Filinvest City delivers another first for the Philippines

Dean Barone
September 18, 2020

Filinvest City is the largest certified LEEDv4 for Neighborhood Development (LEEDv4 ND) in the Philippines and among the largest LEEDv4 ND developments in Southeast Asia.

Being established as a World-Class Central Business District of Metro South, Filinvest City in Alabang has recently attained another milestone for becoming the biggest green-certified neighborhood in the Philippines and one of the largest sustainable developments in Southeast Asia to achieve LEEDv4 ND-Plan Gold certification under the latest version of the LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEEDv4 ND) green rating system.

Awarded by the prestigious U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the 244-hectare (603-acre) mixed-use development embodies the principles of smart growth, new urbanization, and green buildings to its neighborhood design. In line with its vision,Filinvest City was also cited for Best Mixed-Use Development at the Asia Pacific Property Awards by integrating the newest best practices for urban planning as they commit to becoming a premier, sustainable and human-centered business district.

“LEEDv4 ND certification is the “Gold Standard” for green neighborhood design and is used to measure the sustainability of communities around the world. USGBC recognized Filinvest City for its commitment and dedication to building ecologically responsible infrastructures, sustainable community, urban innovation, and features and unwavering commitment to giving back to the community,” said Dean Barone, Director and Sustainability Consultant of Barone International.

Leading into the future

The scope and size of Filinvest City’s LEED v4 Gold certification for their master plan has raised the bar for future developments in the Philippines and throughout the Asia-Pacific Region.

In addition to putting this established property developer well ahead of their competitors, this certification was awarded when more people are demanding the indisputable benefits of sustainable, green features in the era of flighting climate change.

People want their communities to provide more natural green spaces for relaxation and exercise, walkable streets filled with small businesses and restaurants, easily accessible and non-polluting public transportation, energy, and water efficiency, and a community with health and wellness benefits. These are just some of the standards that have to be met to secure LEED certification.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put health and well-being at the forefront of everything. The pandemic has a lot in common with climate change. They both have a global impact, while climate change affects individuals, communities, and economies on a longer timeline.  All of a sudden, the market is focusing on healthy, sustainable developments and green buildings that can provide resiliency to its occupants. Filinvest City is market-ready, and as an established developer, is the only one with a purely sustainable portfolio”, said Don Ubaldo, Vice President of Townships, Filinvest Alabang, Inc.

While many developers are still planning small neighborhood projects, only a few companies like Filinvest are already delivering future-proofed developments. Just walking around the nine (9) districts within Filinvest City, one will discover the type of community that is well-poised to thrive and remain resilient because the sustainable benefits are hidden in plain sight. 

“The environment created by Filinvest City will foster a sense of community among its residents and users. The development provides seamless connectivity and proximity to diverse uses by establishing the envisioned live-work-play environment for residents,” noted Ubaldo. “Such facilities include large shopping malls, hospitals, leisure destinations, learning and education zones, and a robust business district all within close proximity”.

“It can be said that you need to have a sustainable, healthy environment to live a healthy lifestyle. If you work with nature, it will be easier for residents and the people who work here to observe a healthy lifestyle,” said Ubaldo. 

Key features of the LEEDv4 for Neighborhood Development recognition include:

Open and Recreational Spaces

What sets Filinvest City apart from other central business district is the large amount of green spaces where people can experience harmony with nature amidst the built environment.

Lush landscapes with open spaces surrounding the Creekside Park connect individuals with nature.  The arrangement of linear parks connecting to Filinvest City’s extensive Central Park creates a walkable community with over 40% open green spaces filled with native vegetation providing areas of respite within a dynamic metropolitan benefiting residents and workers. The lush natural landscapes support native vegetation and are sustained with recycled water captured on-site to eliminate the use of potable water for irrigation.   

The Alabang River used to be a heavily polluted waterway running through Filinvest’s Festival Mall before making enhancements to naturally improve the water quality. Now native fish, turtles, and endangered birds are returning to the river for the enjoyment of people walking along the Creekside Park. 

Livability and Self-Sustaining Community

The environment created by Filinvest City will foster a sense of community among its residents and users. The development provides seamless connectivity and proximity to diverse uses by establishing the envisioned live-work-play environment for residents. Such facilities include large shopping malls, hospitals, leisure destinations, learning and education zones, and business districts all within close proximity.

The pedestrian-friendly neighborhood encourages walking, jogging, and cycling to promote health and wellbeing. Dedicated bicycle lanes provide routes throughout the development to businesses, shopping, and recreation.  Depending on your commute, bicycle racks are provided at every transit stop to allow you to transfer to public transportation vehicles.  In conjunction with the dedicated bicycle lanes, heavily shaded sidewalks encourage walking and jogging. The sidewalks are constructed with porous materials to allow rainwater to percolate into the ground below to reduce local street flooding from rain showers.

Using the latest advancement in transportation technology, Filinvest City maintains a fleet of electric shuttle buses to serve the community. The electric buses not only reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change but also reduce noise throughout the community. 

The natural environment and streetscape invite individuals to participate in self-sustaining activities which will help enhance their physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. The vision of Filinvest City is to promote a sustainable lifestyle by staying in touch through modernity to balance the needs of the community with the environment.

A Green Standard for Future Buildings

Filinvest City is home to several USGBC LEED-certified buildings, such as the four new Axis Towers, Polaris, One Griffinstone, Toyota Alabang, and Parkway Corporate Center. The CTP Asean Tower and  One Trium Tower are LEED registered can currently under construction. All new buildings in Filinvest City will automatically earn half the points needed to earn LEED certification and will ignite the demand for green building construction.

As a business district, creating a better environment was a priority. Future buildings will be applying LEED-ND standards to reduce energy and water consumption. Several buildings are connected to the country’s largest District Cooling System (DCS) to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. 

To save potable water, low-flow plumbing fixtures will be used in all buildings and future buildings will have an option to connect to Filinvest City’s District Greywater System. Buildings are encouraged to promote urban farming on their properties and all building roofs will use reflective materials to reduce the heat island effect and keep the neighborhood cooler.  Lower ambient heat in conjunction with the natural cooling effect from the forests of trees will help use less energy to cool the buildings.

Exploring Beyond LEED

Filinvest City is the first LEEDv4 ND project to incorporate features from the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) for Sustainable Land Design and Development program.  By aligning land design and development practices with the functions of healthy ecosystems, the SITES program creates ecologically resilient communities better able to withstand and recover from episodic floods, droughts, wildfires, and other catastrophic events. Several SITESv2 strategies were incorporated to support an individual’s well-being by providing access and usability to persons with disabilities.  A community-wide wayfinding system is another SITESv2 feature to make it easier for the community to navigate around Filinvest City while also encouraging outdoor physical activities.

‘Sustainable Lifestyle’

Living and working in a green development like Filinvest City will naturally influence the lifestyles of its residents.

The sustainability of the community goes beyond the physical structures. Filinvest City was carefully planned from its conception to be a premier sustainable and green community. Part of Filinvest’s commitment to sustainability is how the residents, workers, and guests benefit from many features designed into their communities, including how individuals fulfill their personal health goals. “Our Sustainability Guidelines highly encourage building owners, businesses, and residents to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle while living, working, and playing in Filinvest City.  The guidelines focus on the health, safety, and well-being of individuals,” explained Ubaldo.

There is no doubt that Filinvest’s unwavering commitment to sustainability, wellness, health, and resilience has raised the benchmark for future sustainable developments in the Philippines. 

About Barone International - Barone International is an internationally recognized sustainable consulting firm, headquartered in Metro Manila in the Philippines.  Since 2009, Barone International has delivered over 2.7M square meters (30M square feet) of LEED-certified projects that save energy, reduce potable water use, protect the environment and provide healthy places to live, work and play. Barone International’s depth of experience helps their Clients to meet their corporations' environmental goals to minimize their impact on the environment, reduce greenhouse emissions, and protect the health and safety of building occupants.  Barone International provides consultancy services for several rating systems, ie; LEED, WELL, TRUE, SITES, EDGE including energy modeling, and commissioning services.