Hisgutanang Klima sa Mindanao: Green, sustainable, and low-carbon buildings

By Marisol Tuso


Inspired by a brilliant idea of a young Climate Reality Leader in Mindanao, I would like to focus my discussion on a promising global solution to climate change, yet still adopted by a few in the Philippines compared to other Asian countries.


In Mindanao, more than 70% of the Climate Reality Leaders belong to the youth sector. They form part of different organizations and are driving actions in their respective schools and communities, including but not limited to clean-up drives, tree planting activities, waste segregation campaigns, youth parliament conferences, and campaigns for climate-related policies.

The Philippine Green Building Code, a Referral Code of the National Building Code of the Philippines (Presidential Decree No. 1096), was launched in 2015 requiring all new buildings in the country to conform to ecologically-sound building standards. 

Buildings are one of the top biggest sources of carbon emissions in the world accounting for almost 40 percent of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, due to high energy consumption, especially in urban areas. Hence, buildings designed to be environmentally friendly, are considered sustainable solutions to the climate crisis.

It has been six (6) years since the launch of the Green Building Code but only a few new green buildings were certified, representing less than two (2) percent of the country’s total constructed floor area.

Inspired by his climate advocacy, young Climate Reality Leader Israelbelle Ferolino, together with his classmates, has designed a green building, which will soon be built as the first green building in the province of Bukidnon.  

Israelbelle and his friends Jintfrey Arvey Manatad, Mary Jane Maque, Kharl Karen Romeo, and Mary Hazel Salem designed the building and presented the Capstone entitled, “Green Building Design of Two-Storey Restaurant at Kibangay, Lantapan, Bukindon.” 

The architectural design optimizes energy use and production. It is designed with a solar power system, with 44 solar panels to provide electricity for energy efficiency. The building also utilizes a rainwater harvesting system, a 15-square meter solid waste disposal area, and the use of sustainable materials such as amakan (woven bamboo wall cladding), polywood, and concrete pavers. 

Following the presentation of the capstone and the approval of its design, Israelbelle and his co-designers completed their course on Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at Central Mindanao University. Their design will soon be built by a prominent family in the province. 

Asked about what inspired them to work on the green design, Israelbelle said he wanted to inspire innovation in the local community. “It has only been six years since the Philippine Green Building Code was put in place, and as such, there are only limited buildings in the country with green building designs,” he added.

“As one of the most impacted countries by climate change and induced catastrophes, the Philippines has to step up its fight against the climate crisis, and designing green buildings will set a good example that others can follow,” Israelbelle said.

The team also thought of addressing a community problem—the damaging effects of construction. The construction industry utilizes 40 percent of the total global energy production, 16 percent of all accessible water, 32 percent of non-renewable resources, 25 percent of all timber, 40 percent of all raw materials, creates 30-40 percent of all solid waste, and emits 35-40 percent of carbon dioxide (Berardi, 2013, Son et. al, 2011).

One way to solve this problem is by green building design which seeks to address adverse environmental effects by promoting environmentally responsible construction practices and building schemes that reduce carbon footprint through energy and resource efficiency. With the high cost of electricity in the Philippines, renewable energy will play a key role in designing green buildings.

The demand for designing green buildings is increasing in highly urbanized cities but it is still unpopular in the provinces. I hope that initiatives from Climate Reality Leaders in Mindanao will inspire planners and designers to go for green building designs to save the planet. 




Marisol is the Mindanao Coordinator of The Climate Reality Project Philippines. She has been working in the development sector for 16 years. She is a specialist in training, institution and community development, information, education, and communication (IEC), and gender and social inclusion. Aside from being a broadcast journalist since 1997,  she also served as the Project Coordinator of the Global Fund for Malaria Component Project for 10 years and as Training and IEC Specialist of the Philippine Cold Chain Project. 


Hisgutanang Klima or “Climate Discussions” is a space that aims to amplify the climate stories and initiatives of the more than 100 Pinoy Climate Reality Leaders in Mindanao.

It is one of the monthly columns launched by The Climate Reality Project Philippines to elevate the climate discourse and strengthen climate action across all regions in the Philippines.