Iskandar Malaysia, Mandaluyong City and Santa Rosa City PH, share their progress and outlook on building energy efficiency and decarbonization

(in photo above) ICLEI SEAS with Building Efficiency Accelerator Member Cities Iskandar, Malaysia; Mandaluyong City, Philippines; Santa Rosa City, Philippines; and Pasig City, Philippines as they discussed the cities’ progress and outlook on building energy efficiency. 

Six Southeast Asian local governments have joined the Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA) partnership since its launch in 2015. In doing so, they committed to catalyzing public-private collaboration to reduce their building emissions and advance climate action.

ICLEI Southeast Asia last 18 and 31 August 2022 virtually met with member governments Iskandar, Malaysia; Mandaluyong City, Philippines; and Santa Rosa City, Philippines to discuss their recent initiatives and outlook on building energy efficiency.

Updates from the cities

Mr. Ong Hwa Chong, Assistant Vice President of the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA), shared that IRDA has been building a strong foundation for the monitoring of building energy performance in the region. It has been utilizing the Building Energy Monitoring and Reporting System (BEMRS) and the Comprehensive Assessment System for Built Environment Efficiency (CASBEE) which enabled the understanding of the reductions in energy consumption and GHG emissions (22,257 tCO2e) of Iskandar’s buildings. These measures allow them to objectively assess the impacts and find opportunities for policy and program interventions in the building sector. These are also in line with several measures under IRDA’s Low Carbon Society Program.

Architect Abraham Raposon of the Mandaluyong City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) provided their current energy efficiency and conservation measures which cut across different sectors, including buildings and transportation. Mandaluyong has implemented projects on solar street lighting and electric tricycle deployment, as well as energy saving measures in all public buildings. Due to these efforts, the city has been widely recognized by other Philippine cities as having a replicable green building policy. The city is set to review the implementation impacts of this policy before it is updated to integrate provisions on net-zero emissions and circularity.

Architect Reginald Lai of Santa Rosa City also discussed the city’s progress in its energy efficiency and conservation initiatives, particularly its compliance to the Philippine Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act. He shared that the city government has submitted the reportorial requirements of the Government Energy Management Program (GEMP) such as the city’s electricity and fuel use. A dedicated Energy Efficiency and Conservation Office has likewise been established to oversee and accelerate the implementation of existing and planned policies and programs such as solar photovoltaic systems installation, building retrofitting, and conversion to energy-efficient LED lighting units in public buildings and facilities. Architect Lai also shared the city government’s vision to integrate green designs in several infrastructure projects, thus allowing these to contribute to the city’s emissions reduction efforts. Engr. Maria Amor Salandanan, Head of the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), also shared that the city government is striving to use the GHG emissions reduction potential as a measurement indicator for the city’s future projects.

Accelerating action

Acknowledging the cities’ milestones, Mr. Michael Doust, Director of Urban Efficiency and Climate of the World Resources Institute (WRI) sought to inspire their continuous action to move towards building decarbonization. Mr. Doust shared WRI’s Zero Carbon Building Accelerator (ZCBA), a project that helps national and local governments build roadmaps to reduce building emissions in order to meet climate goals. This project by BEA is being implemented in select cities and WRI hopes to expand its learnings to Southeast Asia.

“The whole basis of the ZCBA has been designed to overcome the lack of action we are seeing in the building sector. We wanted to take a holistic approach to look at the whole building life cycle decarbonization but also combining the different tiers of government and engaging the private sector for integration in the whole building sector and on different tiers of actors,” said Mr. Doust.

The meetings also enabled a deeper understanding of how cities can better decarbonize their buildings. Insights to this end include the cities’ need for pilot projects that demonstrate effective scalable building decarbonization measures; capacity building activities; matchmaking of cities to technology and solutions providers; and city-to-city peer learning activities that allow cities to understand the prerequisites and practicalities of policy and program implementation.

These activities were supported by the ZCBA project of the BEA as implemented by ICLEI SEAS in the region. The ICLEI Southeast Asia Secretariat served as the BEA regional lead in 2019 and 2020, leading regional knowledge exchange events and capacity building sessions on building energy audits and green building policy formulation, among other activities.

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