Sustainability Construction and Design Trends 2021

Sustainability was one of the most defining shifts in the real estate industry in 2020. As more businesses realize the importance of health and well-being, this trend in design and construction shows no signs of slowing down this year. Construction and design professionals are also working to build more planet-friendly structures that would benefit communities as a whole.

Here are some green trends in construction and design to expect this year:

Green Materials and Increased LEED applications

As more people realize the benefits of staying and locating in a green building, many developers will aim for LEED certification for their commercial and residential developments. More green materials will be used and prioritized in construction to help property owners achieve this certification.

Green materials such as wood, bamboo, natural fibers, non-VOC paints, fiber cement, among others will be utilized by developers and contractors for their health and practical benefits. Experts say that as more people realize the connection between their environment and their wellness, many will opt to return to using materials that originate from nature rather than highly processed and synthetic options.

Biophilic Design

Many offices will be inspired by biophilic features and design in workstations and shared spaces. Biophilic spaces do not only use eco-friendly materials, it also promote a healthier lifestyle by bringing nature and its elements back into buildings.

Studies found that incorporating biophilic design in the workplace has a positive effect on the employees’ productivity, mood, and health. Work environments that feature elements of nature can contribute to a decrease in the levels of mental fatigue and an increase in levels of workplace well-being.

RELATED: The Importance of Biophilic Design in a Post-Lockdown Office

A biophilic office design will continuously be in trend for this year since businesses prioritize the health and safety of their employees as they start coming back to the office amid the threats of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than strict precautionary measures protecting physical health, employers should also cater to the emotional and mental well-being of their people.

Vernacular Architecture

Vernacular Architecture will also be one of the sustainable construction and design trends for this year. More developments will be using locally produced and available construction materials. This real estate trend will also inspire design that will not only pay homage to the history and culture of a place but would also increase the efficiency of material procurement and production. This type of construction is sustainable as vernacular design stresses utilizing materials within reach from the site, which in turn cuts down on transportation cost and reduces the chance of shortage of materials.

Water Conservation Measures

Commercial buildings will be more aware of their water conservation measures in 2021 as there is more awareness of the predicted shortage of fresh water supply in some regions of the world. Installing rainwater collecting and management facilities and installing green roofs is a sustainable design and construction solution for this imminent environmental problem.

READ MORE: How Green Roofs Help the Environment

Passive Building Design

Logically designing a building to maximize as many natural resources is also one of the sustainable trends in construction this year. Allowing more natural light by building larger windows or orienting a structure in such a way that wind flows will lead to lesser utility costs and lesser energy emissions in the long run. Little adjustments and changes in the design of a development can go a long way to reducing the energy requirements of the building and would also benefit its occupants.

JEG Development Corportation is one of the frontrunners of sustainability in the Philippines. Its first vertical commercial development, JEG Tower @ One Acacia is where sustainability meets sophistication. The 22-storey office and retail tower is LEED Silver Pre-certified and is designed for providing an optimal working environment for its tenants.

JEG Tower @ One Acacia is also 2020’s Best Commercial Green Development in the 8th Property Guru Philippine Property Awards. Recognizing the tower’s world-class green features and amenities, JDC is the first local Cebuano company to win this award. JEG Tower was also shortlisted for Best Office Development in the same year.

Learn more about how the building’s design and construction benefit the environment and its occupants. Contact Lorenzo Rodriguez at (+63) 917-852-6884. For more information on leasing, send us an email at info@kmcmaggroup.com or reach out to us through (+632) 8403-5519.

The LEED Advantage: Should commercial buildings in the Philippines go for LEED certification?

As more people become aware of the benefits of a green building in the workplace and the community, many developers are pushing for sustainable and green real estate in the Philippines. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is one of the certifications that buildings in the country can apply to ensure the safety, comfort, and security of its occupants.

Developed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), it is an internationally-recognized green building certification program that provides a third-party verification that a building was designed and built following strategies aimed at improving performance, increasing energy savings, water efficiency, and carbon emissions reduction, stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts, and improving indoor environmental quality.

LEED certification is achieved by five main LEED Rating Systems evaluating different aspects of building and construction. Primarily, commercial and office buildings follow LEED Building Design and Construction (BD+C); LEED for Interior Design and Construction (ID+C); LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M).

RELATED: What does LEED mean in Philippine Commercial Real Estate?

These rating systems allow developments to gain points pre-, during, and after the construction phase. Points collected by establishments determine which kind of certification they achieve: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Certified. As establishments correctly implement a strategy, they earn LEED points. The more points earned, the more sustainable the building is.

LEED certification is also recognized globally. It is the most widely adopted benchmark as its standards apply to buildings operating at a global, regional, and local levels. 

People, Planet, Profit

LEED certification differentiates buildings from the rest. It shows how companies put a premium on their tenants’ safety, comfort, and security while staying inside the establishment. It is also a statement for sustainability as green practices and strategies are upheld from the design, materials used, construction, and operations of the building. Lesser construction waste is also produced.

Moreover, a LEED certification also benefits developers and property owners, highlighting the ‘profit’ aspect of the program. Green buildings result in reduced energy and water usage, effectively lowering operating costs.  LEED-certified buildings have a greater resale value and drastically elevate a company’s branding and public image.

READ MORE: Optimizing Buildings for Disease Prevention

Transitioning to the ‘new normal’, office buildings are applying stricter rules and regulations as some companies begin their business re-entry. These guidelines emphasize the health and security of building occupants against disease-causing bacteria and viruses, especially after numerous studies have attributed faster virus spread in the workplace.

One of the main aspects of LEED-certified buildings is its improved indoor air quality. Research has attributed virus outbreaks in office spaces to poor indoor air quality especially in confined spaces. These studies suggest that the filtration of recirculated air may be effective in reducing the transmission of airborne and infectious diseases. High-grade filters remove dust, vapors, bacteria, and fungi, and also effectively capture viral particles spread by droplet nuclei. 

Additionally, LEED-certified buildings optimize the ventilation inside office spaces. Research also found that an increased ventilation rate effectively reduces the cross-infection of airborne transmitted disease by diluting the contaminated air inside the space more rapidly and decrease the risk of cross-infection.

LEED is the new standard

Given the important role of the work environment in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, LEED certification is the new standard in securing the health, well-being, and safety of building occupiers. LEED’s basic principles of people, planet, and profit offer a cohesive standard for developers and property owners to forward the state of well-being of tenants and employees in the workplace.

Pursuing higher quality spaces encourage responsible building and developments that go beyond mere structure. Through green accreditation systems, the welfare of the community in and out of these spaces are prioritized.