Ar­chi­tect Liza Cre­spo gives 10 tips to go­ing green in an ur­ban set­ting

Northern Living - - HOME - BY CHING­GAY LABRADOR

Less is more. The idea of strip­ping a space down to its bare, func­tional min­i­mum can be tricky—much more, par­ing down the bones of a struc­ture to ma­te­ri­als that work with and not against the en­vi­ron­ment. Liza Cre­spo, how­ever, makes it work.

One of the first Filipino ar­chi­tects to be cer­ti­fied as an LEED (Lead­er­ship in En­ergy and En­vi­ron­men­tal De­sign) ac­cred­ited pro­fes­sional by the US Green Build­ing Coun­cil, Liza takes the “less is more” aes­thetic into each struc­ture she pur­sues, whether she’s draw­ing up plans for a sprawl­ing res­i­den­tial project or de­sign­ing a green of­fice space. “Es­sen­tially, the less ma­te­rial is used, the greener your project is, leav­ing you with less wastage and a smaller car­bon foot­print.”

Liza shares her top 10 tips for cre­at­ing a more sus­tain­able, greener home amidst an ur­ban set­ting. 1 Choose a con­do­minium unit that gets ad­e­quate sun­light, es­pe­cially in the morn­ing. Avoid spa­ces with south­ern ex­po­sure, as this can make your home hot­ter.

2 Al­though pent­house units are gen­er­ally much larger than units on typ­i­cal floors, their top floor lo­ca­tion can pose prob­lems. Heat in­fil­tra­tion through the roof can be an is­sue, as well as roof leaks. Just bear this in mind when shop­ping for a unit so you can ask the right ques­tions: Is there roof in­su­la­tion? What types of war­ranties are given for the roof water­proof­ing?

3 Or­ga­nize or be in­volved with the build­ing’s Home­own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion and get a re­cy­cling strat­egy in place.

4 Con­do­minium units are usu­ally sit­u­ated in dense ur­ban set­tings where air pol­lu­tion is prob­lem­atic. Clean the air in­side your home with the help of na­ture's air clean­ers—plants.

5 If your unit is bare and un­fin­ished, opt for sus­tain­able fin­ishes. Bam­boo, cork, and paints with low VOCs (Volatile Or­ganic Com­pound) work best.

6 In­stall low en­ergy ap­pli­ances. In­duc­tion cook tops con­sume con­sid­er­ably less elec­tric­ity than con­ven­tional cook tops and are safer too. Watch out for the en­ergy star rat­ing. 7 If you are able to change ex­ist­ing plumb­ing fix­tures, switch to low-flow in­stal­la­tions (faucets, toi­lets, shower heads), which hold a lower wa­ter con­sump­tion.

8 In­stead of us­ing air con­di­tion­ing for var­i­ous spa­ces, ex­plore other op­tions for ven­ti­lat­ing the space. Look at high per­form­ing ceil­ing fans, which con­sume less elec­tric­ity. Opt for nat­u­ral ven­ti­la­tion when pos­si­ble.

9 When look­ing at wa­ter heaters, ex­plore var­i­ous op­tions: multi point or sin­gle point? Weigh the pros and cons be­tween the two, to help you fig­ure out which one would con­sume less elec­tric­ity in the long run.

10 For win­dows on south­ern ex­po­sures, use blinds to shade yourself from heat. These cover­ings will also help re­duce heat in­fil­tra­tion through­out the day. Some bu­lid­ings per­mit the use of win­dow films, which can help de­crease heat as well—check with the build­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion to see if this op­tion is avail­able.

Liza's condo in Pasig in­cor­po­rates "green" ar­chi­tec­ture prin­ci­ples

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