In celebration of the Environment Month, the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) conducted a tour of its headquarters in the National Ecology Center in Quezon City for its stakeholders and other government agencies.

The new office, a leading example of the "Green Building Revolution", is considered as the first-ever Philippine structure to be accredited as a "Green Building" after passing the stringent international standards set by the Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence (BERDE) in conjunction with the Green Buildings Council of the Philippines.

"This Green Building is LLDA's share in the protection of our environment and defines the very purpose of our work and mission, "Ibalik ang Luntiang Yaman at Diwa ng Lawa". It is a testimony of our commitment to preserve and protect the Earth and its ecosystems," said Presidential Adviser for Environmental Protection and LLDA General Manager J.R. Nereus O. Acosta.

Designed by Architect Cascante, the two four-storey buildings interconnected by bridge ways on all levels, are "energy-efficient, climate-smart, ecologically adaptive and occupant-friendly", according to Acosta.

It stands on 3,021 sq. m of land with a gross floor area of 5,600 sq.m.

Its 149 sq. m. green roof planted with plants and small trees reduces the building's footprint or the area of the slab by 11%.

Acosta added that the building orientation of having the longest sides at the east-west axis minimizes heat gain and captures wind from the northeastern, southwestern and southeastern sides thus promoting natural ventilation in 86% of the total gross floor area.

Double low-emitting glass windows with argon gas boost energy efficiency and insulated walls prevent heat absorption thus rooms are cooler and air conditioning units do not have to be set very low.

"As a result of all these combined features, only 49% of our gross floor area require air-conditioning and we have reduced our power consumption by 12.5%. This definitely reduces our carbon footprint and in a way supports the Philippines' commitment in the Paris Agreement to help reduce global temperature rise by below 1.5 degrees Celcius."

The new headquarters also has its own waste water treatment facility. Water from the comfort rooms and sinks is recycled by passing through the aerated tank, reed bed, polishing pond and is finally collected in the constructed wetland. Natural plants and microorganisms in the wetland allow natural cleansing of the water which can be used to water plants.

Aside from the wetland, the building also has three (3) rainwater harvesting tanks with a capacity of 1,000 gallons each. After filtration, the collected water is used to flush toilets and urinals.

"The wetland and rainwater catchment has reduced our water consumption by 20%. This and the reduction in power consumption resulted to considerable savings for the office," said Acosta.

Pervious pavements, a materials recovery facility, solar-assisted air conditioning units, LED lighting for the entire building are the other green building features that the agency has employed.

"All these features put together translate to pleasant working conditions, increased efficiency and improved productivity for all our employees," he remarked. "These have put our office building in harmony with nature and our environment."

The LLDA Headquarters has received the ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System certification in November 24, 2015.

BERDE is the National Voluntary Green Building Rating System in the Philippines developed by the Philippine Green Building Council (PHILGBC). The system is used to measure, verify, and monitor the environmental performance of buildings that exceed existing mandatory regulations and standards.###