Solar-powered, low-cost housing community

Constructing green homes has become a hot trend among Philippine real estate developers producing different levels of residential communities. Green homes have become achievable even for low-cost or affordable housing units. Home builders now consider their home’s environmental impact, from its design to its construction and use of materials.

Homeowners are now conscious of long-term maintenance costs and overall savings. Several factors which were not taken into consideration in the past are now seriously given importance, such as the use of sustainable and renewable materials and energy-efficient building techniques and measures that conserve water and allow good indoor air quality.

In support of building green communities, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, designed a Web-based software application called EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies), which guides real estate developers, individual homeowners and contractors in constructing green buildings for emerging markets. The EDGE accreditation and certification system is being implemented in many countries around the world.

In the Philippines, Imperial Homes Corporation (IHC), a mass-housing developer, was the first recipient of IFC’s EDGE certification for its housing models Tiarra Premiere Homes and Delsey Homes in Via Verde, Sto. Tomas, Batangas. One feature that qualified the model housing units was the installation of rooftop solar systems that reduced the homeowners’ electricity consumption from the grid.

The concept of solar-powered low-cost communities was developed by IHC in partnership with Enfinity Imperial Solar Solutions, Inc. (EISSI), a joint venture with a Belgian solar solutions provider. The cost of the system proved that solar installation is not necessarily accessible only to the rich, but is within the reach of every Filipino family.

As proof of concept, IHC created a solar-powered low-cost housing community in Via Verde. To date, EISSI has installed around the same area more than 100 rooftop 24-hour solar systems, which include a lithium battery storage of 2,400 watts.

Such a system can power up basic appliances like a refrigerator (up to 10 cu. ft.), LED lights, flat iron, washing machine, television, rice cooker, stand fans, and chargers for cellphones and laptops. Via Verde homebuyers say their electricity bills have dropped dramatically by 30% to 50%, saving them some P750 to P1,000 a month, depending on their energy management, from their electricity bills of P1,500 to P2,000 per month before the solar system was installed.

EISSI is hopeful that with the experiences of Via Verde homeowners, real estate developers as well as homeowners in other residential communities will be encouraged to use solar technology in various forms and applications. The rooftop solar systems are also used in industrial and commercial communities, which are big electricity spenders. EISSI is also helping design off-grid solar systems complete with storage capabilities in remote areas where extending electricity lines is not feasible.

Financing for rooftop solar systems is now made available by the national housing fund, Pag-IBIG, and other financial institutions.

Jocelyn Sta Ana is the President and CEO of Enfinity Imperial Solar Solutions Inc.

Republished from Green Breakthroughs by Jocelyn Sta. Ana | Business World – Property Section, May 2, 2017 

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