Legarda lauds ‘paradigm shift’ toward green building

June 25, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda today lauded the launch of the new Green Building Code as part of government’s long-term transition to a low-carbon economy, noting that green buildings play a huge role in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which are largely responsible for global warming.

Speaking at “Green Breakthroughs 2015” organized by the Philippine Green Building Initiative together with the Department of Public Works and Highways and other aid agencies as the official launch of the Green Building Code, Legarda stressed that the Code will be an important tool to strengthen resilience to natural hazards and improve our sustainable development strategies from the national down to the local level.

“We need to move away from business as usual in order to build a sustainable society. A paradigm shift to a sustainable energy system requires close, cross-sector collaboration – between governments, businesses and civil society,” she said.

Citing a report from the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Legarda noted that people in the Asia Pacific Region are more likely to be affected by natural hazards than those in Africa, Europe and North America.

“The Philippines is a minor emitter but even as we are taking steps to demand the world’s biggest polluters to reduce their carbon usage for the sake of the planet, we cannot just wait for other parties to turn their commitment into action. We need to take care of our own backyard so to speak, and in this case we need to cut our carbon emissions, improve our environment and create sustainable communities if we build green”.

Legarda, United Nations Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, said that building green should be complemented with a low-carbon lifestyle, which means a shift to indigenous and renewable energy sources to economize on energy consumption; energy-efficient transport modes like walking, biking and taking public transport; use of natural light and wind flow in house design; and rainwater catchment systems.

Legarda also encouraged local government units (LGUs) to take proactive measures in building sustainable communities by promoting resilience. “LGUs must prioritize resilience as part of their political and sustainable development agenda and make reducing disaster risk their legacy opportunity. It will make the communities more prosperous and secure than before.  Initiatives could include making schools, hospitals, and other critical public infrastructure resilient against disasters”.

Legarda urged the public to strive for a zero waste economy where the output of each resource use is converted into input for another use.

“We can precycle by avoiding buying unnecessary goods, upcycle or creative reuse of waste material, and recycle. We should also adopt the concept of adaptive reuse in buildings, especially heritage structures, so that instead of destroying, we can restore old buildings and use them for a new purpose,” Legarda concluded.