Green is in: BERDE building program is greener than ever

The pandemic has caused changes in our preference and needs as we now prioritize health and wellness more than ever.

One of these changes is the preference to work and maybe even live in healthier spaces, which is now driving the need for more sustainable buildings.

This push for sustainable developments has driven the Philippine Greenbuilding Council (PhilGBC) to further upgrade its Building for Ecology and Responsive Design Excellence (BERDE) program as it launched the fourth version of the program.

BERDE is a tool to assess, measure, monitor and certify the performance of projects above and beyond existing national and local building and environmental laws, regulations and mandatory standards.

It can be used by building professionals as a guidance tool in designing, constructing and operating projects in a resource-efficient, economically-viable, and socially-responsible manner, as it specifies current best practices in the field of green building development.

“When we think of the latest knowledge and best practices in green buildings, our BERDE program ensures that the continued improvements are done,” said PhilGBC board of trustees chair Edgar Sabidong.

Sabidong said BERDE 4.0 expands the group’s outlook in green building, as it introduces further socioeconomic priorities including health and wellness, community engagement, and economic priorities.

Under the core framework of the latest version of BERDE, the different credits that are essential in developing a green building project are identified. This includes management, use of land and ecology, energy, water, waste, materials, transportation, health and wellbeing, emissions, community engagement, and economic opportunity.

“It is important to note that we will align with the latest building and environmental regulations,” Sabidong said.

“For example, the Department of Energy (DOE) 2020 edition of the guidelines for energy concerning the design of buildings is incorporated in the BERDE version four to ensure that green buildings are aligned with current energy regulations and best practices,” he added.

BERDE as a marketing tool

Apart from using the BERDE program as a guidance tool in designing, constructing, and operating building projects, PhilGBC emphasized that this can work to the advantage of building owners, who opt to have their developments BERDE-certified.

“Achieving a BERDE certification for your green building project lets your clients and the public know that your project is a better building in the market,” PhilGBC said.

The certification process will be done through third-party assessment, which ensures that your project is assessed, rated, and certified in a credible and unbiased process.

“BERDE also highlights your company’s sustainability initiatives. Achieving a BERDE Certification provides positive brand recognition for both your project and your company,” PhilGBC said.

The group added that it also provides additional marketing support by publishing BERDE-certified projects online and providing opportunities for developing project case studies, hosting site tours and certificate presentations, and offering speaking opportunities in PhilGBC events.

Sabidong said there are currently two million square meters of registered and certified green building spaces in the country.

“We also have about 700 certified BERDE professionals,” he added.

Property consultancy firm Colliers Philippines said earlier that green building certifications have become a seal of authenticity to end-users for standard green building practices.

Colliers emphasized that the pandemic has strengthened the push toward sustainable offices, given the prioritization of health and wellness amid the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 situation has accelerated the adoption of sustainable office spaces, and we see this trend complementing the recovery of office leasing demand across Metro Manila beyond 2021,” Colliers Philippines said in its Green Edge: Future-proofing offices post-pandemic report.

Colliers Philippines believes that adopting green and sustainable features plays a crucial role in future-proofing office towers beyond the pandemic.