A (boat) house of hopeBy Gloria Ramos
Cebu Daily News
Nakakatawag pansin’ (eye-catching), the Tagalog-speaking among us would say of the imposing house in an uphill subdivision in Cebu. It has been featured as a green building in national and local television programs and newspapers. Its boat-like shape stands out, seemingly pleased of its uniqueness, solidity and most important of all, sustainability features.
Glen and Cynthia Green, its genial and gracious dwellers, are used to being asked if, just like Noah, they are already preparing for the predicted sea level rise in the not-so-distant future.
Their boathouse stands above the rest as a bastion of bold innovation and creativity. It is a magnificent example of stewardship, climate adaptation and mitigation, and reflective of the integrity of the owners.
Dr. Glen Green has been a visible and committed partner in environmental protection campaigns. He is open-minded and a Filipino, by heart. He never fails to make us feel proud of our endearing qualities as Filipinos.
The Greens, mindful of their carbon impacts, as we all should be, are showing us that living in this planet need not have terrible devastating effects on our vanishing natural resources and our health. Their love-and-hope-filled home is proof that sustainability is a lifestyle choice.
True to the family’s surname, the house is impeccably green. It is cool and comfortable, spacious, naturally lighted because of the glass blocks, without need of any air-conditioning and with minimum electrical consumption.
For natural cooling and filtering of dust, trees, mostly fruit-bearing, kamunggay and shrubs surround the house.
In addition, the spouses Green’s predominantly wide jalousie windows and the ubiquitous balusters dividing the upper part of the walls of the rooms assure 24/7 natural indoor ventilation.
For a 250-square-meter house, with five rooms, the Greens’ average monthly electric bill is an unbelievably affordable cost of P1,300.
Likewise, the roof of their house has rotation ventilators and is painted white. Why so?
It is not common knowledge that white reflects the sun’s heat. For residents in tropical area like the Philippines, it is the best color to fight off the stifling heat especially during the summer season.
Not many appreciate that because heat is lessened in the interior of the building, white roofing reduces the cost of the already staggering electrical charges. It is certainly a much-welcome relief considering that the Philippines has the notorious distinction of having the most expensive electricity tariff in Asia.
It is a source of wonder that these tried-and-tested ways of cooling buildings and the consequent reduction in electricity charges, not to mention the reduction of climate-changing greenhouse gases, are still waiting to be promoted by the government and even by the professionals in the industry.
Two years or so ago, the Paint your Roof White Project initiated jointly by students of the University of San Carlos and barangay Luz was launched. The objective was to measure the reduction of the heat in the houses and the corresponding benefits, if any, to the residents. I have not heard, however, if the groundbreaking study was continued.
Unlike most households and even buildings, the Greens constructed a rainwater reservoir, with a capacity of 20,000 liters. With a current water issue in the area, the Green household is definitely not inconvenienced, thanks to the couple’s foresight, and consistent standing by their firm belief that solutions to issues facing us are within our hands.
Impossible in our fossil fuel obsessed era?
No, not for Glen and Cynthia, as my students in Environmental Law class have so witnessed one beautiful Sunday. The latter went back to their homes awakened and deeply touched by what they learned. They know that the Green couple have made the smartest decision anyone in this climate-challenged period can and should make. The experience has reinforced their belief that with more caring and committed people like Glen and Cynthia Green, and they doing their shared responsibility, there is hope for positive transformation in our society.
But, the approaches or strategies to attain the collective long-term vision can only be effected through engaged and sustained participation by the citizens, in partnership with like-minded stakeholders in the public and private sectors.
Are we willing to take on the challenge now, as the Greens determinedly have?
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University of the Philippines Law Grand Alumni Homecoming on Nov. 23: Preparations are underway for the 101st UP Law Alumni Homecoming Gala. Lawyer Raul T. Vasquez, President of the UP Law Class ’87 Association, Inc. announced that the much-awaited annual gathering of alumni from UP College of Law will be at the Rizal Ballroom of Makati Shangri-La, Makati City, Metro Manila. This year’s speaker is Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
The event is hosted by the Silver Jubilarians, Class of 1987, in collaboration with the Golden Jubilarians, Class of 1962. Ticket price is P2,500 Registration and Cocktails start at 6 p.m. For the UP Law alumni, please contact your class representative for further details.
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Congratulations to a dear friend and Sigma Delta Sorority sister, lawyer Ma. Charito Protacio Cruz, UP Law Class of ’78, who recently assumed the presidency of the oldest lawyers’ organization in the country, the Philippine Bar Association (PBA).
Under her leadership, PBA joined the growing number of citizens and organizations questioning the validity of RA 10175, the highly controversial Anti-Cybercrime Prevention Act, for encroachment on state-guaranteed freedom of speech and expression. It is anticipated that the Supreme Court will deliberate on the petitions tomorrow, Oct. 9.
More from this Column:
- Public participation and political dynasties
- Being green
- Nature cannot wait
- The stirring journey of Jireh
- Rediscovering our paradise in an ailing planet