First LEED-certified home project in PH gets recognition from U.S. Green Building Council

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 19) – The first house project in the country certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standard has been recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Mandaue City-based YY House, owned by engineer and businessman Bill Yap, is one of the three recipients of the Outstanding Single Family Project award in this year's USGBC LEED Homes Awards.

"This will become a template of sorts to other projects in the area and an inspiration to break other barriers in promoting local green building initiatives," said the USGBC, a non-profit organization that promotes sustainability in building design, construction, and operation.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Yap said he wanted an efficient home for his family right in the middle of the city in a tropical climate.

"I wanted a sustainable home that I don't have to pay for electricity and water, if I can, and a home that can last 200 years more beyond my time, my children's time, and my grandchildren's time," said Yap.

The YY House boasts of energy-saving features such as high-performance doors and windows, autoclaved aerated concrete blocks for walls, well insulated roof, on-site cistern in processing run-off rainwater, solar panels for on-site renewable energy generation, high-efficiency lighting with smart regulators, tiles that can absorb airborne matter, and Forest Stewardship Council-certified materials for the house's floors, exterior siding, stairs, ceiling, and interior walls.

Marivic Kapuno, one of the architects of the YY House, said the construction of the house was a bit challenging since most of the materials are sourced abroad. They also had to think of strategies on how to make it become energy-efficient in the long run.

"All these technologies in the house are put together to fulfill the goal of reducing our carbon footprint and energy requirement," said Kapuno.

Yap added that his son and father struggled from asthma, which prompted him to also prioritize the house's ventilation system.

The YY House employed a MERV 13 filter in its heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, which Yap noted is very useful especially in this time of COVID-19 pandemic. The filter captures more particles which prevents viruses from entering the LEED-certified home.

"My son needs to use the nebulizer every night, 365 days a year, just to breathe properly. In the LEED home, he never had asthma for one-and-a-half years. Never even once," Yap said. The family moved to the YY House in January 2020.

Yap emphasized that living in a LEED-certified house will improve one's well-being. He said it is also a step in preparing for a more resilient future for the next generations.

"If you're breathing clean air every day, your chances of living longer is better. If you're using clean water for your shower, drinking water, and sprinkler for your plants and you don't have to clean as much for your home," said Yap.

Yap believes an environmentally-compliant house model like the YY House can be used as a template to build green homes in middle-class communities and socialized housing projects in the country.