Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Space, Their Space

By Mona Sabalones Gonzalez

Where and how we live places an enormous impact on the living animal, insect and reptile life around us. I saw this while dwelling on the surrounding life around us each day. Our pets are the overwhelming thing, dogs and cats, but what of the dragonfly I saw outside my window on a twig, or the birds that sing animatedly every morning? What of the frogs that I only heard after 14 years of living in my village when they croaked frantically after a typhoon uprooted trees and felled electric post lines, rendered chaos in the mud and beneath the ground where the frogs croaked.

At another time I remember a tree that fell in the park across a pathway. Anyone who walked down the path was attacked by hordes of ants crawling between toes, up one’s legs and into one’s pants in a nanosecond. It hurt and itched, but they were more frantic than we, as thousands of ants considered the felled tree home.
A human home takes up 40 percent of the world’s energy consumption, 50 percent if we consider the energy used to make the cement, steel, glass and aluminum. But our homes can be made in a way to save their homes, and can be built in a way that saves energy, draws less electric power, poses less harm to the air and addresses in its own small way global warming.
Some info on the house above;  it is, they say, purely concrete 2,500 psi, no wood, well ventilated, saves rain water, recycled roof, no need for insulation, transferable, expandable, no scaffolds, no forms, flexible, solar panels on flat room, no need for aircon--just an exhaust fan to circulate air. They supply and install in these houses in 2-3 months only, anywhere in the world, according to Green Architecture Advocacy Philippines.

This is what Architect Miguel Guerrero, deputy chair of the Green Forum says. This is to be tackled in the 2010 Manila Construction Show, organized by Green Architecture Advocacy Philippines (or Green AP) and LA Ducut and Co. Inc. (Ladci). It will run at the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia from Sept. 2 to 5.

Green AP is an NGO composed of architects and civic minded individuals. In this exhibit they want architects and experts to see what the ecological options are in building homes and show that any house can be built to require minimal energy, be comfortable and healthy.

The Green Forum theme, “Green Extremes: Master Planning to Neighborhood Developments” will focus on sustainability of barangays and neighborhoods. By starting at the lower level of society, it will translate to less problems at the higher levels. Green urban planning can be used in towns, municipalities and cities.

I personally like the fact that this time, the poor get it first.

I am excited to see what this forum has to offer, as there are whisperings in its midst that what seems to be green need not always be. More companies simply adopt the term in their marketing campaigns.

In discerning how green is green, one must ask:

1. Will the homes be livable without energy sucking appliances like air conditioners?

2. Are development projects factoring in future changes like population, traffic, et al?

3. Will foreign designers and materials have to be flown in for the construction? Beware the carbon footprint.

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