Locally developed rating tool promotes int’l green building practices

The Philippines already has its very own green building rating system to facilitate green building projects and inspire confidence and trust in the construction industry, according to a leader in the promotion of green building practices in the country.

BERDE-Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence-was established by the Philippine Green Building Council (PHILGBC) in 2009 in response to the Philippine building industry’s need to proactively address the negative impacts of climate change, said Rowena Ramos, co-chairperson of the Board of Trustees of PHILGBC, and principal architect of Ecotektonika, in a recent presentation at a forum on water security.

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

We need to have our very own rating system “because we have a different setting compared to the rest of the other countries,” she explained.

“BERDE is for you to check how your project will actually perform not only during construction and operations but from the very startÂ… from the design stage.”

BERDE is recognized by the Philippine government, through the Department of Energy, as the national voluntary green building rating system. PHILGBC, meanwhile, is the only national GBC recognized by the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) in the Philippines.

While crafted in the Philippines, Ramos stressed that BERDE is not considered just a local tool as it was developed in line with the Quality Assurance for Green Building Rating Tools (WorldGBC, 2013), the International Framework for Socio-Economic Factors for Green Building Rating Tools in Developing Countries (WorldGBC & GBCSA, 2013), and other best practices from international standards for standards development.

Ramos said that with a BERDE certification, a company highlights its efforts toward sustainability and attains positive brand recognition, in addition to realizing huge cost savings through efficiency in operations and in the use of resources such as water and electricity. She said a number of building projects, from condominiums to government offices, have undergone voluntary BERDE assessment and certification.

BERDE certification is the formal assessment, rating, and certification process for projects under the BERDE Program. It is conducted in a third-party assessment process to ensure a credible, independent, impartial, and objective assessment, rating, and certification of projects, said Ramos.

Only projects that complete the formal process, comply with all requirements, and receive at least the minimum rating for certification may be claimed as a BERDE Certified green building project.

The core framework of the rating program defines the different credits that are essential in developing a green building project. The framework includes energy efficiency and conservation, water efficiency and conservation, management, waste management, use of land and ecology, green materials, transportation, indoor environment quality, and emissions.

Ramos said BERDE uses a star-rating system, in which certified green building projects may be awarded with a one star to a five star rating based on the outcomes of the assessment.

A one-star rating means the project is within the “minimum practice,” two stars is “good practice,” three stars “exemplar practice,” four stars “world class” and five stars “world leader.”

Ramos added that this month, PHILGBC will be launching the latest version of its rating tool, the v3.0.0, in line with the group’s continuous development and improvement of the rating system.

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