New industry player and Menarco Development founder Carmen Jimenez-Ong believes the country’s property development sector has what it takes to meet global standards in building healthier structures.
Speaking before industry leaders during the Sustainable Building Forum 2019 organized by Arcadis Philippines Inc. titled “The State and the Future of Sustainable Construction in the Philippines,” Jimenez-Ong emphasized the qualitative and quantitative returns of having both certifications.
“I wanted to breathe life into a real estate company that designs and creates spaces that are humanity centered – workspaces where employees could work at their best,” Jimenez-Ong said. “I believe Menarco has set the new normal in putting people and planet first, and I hope to stir the consciousness among my fellow builders about what is possible in our country. I see a future where buildings are healthy – translating into companies’ profitability and capacity to open more job opportunities – and ultimately, contribute to nation building.”
Citing the World Green Building Trends of 2018 in Southeast Asia by Dodge Data & Analytics, Jimenez-Ong said there is a growing preference for buildings that promote improved health and well-being of its occupants in Southeast Asia. In fact, 59 percent of respondents from Singapore and 71 percent from Vietnam said healthfulness would be in the top two social reasons why they are choosing to build green projects.
According to the Dodge Data & Analytics study, one of the key obstacles in building sustainable green projects in Southeast Asia is the perceived high cost of construction.
Jimenez-Ong explained that Menarco added approximately 2.4 percent only to the original building cost to create a sustainable space that meets the gold standards of LEED and WELL.
She expects to recoup this supplementary investment within four to five years because of substantial savings the tower has gained from operational costs.
“These global sustainable rating systems are well-thought out tools so that developers can achieve the highest building standards correctly. They target what really matters to ensure that we are doing the right thing and using our budget efficiently,” Jimenez-Ong said.
Jimenez-Ong further affirmed that discerning, sustainability-minded tenants find it wiser to lease office spaces in Menarco Tower not just from the utilities savings, but also for the overall high standard of maintenance quality they receive.