Cement Industry Promotes Sustainable Construction

In the heart of the Duka Bay Resort Marine Sanctuary in Medina, Misamis Oriental lie the now famous eight-legged structures which have significantly hastened coral restoration and increased fish diversity and quantity in the area.

The secret behind this marine ecosystem-saving project is the use of substrates made from cement which have been found to be biologically friendly to corals because of their calcium bicarbonate content. The simple yet intelligent idea came from Cagayan de Oro agriculturist Ernesto Pelaez and marine biologist Lemuel Alfeche. The underwater spiders or acanthasia, which bagged the silver prize in the Asia Pacific leg of the 2005 Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction for their affordability, minimal requirements for technical expertise, and reproducibility, have concretized the idea of sustainable construction.

“Sustainable construction means thinking not only about now, but also of the past and the future. It involves issues related to the efficient use of resources, the environmental impact of a design, and a structure’s harmony with the natural landscape,” Holcim Philippines Corporate Affairs Head Jocelyn Perez explained.

The basic concept of sustainable construction, she says, is seeking innovative, future-oriented and effective architectural solutions that minimize the consumption of natural resources, while maximizing the performance of structures and promoting a better quality of life.

This philosophy is among the guiding principles of the Cement Manufacturers’ Association of the Philippines (CeMAP) whose members include Northern Cement, Pacific Cement, CEMEX Philippines, Holcim Philippines, Lafarge Associated Companies in the Philippines, and Taiheiyo Cement Philippines, Inc. The cement industry is at the forefront of encouraging architects and designers to consider the following when building structures: How can I build my projects with the least possible resource consumption? How do I build in the most sustainable way?

Perez notes the increasing awareness among Filipino planners and engineers for the sustainable construction concept, saying elements such as the increased use of natural light and improved ventilation systems are now becoming more visible in their designs.

The industry has started forging partnerships with green architecture movements. “We’re in talks with architects whom we are inviting to conduct lectures on sustainable construction,” Perez said. The lecture series will complement Holcim’s plan to display the 21 Philippine entries to the 2005 Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction in school exhibitions all over the country.

Holcim has a global foundation that is behind the awards program. The Holcim Foundation also has other programs which are intended to promote awareness of and advocacy for the issue of sustainable construction. The Holcim Forum for Sustainable Construction is a project which serves as a platform for the academe construction professionals, and NGOs, among others, to exchange information on sustainable development. The Forum is a biennial event, and a forthcoming one will take place in Shanghai on 19 to 21 April 2007, which has for its theme “Urban Transformation.” A third activity is the recently launched Project Seed Funding which supports projects that further sustainable construction.

Apart from sustainable construction, the cement industry continues to promote environmental protection and sustainable development. Each member company has its own programs such as reforestation, waste recycling and community clean-ups in communities where they do business.

Equipped with best practices and a strong commitment to environmental protection, Philippine cement manufacturers have proved to be true partners in achieving sustainable development.

Print Friendly

Comments are closed.

News Archive