Climate agency, engineers forge ties on ‘green’ buildings

Published by rudy Date posted on May 4, 2010

THE Climate Change Commission (CCC) recently forged ties with top ventilating, air-conditioning and refrigerating engineers in the country to promote “green infrastructure” by setting new standards on energy-efficient buildings and rating system to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emission and combat global warming.

The CCC signed a memorandum of understanding with the Philippine Society of Ventilating, Air-conditioning and Refrigerating Engineers Inc. (PSVARE) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Philippine Chapter over the weekend in Makati City to develop a “credible, professionally crafted and acceptable” Philippine green-building ratings system that will encourage “green banking” support.

In the same event, PSVARE launched a book, entitled 2010 PSVARE Standard on Energy Efficient Buildings, in order to advance and institutionalize energy conservation in buildings and establishments in support of the government’s promotion of so-called green infrastructures.

The creation of green infrastructure is part of the National Framework Strategy on Climate Change, which was drafted by the CCC and approved by President Arroyo on Wednesday in Puerto Princesa City.

The memorandum of understanding, among others, aims to make possible the development of a system of independent GHG reporting, monitoring and review to encourage the use of clean-building technologies as instruments that will cut carbon emissions.

Climate Change Secretary Heherson Alvarez said buildings in the country contribute some 33 percent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emission of human settlements. 

The recently approved National Framework Strategy on Climate Change said the country’s residential and commercial sectors are major emitters of GHG for consuming 50 percent of primary electric energy.  It also said that high-rise buildings consume 72 percent of electric supply.

Alvarez said by having energy-efficient buildings, besides reducing carbon emissions, it will reduce energy costs for owners while also increasing reliability and availability of electricity for the country.

“The full implementation of a new code for green buildings, like this one from PSVARE, will help minimize GHG by as much as 2.4 million tons a year,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez lauded PSVARE and ASHRAE-Philippine Chapter and called the engineers “warriors of climate change.”

He said that by having a new and intelligent building code that will help reduce CO2 emissions, the engineers are in the forefront of the battle against climate change.

Engineer Laurentino Punsalan, founding president of PSVARE and fellow of ASHRAE-Philippine Chapter, said it is more of a moral obligation, duty and responsibility for members of both organizations he represents to help provide a “sustainable future” through the promotion of green infrastructure, particularly  energy-efficient buildings and rating system.

The 2010 PSVARE Standard on Energy Efficient Buildings presents, among others, benchmark on Building Envelope, which involves mandatory measures of fenestration, such as windows, glazed doors and skylights, that significantly impact on the overall energy performance of buildings.

It also offers standard on mechanical systems, which include heating, ventilating and air-conditioning energy use; natural and mechanical ventilation; water heating, etc.; construction; indoor and outdoor lighting; and sign lighting. 

However, the book does not cover low-rise residential or those below three-story buildings.

Punsalan added that together with the United Architects of the Philippines, a new rating system called GAM-3EAB, or “Guide to Adaptation Measures-Energy Efficiency and Environmental Assessment for Buildings,” has been prepared.  –Jonathan Mayuga / Correspondent, Businessmirror

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