Let’s build affordable Philippine green homes!

When I first read about the Postgreen Homes in Philadelphia on Dwell.com, I got excited because their prototype, the 100K House, looked almost exactly like the dream green home I had in mind for my Avida Settings Nuvali home.

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When I looked through their other projects, I got even more excited because these people behind Postgreen–the Ludemans–were already doing (in Philadelphia) what I wanted to do here in the Philippines:  build beautiful, true green homes that were affordable to the middle class.  

The Dwell article referred to the Ludemans as “citizen developers” and I love love love that.  When I was researching about green housing projects for inspiration last year, I came across intentional communities and how variants were coming about left and right.

One interesting version had the people come together first–think of one person teaming up with another to attract even more like-minded people.  They form the neighborhood association and draw up their dream community, and they get specific: where, how big, who, how, what.  Once they gather enough numbers, they property hunt together, and then build the physical community: the roads, permits, subdivisions of the lot, the master plan, etc.

I turned to my dad astounded that such a way of residential development actually existed, but he wasn’t so sure it would work in the Philippines.  We are, for the most part, loyal only to our families.  The concept of community is weak in the Philippines, or at the very least, it is young.

The Postgreen system is unique in the sense that it doesn’t aspire for a separate green community.  It builds its green homes in the here and now, fully integrated into existing neighborhoods in the residential districts of Philadelphia.

When I browsed through the other Postgreen Homes on their website, what I found extra interesting was how they built up and improved on the green features of their projects over time:

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This one has a third floor and yes, a roofdeck!
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The Avant Garage goes beyond the roof deck and includes a green roof:
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Summary of features of Postgreen houses:

  • Solar Thermal
  • Solar PV
  • Passive House Air Sealing
  • Solatube Daylighting
  • Super Insulated
  • Air-to-Air Heat Pump
  • Heat Pump Water Heater
  • Dual Flush Toilet
  • Energy Monitoring
  • Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) <— aka HRV?
  • Rain Collection
  • Triple-Pane Windows
  • Energy Star Appliances
  • Low Flow fixtures
  • Low VOC Finishes/Paints
  • Double Stud Wall
  • Green Roof
  • Roof deck
  • Private Yard
  • Full Basement

I want to do this here, in Manila if able, because it’s where it’s most needed!  Will research which of these design features are applicable (also necessary) to affordable Philippine green housing.

In Avida Settings Nuvali, the only green requirement to build is the dual piping system, which was much of a let down for me. I hoped for more green suggestions from the developer at the very least, if not green requirements.  My own experience in having to fight for my green roof made me realize that although Ayala deserves accolades for initiating the country’s first large scale eco-community project, there is still much to learn and adjust in making this vision of a green community real… And as pioneer residents and stakeholders of Nuvali, that task falls on our shoulders as much as it does on Ayala as developer.

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