For decades, the human factor in creating public spaces has been overlooked and haphazardly addressed until the COVID-19 crisis. Over the last two years, the way of life has been changed drastically, inspiring modifications and adjustments in the way people live, work, and play. The pandemic has highlighted the need for more people-centric public spaces that will prioritize and improve the health, safety, and protection of the people in the new normal.
What are People-Centric Public Spaces?
People-centric or human-centered public spaces are spaces that are designed to provide tailor-fitted solutions to the needs of the public, providing resources that protect their interests. Since the crucial role of public health was also emphasized over the pandemic, more have been advocating for more people-centric public spaces in the Philippines.
Even before the pandemic, the call for the creation of these spaces was clear. In 2016, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development conducted Habitat III, a conference where world leaders, policymakers, and advocates convened and echoed the need for “safe, inclusive, accessible, green, and quality public spaces, including streets, sidewalks and cycling lanes, gardens, and parks that are multi-functional areas for social interaction and inclusion, human health and well-being, economic exchange, and cultural expression and dialogue”
Green Real Estate and People-centric Designs
The COVID-19 pandemic also drove a significant change in real estate on a global scale. Sustainability was no longer a ‘trend’ in the industry that focuses on environment conservation, but also became a guiding principle in creating people-centric designs and promoting the health and safety of building occupants and tenants.
Green buildings or developments that were designed and constructed following sustainable measures and operating through energy-efficient means became synonymous with healthy spaces that protect lives with resiliency, safeguard well-being, and amplify human experiences.
As one of the most essential public spaces shared by a community, office and commercial developments remain as crucial points for public health and safety. Due to the pandemic, Buildings today give more emphasis to the health and wellness of their tenants. While other offices will only start implementing such changes to cater more towards well-being, LEED-certified buildings have long been uplifting the quality of the work environment and promoting the health and well-being of their tenants—during a health crisis and beyond.
LEED-certified developments optimize space for disease prevention. With its unique green facilities and top-grade amenities, tenants inside premium green buildings enjoy optimal indoor-air quality, exposure to natural light, access to green spaces, and contact-less facilities that are key in workplace wellness and safety.
JEG Tower @ One Acacia advocates for the holistic well-being and safety of its tenants and occupants. Committed to revolutionizing work and life balance, the award-winning building offers office and retail spaces that maximize the use of natural daylight, allow better indoor air quality in all work and common spaces, and utilize solar energy for more efficiency.
Want to learn more about how JEG Tower @ One Acacia promotes sustainability and advocates for holistic health in the Philippines? Reach out to Gerold Fernando at (+63) 917-565-3547 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
JEG Tower @ One Acacia has officially achieved a LEED Gold Certification from the US Green Building Council. The development was also awarded 68 points, the highest-scoring LEED CS project in Cebu. The 22-story tower achieved gold for BD+C Core and Shell.
Moreover, 2020’ Best Green Commercial Development in the Philippines is set to become Cebu’s first commercial development to use solar energy as it enters into a 20-Year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with COREnergy for a Zero Cash-Out solar photovoltaics (PV) plant.
(Photos from COREnergy. Actual panels on JEG Tower to be installed.)
The development is set to utilize a 40 kWp Solar PV System from over 100 pieces of Polycrystalline PV Modules installed on the building crown. The system will be able to supply electricity to fully or partially power the lower ground floor to the 6th Floor.
“The idea of using renewable energy to power portions of JEG Tower was always intriguing to us and when the opportunity was there, it was a no brainer,” JEG Development Corporation (JDC) COO Marko Sarmiento said. “It is an important milestone for our company since it makes us the first developer in Cebu to have a solar roof deck installation on a high-rise office building. It is also consistent with our vision to be innovators in the industry.
JEG Tower @ One Acacia’s venture to renewable energy is just proof of its commitment to use a safer energy option to benefit the environment. “Sourcing out solar energy used to be a challenge but with suppliers like COREnergy, availability is here and more importantly it is affordable,” Sarmiento said.
Innovators in the Industry
JDC, a homegrown real estate commercial and residential developer in Cebu City, is regarded to be one of the frontrunners of sustainability and green real estate in the country. With this additional top-grade green feature for JEG Tower, the company becomes one of the pioneers of renewable energy in the Visayan region.
“The building will be utilizing solar power to pump water from the cistern tank to the water tank above the roof deck, run all the electrical systems in the main lobby including the turnstiles, run the systems in the fire command center, run back of the house systems and/or the building manager’s office,” Tomas Tan, JDC’s Senior Manager for Technical Services explained. He also noted that the high-rise commercial building will use the generated energy in real time, requiring no electric storage.
“No batteries or net metering system is required since the power generated by the solar PV system will be immediately used to run the building,” he added.
(Photos from COREnergy. Actual panels on JEG Tower to be installed.)
Sustainable Growth for Cebu
As the Visayan capital and the main economic stronghold outside Luzon, Metro Cebu rapidly became urbanized and dense with more office and commercial buildings. Environmentalists in the region pinpoint this economic boom as one of the main factors in the disruption of the province’s biodiversity.
According to a sustainability report by Barone International, JEG Tower @ One Acacia has successfully reduced greenhouse gas emissions by diverting 1,527,584 lbs. of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually. As a testament to the tower’s unique energy efficiency, its energy savings is 23% lower than that of a non-green building.
Smart use of water resources is being implemented in the building by reducing potable water utilization for toilets, urinals, and shower that helps natural conservation of resources, reduces costs, and improve the building’s efficiency. Proper collection of recyclables and waste management has also been considered to ensure severe impacts to landfills.
“There is no long-term future without sustainability,” JDC’s Brand Manager Ayla Gomez reiterated. “In a fast-growing city like Cebu, sustainability should really be at the forefront of every developer. We are at a unique time and place where health, safety and wellness continue to prove that these are important factors to be able to keep progressing and ensure growth.”
JEG Tower goes above and beyond sustainability standards as it ensures ozone protection by using a Hydroflourocarbon (HFC) R-410A which has zero Ozone-depletion potential in the refrigerant used for the building. It also implemented an erosion and sedimentation control plan during construction. It also has pocket green spaces and a pioneering green roof that provides restoration of habitats that will support local flora and fauna.
“Anything we can power through a sustainable source is a great benefit for a building, beyond energy consumption, this further emphasizes the efficiency of our energy model and ultimately helps us lower carbon footprint,” Gomez said.
If there is something positive that came out of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts agree that it is emphasizing the importance of employee health and safety, exploring the possibility of a more flexible working arrangement, and reiterating the importance of space – especially in the office.
As more economies and industries reopen in the new normal, many companies and businesses are becoming more aware of their responsibilities in taking care of and prioritizing the well-being of their employees. As an effect of the long-term remote work scheme, most employees have also realized the importance of work-life balance.
What is Work-Life Balance in the New Normal?
Mobile devices, cloud sharing applications, and video conferencing platforms have played key roles in making remote work possible during lockdowns. As modern technology offered this possibility and convenience, it also further blurred the line that separates work and the private lives of many workers. In an article published by Forbes Magazine in May, many employers and employees alike reported burnout because of this. International corporations and even local businesses have recognized how “the blurring of lines between home and work and the relentlessness of the pandemic workday have taken a toll on their well-being.”
Redefining work-life balance in the new normal became crucial for companies in order to address it better during business re-entry. With the transition to a more flexible work arrangement, work-life balance now emphasizes the importance of working efficiently without sacrificing the employees’ health and wellness. Work-life balance in the new normal should also highlight rest and strengthening one’s immune system as protection against the virus. Moreover, it should also focus on working within safe and healthy workspaces.
Healthy Spaces for Work-Life Balance
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a healthy post-pandemic workplace should be a balance of occupational health and safety, as well as health promotion efforts and initiatives.
JEG Tower @ One Acacia was designed and built with its occupiers’ health and safety in mind. Even before the pandemic, this premium 22-storey commercial establishment aimed to offer the best workplace in Cebu City.
Homegrown developer, JEG Development Corporation (JDC), has focused on pivoting the evolving needs of the workplace in the new normal and has incorporated systems, fixtures, and technology to inspire work-life balance and provide a safe space for its tenants.
Through the intelligent utilization of technology, sustainable design and construction methods, and integrated and holistic approach to the well-being of its occupiers, JEG Tower @ One Acacia is the perfect new normal workplace in the heart of Metro Cebu. This premium green building was named 2020’s Best Green Commercial Development in the Philippines for its design and utilization of top-grade amenities to elevate the experience of its tenants. It also recently achieved a LEED Gold certification, making it one of the most sustainable developments in the country.
Looking for a safe workplace post-lockdown in Metro Cebu? Reach out to Lorenzo Rodriguez at (+63) 917-825-6884. Schedule a viewing with us today by calling (+63) 2-8403-5519 or sending an email to email@example.com.
Over the past two decades, Cebu City has been considered the boom-town of the Visayas in terms of growth and development. Indeed, the city has gone beyond tourism to become one of the country’s leading technology hubs, and is now recognized as one of the world’s top destinations for business process outsourcing (BPO) firms. Likewise, this southern metropolis has also been recognized as one of the most livable cities in the country, prompting an influx of new residents moving in from neighboring islands in search of a better and more comfortable way of living.
As a result, this has led to a number of big-ticket infrastructure initiatives and a pressing need to provide premium office space to suit the needs of both local and international corporations that want to set up shop in the Queen City of the South. For this, companies like homegrown Cebu firm JEG Development Corporation (JDC) are designing and building new structures to meet the needs of the city’s rapidly expanding corporate community.
JDC’s JEG Tower at One Acacia is one such development — and it is a structure that may very well revolutionize Cebu’s real estate and development industry, particularly where sustainability and environmental compliance are concerned.
Raising The Standards For Excellence
Green technology: The JEG Tower lobby will feature Mitsubishi DOAS lifts, pass-card turnstiles for security, as well as a plant-covered wall for a verdant touch.
“JEG Tower is one of a new crop of office developments in Cebu that are raising the standards of buildings in our city,” JDC estate and business development manager Stefan Garcia explains. “Our company has placed a lot of resources to build the best workspace in the city.”
Occupying 1,360 sqm. of a total area of 1,700 sqm., JEG Tower stands at 22 floors high, making it one of the tallest structures in Metropolitan Cebu. Its overall design is reminiscent of one of the world’s most iconic architectural landmarks, New York City’s Flatiron Building, when viewed from the corner of Archbishop Reyes Avenue and Acacia Street. Yet, its spirit is uniquely Filipino thanks to the visionary minds at JDV who worked on the structure in partnership with the Cebu arm of CASAS+Architects.
Each of its working floors was designed with an efficient and maximized use of space in mind. There is a total floor efficiency of 92 percent, with 950 sqm. of usable space and a 215 sqm. common area on each of the structure’s floors.
All in the family: JDC COO Marko Sarmiento, Estate and Business Development manager Stefan Garcia, and brand manager Ayla Gomez
Aside from raising the bar when it comes to usable space, JEG Tower is also equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Traveling from the lobby to one’s office floor — or even floor-to-floor, for that matter is made easier and faster with the installation of Mitsubishi’s Destination-oriented Allocation System (DOAS) elevators which use pass-cards coded to specific floors. The use of Mitsubishi DOAS also doubles as a security measure: it discourages loitering as passengers, whether they’re tenants or guests, may only get on or off the lift at their assigned floors.
In addition, the building is cooled throughout by the energy-efficient Daikin VRV air-conditioning system which is considered the best possible choice for the structure, given Cebu’s tropical climate.
Going Green In The 21st Century
Speaking of energy efficiency, JEG Tower also has the distinction of being one of Cebu City’s very first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified structures.
Currently pre-certified at the Silver level for building design and construction (LEED BD+C), the efficient and proper use of resources is at the very core of JEG Tower’s design and development. Once completed, it is expected to use less water and electrical power than many of the structures currently in the city’s central business district, and is expected to emit less in terms of dangerous greenhouse gases.
In order for all these to be possible, JEG Tower is equipped with 100 percent back-up power that can run 24-7. Likewise, floor to ceiling windows made with specially-treated glass don’t just present magnificent views of the city below and the surrounding environs; these also go a long way in reducing the use of electrical power throughout the structure, as ambient natural lighting illuminates workspaces in the daytime. Indeed, it is expected that JEG Tower will save energy by at least 12 percent and, thanks to efficient plumbing, reduce its total water usage by about 32 percent.
One interesting design detail that also doubles as a sustainability measure is the use of greenery in the JEG Tower façade, as well as a beautifully landscaped rooftop garden that can be used as an events space for corporate or social functions.
As JDC brand manager Ayla Gomez puts it, “We are also excited about the rooftop garden, which we are sure our future tenants will appreciate as well. It is a great area for events and is a perfect green space that we need for a quick afternoon respite, as it overlooks the sea and the mountains, fueling and inspiring the rest of the workday.”
In addition, JEG Tower was designed in such a way that tenants are also encouraged to lead a more sustainable lifestyle for themselves. While there are ample parking spaces over six floors, it is close enough to public transport terminals for the commute to and from home. Its location is also in close proximity to key commercial areas, enabling tenants to walk to a wide variety of retail and service establishments as well as restaurants. Bike racks are also provided for those who will opt to pedal their way to and from work, along with shower rooms where they can freshen up for the workday.
Gomez adds, “As the building is getting closer to turn over, locals can look forward to now having the option to choose better work environments for their companies and most especially for the people that work for them. The city will have a grade-A building that fosters community and the work-life balance that every Cebuano deserves.”
A Tower Founded On A Storied Heritage
Gomez’s words resonate with the Cebuano public not only because these buoy up their hopes for a more progressive city, but because she is part of a family that has long played a role in the province’s rapid growth: the Escaño-Garcias who not only are the driving force behind JDC but are also the people behind Vivant, one of the leading companies of the Philippine energy industry through the Visayan Electric Company Inc. (VECO), the country’s second largest electricity utility operation.
While JEG Tower is JDC’s first large-scale corporate structure, it has also made its name in the real estate and development industry through elegant strip malls like One Acacia Place and The Gallery, as well as Tomodachi Premium Residences, a Japanese-inspired cluster of townhouses that have become the home of choice for members of Cebu’s growing expatriate community. As with the developments that preceded it, JEG Tower was created to suit the changing needs of a city that continues to evolve along with its people.
JDC officially topped off JEG Tower last November, and, as it draws closer to completion by the second quarter of this year, it has become a symbol of Cebu’s pride in its history, its dynamic present, and what promises to be a prosperous future.
One of the first things you must decide on when leasing an office is how much space your business needs to occupy in order to successfully operationalize. Unfortunately, there is no single formula business owners can use to compute the exact floor area they need to lease.
Consider the following factors instead:
Number and Types of Employees The size of your future office should depend on the number and types of employees your company has. Consider the space they need in order to function productively and efficiently.
Office Layout From stuffy and uniformed cubicle styled office layouts, workplace designs are now varied from open floor plans to colorful hubs that aim to be trendy and more functional. Open or traditional, which one are you going for?
Future of your business In a few years, your business may have outgrown the space you’re planning on leasing. However, you need to have some forethought and decide where will your company be in the near future.
Your considerations for the size of your office should not end in allotting space for desks and computers. You should also think about shared spaces like meeting rooms, conference areas, and other venue where your employees can take a break and socialize. Studies show that providing your employees with ample space to take a break from work and away from their workstations improve their overall productivity and work ethics.
Lastly, you should account your identity as a company when deciding on how much space should your office occupy. Your company culture may manifest in the way you and your employees do and finish work, how you organize and communicate, and at the same time influence the dynamics that will take place in your office floor.