Energy Efficiency and the Green Building Code

The Philippines is one of the top 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change, according to the Global Climate Risk Index of 2016. This is a compelling reason for the Philippine government to commit to a 70% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. Energy produced by burning fossil fuels emits greenhouse gases which contributes to global warming. Approximately two-thirds of the power generated in the Philippines come from fossil fuels.

The residential and commercial sectors accounted for about 52% of national power consumption in 2015, based on the Department of Energy’s Philippine Power Statistics. A reduction in energy demand in these sectors may result in a corresponding reduction in GHG emissions. Thus, greening these sectors represents the low-hanging fruit for the Philippine’s climate change mitigation targets.

In February 2016, the Philippine Green Building (GB) Code, a referral code of the National Building Code, began implementation, covering hospitals, offices, hotels and schools with a minimum of 10,000 square meters (sq.m.) gross floor area, or over 15,000 sq.m. for malls and over 20,000 sq.m. for residential condominiums. The GB Code sets minimum standards for energy efficiency as well as water and wastewater management, solid waste management, site sustainability and indoor environmental quality.

The GB Code projected the baseline energy consumption for each of the covered building types, which is represented by EUI or Energy Use Intensity measured in kilowatt hours per square meter per year or kWh/sq.m. per year. The application of the energy efficiency measures prescribed by the GB Code was designed to effectively reduce EUI of the buildings by at least 15-18% from baseline. These green measures include standards for the building envelope, mechanical, and electrical systems. These energy efficiency measures were carefully selected by conducting energy modeling, sensitivity analyses and market studies.

The impact of the GB Code can be measured by energy savings, cost savings, and GHG emissions reduction. The annual energy savings in kilowatt hours per year (kWh/yr) from the implementation of the GB Code can be measured by multiplying the completed (built and occupied) total gross floor area of each of the covered building types by 15% of their corresponding Energy Use Intensity. The annual cost savings in Philippine Pesos (PHP) from the implementation of the GB Code can be measured by multiplying the annual energy savings by the commercial rates in Philippine Pesos per kilowatt hour or (PHP/kWh). To determine GHG emissions reduction per year, the annual energy savings in kilowatt hours per year can be converted to kilograms of carbon dioxide or kgCO2 by multiplying it with the Electricity Specific Emission Factor in kilograms of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour (kgCO2/kWh), which according to the International Energy Agency in 2015 was 0.52841 ± 12% kgCO2/kWh for the Philippines.

By the year 2030, the Code is expected to contribute energy savings of 3.9 million KWh and reduce GHG emissions by 1.87 million tons of CO2e.

Raymond Andrew Sih is a green building specialist for the International Finance Corporation, and a senior lecturer of the University of the Philippines College of Architecture. He is a professional architect, a LEED accredited professional, and an EDGE auditor.

Republished from Green Breakthroughs by Raymond Andrew Sih | Business World – Property Section, June 20, 2017 

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