Leaving the seat with the bad leg, I found myself a student style seat with a writing surface, something like what we had back in college and highschool, which was quite appropriate since I was there to learn. Looking around the room of Wilcon C5 for the 2nd half of the seminar on “Green Single-Detached Residences” , I spotted familiar faces in Architects Jude Andrada and Kath Ocampo, fellow former office mates of mine. We had a good chat on how were doing post-“Cosco” days and comparing notes on our recent visits back at the Palisades building. Our catching up was over-taken by the introduction of the next speaker Arch. Leo P. Pariñas.
Listening to the intro we found out that Arch Pariñas was also an Ex-Cosco! A good sign, that we were not just listening to successful practitioners, but particularly those who have come by similar roads in the past.
Of the topics for green design for houses he discussed, I took note of the following: Site Development, Water Savings, Energy Efficiency, Material Selection, Indoor Environmental Quality, Solar Panel Use & Double Walls. To illustrate the concepts he used a house which he had designed at Sta. Rosa Laguna.
Site Development according to the speaker, pertained to taking advantage of the site’s natural properties to deliver comfort and amenities to its users. These include the site’s solar orientation, as discussed in the first part with Arch Peña, and the use of existing or planned plantings/foliage to alleviate heat gain, noise pollution & facilitate ventilation.
Regarding water savings, with the advent of new manufacturing designs, there were fixtures that now used less water than their predecessors, cost wise these fixtures would pay for their higher price with savings later on. He also mentioned the use of dual piping for non potable water so that water harvested from rain can be reused for flushing urinals & water closets.
Arch Peña spoke about the use of technologies to create energy savings, which I understood to be the use of inverter type air conditioning units and new lighting technologies like LED’s (Light Emitting Diodes). But, these were also achievable with the use of properly sized and located windows for passive lighting and ventilation solutions that were inexpensive and easy to maintain.
The speaker mentioned the use of proper materials selections, and the use of items that can be sourced nearby to reduce transport costs and pollution. I took it also as use of materials that can be recycled if ever they are to be taken from the house later on during its life cycle.
Indoor Environmental Quality is character of the air and environment that contribute to the health and comfort of the users. I took it to understand that if this level of comfort can be achieved by non mechanical means, the greener the design would be.
The speaker’s green concepts included solar panel use , which is gaining acceptance particularly because of decreasing cost and increasing availability in the market. If common areas, perhaps stairs or utility areas can make use of power gained from the sun, electricity bill savings will help justify green concepts and practices.
Lastly the use of double walls along exterior faces of the house could be done so as to shade them and reduce the heat absorbed by the concrete structure that would be released indoors during the night.
Because of an early morning meeting the following day, I opted to skip the question and answer portion of the night, I knew I would have learned a bit more, but the need to be punctual the following day won over the curiosity to stay. Summing up, I met up with old friends, re-learned and updated myself on a great deal of things, and found a good venue for future topics on green architecture. Braving the heavy traffic on C5’s northbound direction was a small price to pay for the day’s gain.