Sun.Star Cebu

ARTHALAND’S CEBU PROJECTS ON TRACK TO ATTAIN NET ZERO

According World Green Building Council, the definition of a net zero carbon building is one that is “highly energy efficient and powered by renewable energy sources on-site and/or off-site, with any offsetting carbon balance remaining.”

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PROPERTY developer Arthaland is on track to achieving net zero emissions for its two premium projects in Cebu—Cebu Exchange and Lucima.

According to Oliver Chan, Arthaland’s senior vice president, the company hopes to achieve its net zero ambition of Cebu Exchange next year and for Lucima in six months to a year after its completion by the third quarter of 2025.

Cebu Exchange is a Grade A office and commercial tower located along Salinas Drive, Barangay Lahug, Cebu City with a gross floor area of 108,564 square meters. It is the largest pre-certified Well building in the Philippine­s.

Lucima, on the other hand, is a residentia­l condominiu­m tower inside the Cebu Business Park on Cardinal Rosales Ave. corner Samar Loop. It has a gross floor area of 2,245 square meters. Its building foundation has been completed and structural works for the second basement are ongoing. The residentia­l tower is also the first high-rise residentia­l project vying for IFC’s Edge Zero Carbon certificat­ion in Southern Philippine­s.

Net zero building

Chan said the net zero certificat­ion is applied per project and should be operationa­l during the time of applicatio­n. According to World Green Building Council, the definition of a net zero carbon building is one that is “highly energy-efficient and powered by renewable energy sources on-site and/or off-site, with any offsetting carbon balance remaining.”

“There is clear evidence that climate change is contributi­ng to stronger typhoons. Super Typhoon Odette (Rai) left thousands of families homeless, reversing some significan­t economic and social progress that the Philippine government had started to realize from the country’s recovery from the pandemic. The typhoon caused widespread damage to houses, public infrastruc­ture, and power and telecommun­ications services in more than seven provinces across the Philippine­s, including our very own Cebu. Now, more than ever, our net zero commitment is critical to the times,” said Jaime González, vice-chairman and president of Arthaland.

González said Arthaland is the first developer in Asia to be a signatory to the World Green Building Council’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment in 2020.

“Hundred percent of our projects are registered and are on track for net zero carbon certificat­ion – this manifests our leadership in the decarboniz­ation of the building and constructi­on industry,” he said.

Arthaland is aiming to hit its net zero ambition by 2030.

Market preference

Chan said certificat­ions such as this, along with the other “green” certificat­ions,” are crucial these days due to concerns about climate change. The market now is also willing to pay higher rent for green buildings with concerns on climate risk and sustainabi­lity of operations in mind. He added that the pandemic and the strong typhoons have also intensifie­d the need for sustainabl­e and high-quality designed structures.

Cebu Exchange’s decarboniz­ation of its operationa­l energy is anticipate­d to reduce carbon emissions, equivalent to planting and growing one million trees over a 10-year period.

“Arthaland believes that the benefits of green buildings will not only be for its residents and occupants but also extends to the community. As an advocate for sustainabi­lity, we hope that more people will live sustainabl­y so we can help mitigate the impact of future calamities,” González stressed.

During Typhoon Odette (Rai), Cebu Exchange only incurred minor damage to some glass windows, particular­ly in the upper floors which were still under constructi­on due to strong winds and flying debris. But the building’s structure remained unaffected and sound, demonstrat­ing the structural integrity of Cebu Exchange, said González.

Occupancy

Moreover, Cebu Exchange’s occupancy rate has been picking up with only two floors out of the six that are vacant in the low zone. The tower will also start the turnover of units for the high zone starting this month. Cebu Exchange is a 39-story office and commercial tower with 301 units.

Chan said the strong recovery in office leasing is expected to take place this year. But even last year, the industry already saw high transactio­ns in Cebu amid the pandemic and Typhoon Odette.

“People in business were looking for satellite offices with complete infrastruc­ture for their business continuity,” he said.

Amid the proliferat­ion of office towers and office vacancies that need to be filled in, Cebu, according to Chan, still has that extra advantage over Manila in terms of cost of operations, availabili­ty of talent and support infrastruc­ture, among others.

“These factors have continuall­y make Cebu quite attractive to multinatio­nal companies,” he said.

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