Features of Quezon City’s Green Building Ordinance

In 2009, the Quezon City government approved and enacted Ordinance No. SP-1917, the "Green Building Ordinance of 2009", which necessitates that new buildings in the city including movable properties and other structures,  follow minimum standards of a green infrastructure in their design and construction. Even existing buildings that are up for reconstruction are asked to comply with the implementing rules and guidelines of the ordinance in retrofitting.

All structures must be ‘green’
Infrastructures that are covered by the Green Building Ordinance of 2009 include commercial, institutional and industrial buildings. According to the National Building Code, these are hotels, office buildings, malls, dry markets, wet markets and slaughterhouses, schools, hospitals, factories and warehouses.

Coverage is specifically for:

The local government has found the enactment of the ordinance necessary to promote basic principles of conservation and protection of the environment. In addition,  the mandate would strengthen the  institutionalization of eco-friendly systems and technologies that are geared toward the reduction of greenhouse gases and effluents from establishments.  All of these are for the city's goals of sustainable development and people empowerment.

City must have a network of green spaces
The policy specifies that construction of infrastructures should meet building standards of energy efficiency, cost effectiveness, ground water protection and mitigation of environmentally damaging impacts, which would also increase the demand for earth-friendly building materials. Green infrastructure should be the key planning framework in land conservation, urban planning and development.  With these, the city is envisioned to have a network of green spaces with a healthy biodiversity existing among infrastructures.  

The ordinance also calls for the use of cost efficient technologies and renewable sources of energy like biofuels in the operation of both public and private motorized vehicles, stressing that the hazardous effects of greenhouse gases know no limits. Land developers, users and planners will be awarded incentives upon compliance to the ordinance in the form of tax credit and tax discount.
Two certifications are issued to Green Building infrastructure:

  •  A Preliminary Certificate may be issued by the Department of Building Official (DBO) when the proposed project is seen technically feasible and satisfies the mandatory green building requirements by the Environment Protection and Waste Management Department. Upon the completion of the project, the Green Building Inspection Unit evaluates the infrastructure and if it indeed complies with the green building requirements…
  •  A Final Certificate is awarded. However, certificates may be revoked if they were obtained by fraud and if the project substantially failed to comply with the requirements, specifications and procedures after construction.

Environmentally sustainable features are desired
pic2The mandatory green building requirements encompass effective plans on land/site sustainability to prevent erosion, sedimentation and air pollution during construction, energy efficiency that would provide effective lighting systems that would improve power consumption by 50%, water efficiency with the use of a Water Reduction System Involving Water Efficient Fixtures, segregation of materials after the construction and the observance of Construction Waste Management practices, maintaining indoor environment quality by including a Designated Smoking Area in the building plan and the installment of a sewage treatment plant that would maintain effluent discharge quality.

How to gain tax credits
In addition, there are also other requirements that a project has to meet should it aspire for tax credit. These include a flood mitigation study showing the building could withstand floods, an accessibility plan for the public, a community connectivity plan that would provide building occupants access to other establishments such as schools, hospitals, grocery stores and parks, bike racks and attendant storage cabinets in parking lots, a parking plan that meets the minimum requirement by the National Building Code, the possibility of the infrastructure being constructed 500 meters away from the MRT or LRT stations, bus and jeepney stations, a plan and a layout that would show landscape in open spaces, plans and specifications for greenery involving light-colored paving or open grid, a Green Roof especially for plants and trees, and a storm water management plan to use rainwater in measuring the amount of runoff during operation and to minimize clogging, prevent flooding and its damages to the environment.

pic1For energy efficiency optional requirements, buildings are to adopt a Building Envelope Design that would improve thermal performance hence reduce heat gain and cooling requirements other than the required plan and calculations adopting the highest Energy Efficient Ratio in air-conditioning systems.

Promoting reduced energy consumption
There are also specific architectural guidelines for natural ventilation that would reduce energy consumption. Buildings eyeing tax credit should also consider presenting and implementing plans for renewable energy systems and specify the location of alternate sources and for water use reduction with or without the use of rainwater.

Various provisions for handling materials and resources include  waste construction management plans through recycling and proper disposal of harmful construction debris, and architectural plans for reusing materials. It is necessary that the amounts of waste diverted  or reduced with the use of a refuse disposal equipment be presented. Buildings should also establish a proposal on how to eliminate dampness to purify the air and at the same time employ low-emission Volatile Organic Compound paints and heavy duty refrigerants that have an Ozone Depleting Potential of zero or less than 100 Global Warming Potential. Finally, though not necessary, it would be best for project developers to seek the assistance, certification and accreditation of BERDE Professionals of the Philippine Green Building Council.

The ordinance also requires motorized vehicles to use preferred fuels like compressed natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, bio-ethanol blended gasoline and other forms of biofuels. Public utility vehicles that are registered, owned and operated in the city, including those that are officially used by the local government are given three years to retrofit from using burning fuel and employ more efficient and sustainable technology instead. Non-compliance could result in decommissioning and revocation of franchises.

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