By Vaughn Alviar
Published on The Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 25, 2021
New Davao City icon Damosa Diamond Tower got a huge boost as soon as it entered the market, officially becoming the first office building in Mindanao to get an Excellence in Design For Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) certificate.
The certification is given to buildings that exemplify resource efficiency. Damosa Land Inc.’s (DLI) Grade-A building registered 22 percent energy savings, 27 percent water savings, and 24 percent less embodied energy in materials, noted its certificate dated Sept. 2.
EDGE is one of two certifications that the regional real estate leader has set out to achieve, the other being BERDE (Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence). If DLI obtains the latter, the project becomes the first office building to have it in Davao Region.
Damosa Land president Ricardo “Cary” Floirendo-Lagdameo, in an exclusive interview with Inquirer, shared his optimism that the certification is at hand: “BERDE is ongoing, but it’s just a matter of time because we know that we have the components to get it.”
With validation from EDGE and a forthcoming one from BERDE, the tower proves that it is both an homage to the past and a nod to the future.
At 16 stories high, the building is hardly the tallest in Davao City. But its appearance allows it to stand out—a façade of exterior fins and an orientation that makes it glow day and night.
“Looking at buildings even in Metro Manila, I don’t see many that look similar to ours,” said Lagdameo. “It’s a unique-looking building that, when people get to know, can easily be identified with Davao.”
The fins on the building are inspired by banana fibers, a reference to the agricultural heritage of Davao and DLI’s mother company, Anflo Group of Companies. Lagdameo explained: “We didn’t want just to design a box or modern-looking building devoid of meaning. Doing business with the city for a long time, we felt it was fitting that the company that would build something like this was homegrown.”
Aside from making the building attractive and symbolic, the feature also makes it greener: “It serves another purpose: to deflect a lot of the sunlight… At the widest portion, these go out about 1 meter, casting a shadow.”
Other green features include the low-e glass on the shell that filters UV rays without reducing light. It uses LED lights and energy- and water-saving fixtures. It harvests rainwater and recycles black water. Finally, it features a green roof deck and gives locators access to alternative power sources.
The “people aspect” was an essential focus in the project, Lagdameo added. Damosa Diamond Tower wanted “the whole 360-degree aspect [of going green], allowing even employees to reduce their carbon footprint and achieve wellness.” Thus, Damosa Land Inc. installed bike racks and showers. It also introduced no-touch solutions like sensors at the entrance and the toilets.
The features have so far excited prospective tenants from various industries. Lagdameo hoped the tower would also uplift employees dispirited by the pandemic.
Damosa Diamond Tower is just one of many DLI projects with sustainable solutions. Among others, the builder installed solar panels on one of its buildings and its cold storage facility. One of its housing projects now uses an environmental building technology.
“Everywhere we can, we’re trying to be more and more sustainable,” he said.
One reason Damosa Land went green was to dispel the thinking that sustainable structures were too pricey for smaller players, and it convincingly did that. However, amid the pandemic, the building has also grown to remind the company of something else: that there is hope.
“When the pandemic broke out, it was about 70 percent complete and everything slowed down … but we finished the building,” Lagdameo said. “When I see it, I see a sign that we can get through this pandemic and we’ll be ready for locators when they start looking to invest.”