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