Press Release
March 15, 2010


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. today said climate change and the non-renewable character of crude oil make it necessary and inevitable for a shift to what is now called "green architecture" in the design and construction of buildings.

He said a shift to green architecture will greatly reduce carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming. In the United States, for instance, 40 percent of carbon dioxide output is produced by residential and commercial buildings.

"Green architecture is one prospect for architects to explore, design and construct buildings that will no longer be dependent on crude oil for heating or ventilating purposes," Pimentel said at the induction of new members of the United Architects of the Philippines and the Architecture Advocacy International Foundation at the Manila Hotel.

Pimentel urged the architects to take into account the needs of the times by designing, creating and building structures of habitation, offices and similar buildings that are environmentally-friendly and energy-savers at the same time.

According to the senator from Mindanao, there are ready models for green architecture in Maimo, Sweden, New York City and Dubai.

The Turning Torso Tower in Maimo has been described by the Design Build Network as "prime example for self-sufficient, energy-dependent, residential/apartment buildings."

The $223.5 million Turning Torso Residential Tower contracts l00 percent renewable energy for its use, obtained from locally-provided solar, wind, bedrock and water power. The security system and double water systems have their own power supply. Even organic waste produced in the building is compacted and transported for decomposition and biogas production.

Pimentel said in New York the corporate headquarters for the communication and magazine company Hearst Corporation shows that greening the environment is not just a concern for private citizens and corporate responsibility can inspire new standards in green architecture.

The Hearst Tower is considered the first green skyscraper in New York City after earning the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) Gold certification, the highest construction standard for green buildings.

Even in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which is one of the world's sources of crude oil, there are signs of change in building trends, Pimentel observed. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is both the vice president of UAE and the ruler of Dubai, announced that new buildings in the city were expected to meet strict green standards by January this year.

To show their determination to meet the standards of LEED, Pimentel said Dubai has set up an Emirates Green Building Council that formulates the guidelines to rate building projects' sustainability and assure their compliance with the requirements of the US Green Building Council.

Another example of green architecture can be found in Abu Dhabi's Tameer Towers, a $l00 million mixed-use development designed by Gensler, an international architecture firm.

"Among Tameer's sustainable features, residences will be tucked under landscaped terraces, keeping them cool naturally, and the buildings will sit astride a canal patterned after the San Antonio Riverwalk and meant to encourage people to walk, rather than use car. The latticed skin of Tameer's Towers, some 72 stories tall, will be made of locally produced pre-cast concrete panels, saving the import of construction materials," according to Wikipedia.

Pimentel expressed the hope that someday soon, he will be privileged to see Filipino-designed architectural masterpieces that will reflect the people's culture, dreams and aspirations and win the accolades of other races the world over.

He urged the local government units throughout the country to have their provincial capitols, their city and municipal halls and even barangay headquarters, public schools and gymnasiums designed by architects that "will reflect the Filipino spirit, resilience and traits of faith in God, love of neighbor and hope for the well-being of our people."

"And over and above all, structures that are energy savers and environment-friendly as well," he said.

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