. My father is very keen on this. Because he knows I always leave a light on at night, he checks if my bed lamp wouldn’t cost him bucks when the bill arrives.
  5. Read books. You don’t only add to your knowledge but you also allow the television set or your computer to rest as you flip through those pages of make-believe.

With the environmental changes that we are experiencing now, our energy-saving acts should hopefully become habits of conservation.

Love Energy Saving Tips for Kagay-anons? Click here for more eco-friendly tips!