A forum of experts proposed practical energy-saving steps following the effectivity of the energy law last March, mandating power users to set strategies to conserve this scarce resource. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act covers establishments which consume at least 100,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) or higher, making it relevant even to owners of small commercial properties.
Thus, building owners of skyscrapers, as well as proprietors of the typical 3-story building found in many municipalities, participated at a recent forum organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) Real Estate Committee.
Lylah Ledonio, executive director of Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC) and chairman of the ECCP Real Estate Committee disclosed that there are practical ways and means building owners can easily adopt. Below are those suggested by the panel including real-estate developers, landlords and design experts. The forum was sponsored by LPC and moderated by Atty. Maria Concepcion Simundac.
Work with your tenants and occupiers to purposely turn off lights and air-conditioning during slow hours. Raymond Rufino, president and CEO of NEO, explained that even simple steps like this add up to significant energy savings. In addition, install sensors that turn off the lights and turn down air-conditioning when a room is unoccupied. Moreover, modify the number of energy-using devices within a designated space.
Appoint an energy efficiency and conservation champion within the organization. Assign this champion to get up to speed on the latest available technologies and strategies, to seek professional help, to measure and track energy use digitally, explained AECOM Vice President for Cities and Resilience Sylvester Wong. The energy law further mandates that an establishment using 500,000 kWh annually or more must hire a certified energy conservation officer, while those using 4,000,000 kWh annually or more must include a certified energy manager in the organization.
Focus on components that use up the most energy: lighting and cooling. Use energy-rated materials like LED lights. Review the air-conditioning system and prioritize installing newer, more energy efficient models. A landlord may want to inspect doors and windows to see if the seals are intact or need replacement, according to Ricardo Cuerva, managing director of the NOVA Group. Cool air, and therefore energy, leaks out mainly through windows and doors. “Putting in a revolving door in a building lobby would also save a lot of energy.”
If you own an older building, consider retrofitting it to achieve energy savings in an efficient least-cost way. Architect Cathy Saldaña, managing director and CEO of pdp Architects, recommends analyzing the efficiencies of the existing electrical and mechanical systems. It would then be ideal to work towards phased renovations. She also suggests a review the building envelope to determine the level of heat penetration and ways to reduce this.
If you are constructing a new building, go for a green-rated design, “prioritize the health and well-being of building occupants by providing views, reducing heat and thermal discomfort, and utilizing non-toxic materials. It doesn’t have to be complicated,” says Saldaña. “It just has to be practically implemented to provide comfort to users.” A three-star building rated under the BERDE system will cost no more money than a non-rated building.
Consider sourcing your renewable energy requirements and more from producers of geothermal, solar and other green sources. Rufino discloses that since 2013, NEO has been procuring green power at no cost premium to the portfolio owners or tenants. It has been purchasing not just the 1 percent of annual consumption now mandated by law to come from renewable sources—but 100 percent of its energy from AboitizPower which produces geothermal energy.
Future proof your rental revenues by providing highly energy-efficient surroundings.
Because energy laws have been in effect in the West for 40 or so years now, many multinationals headquartered in key global cities value sustainable spaces. The benefits of these spaces include lower operational costs and better health for occupants. They also command higher resale value. Saldaña underscores: “Quality green buildings generate quality A-List tenants”—and buyers.
Should you wish to contribute or learn more about the ECCP Real Estate Committee, please write to email@example.com.