Sustainable Developments: Benefits and Why More Businesses are Choosing to be Green

As the term “sustainability” became a more encompassing concept across different industries, more businesses are shifting and adapting to principles to achieve and practice it. According to the Alliance for Sustainable Built Environments, businesses and organizations that follow these principles and approaches create long-term value by embracing opportunities and managing risks derived from changes in economic, environmental, and social factors.

What is Sustainability in Real Estate Developments?

Sustainable or “green” developments are buildings and establishments that were designed and constructed to uplift the conservation and protection of the environment, hand in hand with the promotion of health and well-being in any commercial or residential property.

According to the World Green Building Council, a structure is considered ‘green’ when its design, construction, and operation reduce or eliminate negative impacts and in turn create positive effects to the environment and to the wellness of its occupants and the community. This organization has developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED certification, that aims to be a benchmark for sustainability and eco-friendliness. LEED Certification points are awarded to projects based on numerous sustainability factors and categories, which are used to get a composite score for the project.

RELATED: Employees working in LEED-certified buildings are Happier, Healthier, and More Productive

A study by the Asian Development Bank has found that there is an uptrend of ‘green and sustainable’ businesses in the region as more recognize the ‘serious threats to human health, environmental quality, and natural resources from the pursuit of economic growth.’

In the Philippines, a shift towards sustainability was even more emphasized as the country battle the COVID-19 pandemic. Issues such as the lack of healthy public spaces were placed under the spotlight as modifications are being refined to transition to a new and better normal.

Benefits of Going Green

Green buildings offer more benefits to businesses in terms of economical or financial, environmental, and social aspects.

Green buildings provide economic advantages to businesses through lower construction costs, higher property value, greater utility savings, and lower operating costs for its tenants and occupants. Sustainable developments utilize locally available raw materials and resources that reduce transportation and logistical costs for construction materials. Moreover, green buildings are proven to reduce energy consumption by 23% and ensure efficient electricity and water usage throughout the whole building. 

Sustainable developments and LEED-certified buildings, such as JEG Tower @ One Acacia becomes the new standard for office and commercial properties in the Philippines. This 22-storey building was recognized by the PropertyGuru Property Awards and named it the Best Green Commercial Development in the Philippines.

READ MORE: JEG Tower @ One Acacia wins Best Commercial Green Development

Designed and constructed to be a safe environment and a premium space for Cebuanos even before the pandemic, JEG Tower offers the perfect new normal workplace in the Visayan capital.

In the new normal community and building-based prevention and control measures have become one of the most important methods of fighting against the epidemic. As cities start to reopen their economies and people return to work, green buildings have become a standard for many companies and businesses. A building’s green features became a leverage for commercial developments for the benefits it extends for the health of its tenants and for the prevention of future disease outbreaks.

Want to learn more about how JEG Tower @ One Acacia promotes sustainability in the Philippines? Reach out to Lorenzo Rodriguez at (+63)-917-825 6884. For listing inquiries and more information, call us at (+63) 2-8403-5519 or send an email to

Wellness Ratings & The Office: Why it Matters

The global health crisis has undoubtedly highlighted the need for ‘healthier’ and safer buildings and public spaces. Now more than ever, people need a safer and healthier workplace. The ‘new normal’ presents an opportunity for companies to reevaluate the priorities for their employees and tenants and pivot towards a more sustainable approach in commercial real estate in the Philippines.

Driven by the growing consciousness and awareness of the public to the importance of such spaces, there is also an increasing appetite from investors and owners for buildings to implement more holistic measures which improve the spaces they offer to the public.

What is a Building ‘Wellness Rating’?

Wellness ratings aim to measure and recognize public spaces that provide utmost importance to the health and well-being of its tenants. These ratings are certifications that developers and property owners aspire to complete and achieve as a symbol of their commitment to building spaces that put a premium on the public’s welfare, especially in the new normal.

Wellness Ratings in the Philippines

In the Philippines, commercial developments can aim for LEED, BERDE, and WELL certifications to ensure the quality of spaces they construct and offer to the public.

LEED or the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Development is one of the certifications that buildings in the country can apply to ensure the safety, comfort, and security of the building’s occupiers.

Developed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), it is an internationally recognized certification program that provides a third-party verification that a building was designed and built following strategies aimed to underscore the triple bottom line of sustainability: People, Planet, and Profit.

The ‘People’ concept of sustainability highlights the importance of the experience inside the building. It emphasizes how providing an ideal environment for occupants can contribute to their working performance, motivation, happiness, and its overall impacts on public health and society as a whole.

READ MORE: LEED’s Triple Bottomline: How JEG Tower @ One Acacia uplifts People, Planet, and Profit

BERDE, or the Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence, is a tool to assess, measure, monitor, and certify the performance of green building projects in the Philippines. Developed by the Philippine Green Building Council, this rating aims to ensure green buildings perform and follow existing national and local building and environmental laws, regulations, and mandatory standards in the country.

WELL, on the other hand, is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing. Commercial buildings and establishments are evaluated through various elements that contribute and affect holistic well-being of the public including air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind.

Why is Wellness Important in the Office

Commercial developments and office buildings in the Philippines should aim to provide healthy and safe spaces for their tenants, employees, and occupants. Putting the public’s well-being on top of the priority will not only be a unique feature for an establishment but will also benefit the business in the long run.

Studies show that healthy and happy employees perform better and faster in the workplace, effectively increasing their output and boosting their motivation to work. Healthy workspaces also improve and maintain employee morale, fosters loyalty, and increase employee retention.

Moreover, a company that takes care of their employees by providing healthy and safe workspaces create a better and more ideal brand identity and reputation.

With its vision of Bringing Work to Life, JEG Tower @ One Acacia revolutionizes work and life balance by integrating sustainability and sophistication in its design and operations. Office spaces in this 22-storey commercial tower offer the best working environment, amplified by its unique green features and guided by LEED standards.

Interested to learn more? Connect with Lorenzo Rodriguez at (+63) 917-825-6884 to find out how you can locate your business in the best workplace in Cebu City.

Making Waves in the Workplace: Why the Real Estate Industry Needs More Women Leaders

Having female leaders is usually a feat for most companies, but JEG Development Corporation was bound to set new standards from the beginning. Being one of the first few local developers in Cebu, the company is grounded on tradition set by its namesake, Jose E. Garcia, but continues to dare and challenge norms to continue his legacy. Third generation leader, Ayla Gomez, smashes stereotypes and breaks barriers as one of the executive committee members of JDC while advocating for women empowerment and sustainability in the workplace.

“I wouldn’t say it was a dream to be an executive or specifically to be in real estate,” Ayla expressed. “I did, however, have hopes of being able to lead effectively in whatever path I chose to take, and to be able to contribute something of value, and be a team player.”

Breath of Fresh Air

Representing the family business as the brand manager, Ayla stands out as one of the young women who dare to redefine women’s roles in leadership and real estate. Having a background in marketing, design, and business, Ayla applies a different approach in working on JEG Tower @ One Acacia’s branding: she ensures they remain as authentic as possible to their identity and genuinely stand by what the award-winning building represents.

JEG Tower @ One Acacia is JDC’s first vertical development. Despite being arguably the new kids on the block, the 22-storey premium green building has already been recognized as the Philippines’ Best Green Development and was shortlisted as Best Office Development by PropertyGuru Philippines Property Awards.

READ MORE: JEG Tower @ One Acacia wins Best Commercial Green Development

“We are a small company, even smaller when I came in, and we were starting our first vertical project,” Ayla shared. “I remember thinking back then, “This can be challenging.”, but of course, being small has its advantages which we look at as a strength of ours.” 

Fast forward years after, JEG Tower @ One Acacia is nearing its opening and launch. It is dubbed as the best place to work in Cebu City after earning a LEED Silver Pre-certification and an accreditation from PEZA. 

Green Branding Redefined

Being “green” is not all about being environmentally friendly today. For a homegrown company like JDC, this project means a way of giving back to the people of Cebu. While constructing a green building is more expensive compared to building normal ones, JDC carries its company values of integrity, visionary, and fortitude.

“If they are building something, we are doing it the best way possible,” Ayla expressed. “We want to make them feel valuable, staying true to JEG Tower’s main vision of revolutionizing work and life balance.”

READ MORE: Defining Innovation in Real Estate

The importance of green buildings is being emphasized much more today as the world faces a global health crisis in the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, green buildings encompass a holistic approach in real estate, where sustainability is measured in providing a safe and healthy space for building occupants, while minimizing the harmful effects of construction and operations on the environment.

“I felt very strongly about the project and the sustainable direction it was leading in. I was excited to be part of one of the first movers in Cebu real estate to recognize this importance and to help bring this to the forefront in the community here,” she said. 

Inspiring More ‘Girl Bosses 

Gone are the times that it is unconventional for companies to have female leaders. In fact, Ayla shared an interesting trivia: “According to the Grant Thornton 2020 Women in Business Survey, 43% of female executives in the country hold senior leadership roles, and the Philippines ranked first as having the most number of female executives. This is definitely inspiring!”

Progressive companies and more ‘tenacious, compassionate, and collaborative’ women leaders work hand in hand in normalizing how gender does not define nor limit brilliance nor competence in leadership.

“One challenge that women leaders face is having to assert ourselves more because most industries are still very much male dominated, which puts women on an uneven playing field,” she shared. “Most times, a woman’s competence is questioned and criticized more than of a man’s.”

Despite this, Ayla inspires more girl bosses and women leaders to eliminate inequality and stereotypes in the industry. “The gender bias or double standard is prevalent and is something that women are fighting to change. Women continue to break the glass ceiling and make waves in the workplace.”

Representing JEG Development Corporation and fellow women, Ayla calls for an inclusive workplace for all in working towards a ‘gender-balanced’ society. “Be proactive. Let us continue to make our voices heard and make others listen,” she stated. “Whether it is for equal pay or more representation in the company, let us push for action to evaluate, identify, and prevent an unconscious bias.”

Pushing Sustainable Offices: Leveraging smart technology for safety, productivity

Returning to a safer and smarter workplace has been a consideration for most businesses and locators in the Philippines. As the global struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic persists, the post-lockdown landscape is focusing on adopting technology and stringent measures to make sure that people and communities are not at risk in environments they frequent such as the office. 

A shift to a more sustainable and smart office is slowly becoming a main point of distinction. In the Philippines, experts say that majority are still likely to return to physical office spaces for certain operational needs such as spontaneous cross-collaboration, mentorship, and even socialization. 

Fostering a collaborative work environment is as important as keeping it safe. Investing in smart technology can ensure that businesses can still grow productivity and cultivate innovation amid the challenges posed by the public health crisis.  

The rise of automation 

Going contactless or touchless is one of the main features to consider for the smart office. Sensors, access cards, or recognition software can be utilized in the entry to and exit from the premises and its amenities. This will help reduce the risks of contamination and transmission in these spaces. 

In some buildings such as JEG Tower @ One Acacia, you can enter through automatic sliding doors, and scanning of QR codes will be implemented so employees and visitors can input their information in a hassle-free manner. In common area bathrooms, automatic faucets and flushing will be installed to make it hands-free or remove unnecessary surface contact. 

RELATED: JEG Tower Focus – Additional Safety Features for Disease Prevention 

More technology efficiency 

Beyond disease prevention, sustainability is supported by smart technology via more efficient use of energy. Elevators using Destination Oriented Allocation System is recommended as it helps reduce congestion at the halls via efficient authorization at security gates and optimum car allocation.  

As one of the premium LEED buildings in Cebu, JEG Tower is one of the spaces that focus on energy efficiency or the proper use of resources for the sake of the environment. This is not only impactful to the occupants of the building but also the Cebuano community as a whole.  

Improved Connection 

The gradual return of the workforce will demand better communication channels and connectivity. Beyond strong ICT infrastructure, smart offices should enable stable and streamlined communication within and outside the organization by availing hi-tech equipment, telco provisions, internet options, and use of software or apps that can support frequent digital communication and collaboration.    

RELATED5 Apps to Help You Get Through Working From Home 

Safer Conduct of Business  

With the ongoing pandemic, minimum public health standards and protocols are in place and should be followed. Prioritizing client and workforce wellbeing by digitizing key aspects of transactions and operations through the smarter use of technology will help guarantee customer satisfaction and employee retention.  

Utilizing digital tools or online-based platforms for virtual tours or contactless payment options will assure convenience and more security. In line with this, one can schedule site viewings to JEG Tower @ One Acacia and answer the mandated health declaration form online ahead of the visit. A 360 virtual showroom will also soon be available for easier viewing of their premium spaces. 

The pivot towards sustainability and pandemic-proofing the workplace goes beyond aesthetics. The value of spaces can be reliant on its ability to invest in the correct technology that will seek to protect the wellness of occupants without sacrificing business continuity or opportunities for expansion.

Sustainable Design: Impacts to New Normal and Climate Change

As the country eases to a more relaxed quarantine status, many begin to look forward to the ‘new normal’. However, health experts remind that this transition is a gradual shift, given the transition would not occur at the flip of the switch

Different industries and business sectors have started employing various strategies to adapt to the changes brought by the pandemic. The real estate sector has undoubtedly been affected by COVID-19 in unprecedented ways, reshaping how developers and investors think about the design and purpose of buildings and establishments. 

Many developments are taking the opportunity to transform the design towards sustainability, prioritizing the health and wellness of their building occupiers and contributing less to environmental degradation. Transitioning to the ‘new normal’ opens a chance for developers and property owners to create spaces that are sanitary and sustainable in the long term, collectively making cities more efficient, safer, cleaner, and smarter. 

Post-Pandemic Office Makeovers 

Redesigning offices to prioritize sanitation and sustainability can result in healthier workspaces. Companies are investing in smart technology to ensure the safety and protection of its employees against various health hazards.  

To ensure minimized contact among occupants, a contactless or a low-touch office experience becomes the new standard. This includes limiting contact in operating certain equipment such as printer screens, elevator buttons, or door handles by replacing them with technology-enabled by sensors. Workplace strategists expect more automatic doors and screens to be more common to significantly remove the need for touching handles or pressing buttons.   

RELATED: The Future of Workplace: Contactless Features and Smart Technology 

New Normal Workplace Design  

Many argue that open office layouts will no longer be the trend in workplace design especially in the new normal. Some suggest that many businesses will resort back to the boxed and cubicle style office to ensure physical distancing among employees.   

However, since these changes will not be abrupt, companies are implementing a staggered seating plan which eradicates ‘elbow-to-elbow’ seating, and the use of shared desks and workstations. This would also result in newfound “openness” as companies reduce tables, chairs, and other office equipment that take up space.  

Some are utilizing a shifting workforce scheme that effectively reduces the number of employees inside the office during specific work hours, capping the in-office staff at 30 to 50 percent to maintain social distancing. 

Workplace strategists also suggest visual cues on floors and walls to ensure a safe six-feet buffer for every employee, regardless of whether they’re sitting at their desk or walking to the restroom.  

Sustainability in Construction for Disease Prevention 

The COVID-19 pandemic has also opened the discussion on the implications of building and construction to climate change and health. More than redesigning workplaces and implementing strategies, the real estate sector can contribute to disease prevention on a larger scale by building with the environment in mind.  

According to some studies, constructing buildings account for one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions and consume 40% of the world’s energy. It is also one of the largest sources of CO2 emissions which evidently cause a rampant rise in temperature that worsen climate condition. Research has linked this to the increased risk of pathogens being transmitted between animals and humans.  

Through sustainability and green real estate, buildings aim to use better materials and comply with construction methods that reduce the harmful effects on the environment. Alternative construction materials such as recycled steel, low e-glass, sheep’s wool, bamboo, and cork are beginning to be widely used. Copper is also becoming an alternative to iron construction materials since it is less hospitable to germs and disease-carrying viruses. 

Aside from construction materials, the design of a building also changes to prioritize health and sustainability. Ventilation systems are being reconfigured to flow air down from the ceiling rather than from the floor up. Larger windows are also becoming the standard to allow maximum daylight and reduce energy usage inside buildings. All these modifications are geared towards achieving long-term resiliency and mitigating any future physical or market shocks, together with the reduction of a building’s carbon footprint. 

These changes do not only prioritize the health and safety of employees inside buildings. These are also stringent measures that improve their happiness, motivation, and productivity inside the workspace. 

READ MORE: Employees working in LEED-certified buildings are Happier, Healthier, and More Productive 

The COVID-19 pandemic served as a timely reminder of the role of real estate in shaping the health of communities and impacting the environment. Given the opportunity to adapt and shift towards sustainability, buildings and developments should keep in mind that more people are in need and will demand a safer, healthier, and more sustainable environment. 

Learn more about sustainability in design and real estate. Contact Lorenzo Martin Rodriguez at (+63) 917-825-6884. You can also call us at (+63) 2-8403-5519 or send an email to 

Getting ahead of the curve: ‘Disease proofing’ the new normal workplace

Globally, several stringent measures are being taken against the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure that a “return to normalcy” will happen sooner than projected. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease said that it is possible to experience the “new normal” within the year but the transition to making people feel safe to move around should start early on.  

While many have successes in working remotely, the thought of returning to the office post-lockdown can still trigger pandemic fears and risks. The wellness and safety of the people should be treated as equally important to the economic health of a business by applying stronger employee health measures beyond temperature checks, deep cleaning, or sanitation areas. 

Experts believe that the transition period can be seen as an opportunity to address pre-existing challenges. Rethinking the ways we approach the design and use of the workplace can be utilized to help prevent diseases and protect public health.  

Sanitary Redesign 

Real estate developments need to be more conscious of the materials that they build with given the sustainability shift. In a Forbes report, it is suggested that anti-microbial materials such as copper should be more utilized to be less hospitable to germs. It is also imperative to include key distancing-minded features in their design or pre-build plans. 

To significantly lower the risk of contamination, ventilation systems must be reconfigured to blow air from the ceiling instead of the floor up. It is also recommended that the six-feet distancing buffer is observed by color-coding the floors and ensuring that workstations are properly spaced. 

Productivity & Eco-friendly Design 

Given the concurrent public health crisis, the office must be recognized as an environment too and changes in relation to keeping it healthy and safe should be prioritized. The American Journal of Health believes that improved indoor air quality can impact employee disposition and reduce absenteeism which leads to better productivity. 

Employing a high-quality air filtration system can help in disease prevention such as allergies and asthma. Breathing in good air can also do wonders for mental health as research shows that it helps alleviate stress and depression. 

Other environmental considerations include better acoustics, more natural light, office ergonomics, and ample privacy.  

The Philippines is no stranger to the rise of green developments. Moving beyond the capital, Cebu is home to the sustainable estates such as JEG Tower @ One Acacia who got ahead and placed a premium in the overall sustainable design and build of the tower to better cater to its occupants’ wellbeing and the environment.  

JEG Tower achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) BD+C Core and Shell Silver pre-certification. This guarantees that the estate is optimized for disease prevention, promotes healthier indoor space that encourages movement and activity, lower use of energy, and better water conservation. Its fresh air system is also well-complemented by the installation of the MERV 13 filter than can capture anything as small as 0.3 to 1 micron.  

RELATED: JEG Tower Focus – Additional Safety Features for Disease Prevention 

Aiming to ensure further safety from viruses, it has pivoted successfully in employing adjustments to minimize the risk of contamination through contactless and technology-reliant measures by adding automatic doors, sensors, and scanning of QR codes upon entry.  

As the priorities shift to focus on reshaping spaces ahead of the new normal and protecting communities in the post-lockdown landscape, the demand for efficient properties will only continue to increase. The future of work will rest on spaces that can foster a clean and healthy environment.