Property players urged to make developments more energy efficient

Rising vacancies caused by the pandemic presents an opportunity for the Philippine property sector to retrofit their assets and comply with Republic Act (RA) 11285, or the Energy Efficiency and Conservation (EE&C) Act, to benefit from the green premium and generate energy savings in the long run. 

“The pandemic-caused economic slowdown may provide a silver lining and that is it provides an opportune time to implement energy efficiency improvements through lower utilization or occupancy of the commercial, industrial or residential assets,” Philippine Energy Efficiency Alliance (PE2) president Alexander Ablaza said in a recent webinar organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP). 

“Now you can replace centralized systems or building wide technologies because of the increased downtime and under-utilization of the commercial building assets,” he said. 

PE2, a non-stock, non-profit organization of energy efficiency market stakeholders, has been pushing for measures that will promote EE&C projects in the country. 

With the enactment of the EE&C Act in 2018, PE2 expects at least five years to realize what it calls the green premium selling prices and rental rates will shoot up due to the demand for green space and green buildings. 

“If you are a property owner and they remain to be non-green, you will actually lose value by keeping the non-green property space until you retrofit them. But that’s going to be passe, EE&C Act will also apply to existing building stock… the market will take care of itself and the EE&C Act will just accelerate everything in the next 10 years,” Ablaza said. 

“Give it half a decade further of market maturity on further enforcement of EE&C Act, then you could see…we will start to see premiums for selling prices and rental rates for commercial assets. We’re still at the tipping point, but its upward from this point onwards,” he said. 

The Department of Energy (DOE, is also urging companies to start undertaking EE&C measures to realize energy savings early on even as the agency will delay the imposition of penalties to non-compliant businesses in the first year of compliance period. 

The DOE is monitoring at least 35,795 designated establishments (DEs), as of April 21, under the EE&C Act. Of the total, majority are stand-alone buildings like malls and office buildings. 

However, the number is expected to rise further once power distributors, oil companies and retail electricity suppliers (RES) complete the submission of their clients to be monitored under the law.