The Boni Tower trailblazes environment-friendly practices in Mandaluyong.
Deep in Mandaluyong City, a stone’s throw away from the city’s administrative and political center, a 16-story mixed-use condominium tower along Boni Avenue is rising. Its developer is RSP Lim Construction Co Inc, whose President and CEO Engineer Rogelio SP Lim is overseeing the construction of the building himself day in and day out.
Lim declares that The Boni Tower, his first endeavor as a developer, will hold a June soft opening. The sold units can already be occupied by July. By December this year, The Boni Tower would be 100-percent complete, with all 103 commercial and residential units ready to offer a new standard of vertical living in Mandaluyong City, the heart of Metro Manila.
Though construction of The Boni Tower started in January 2012, the inspiration behind its design and engineering was born in 2009, during one of the most damaging tropical cyclones ever witnessed in Philippine history.
From Ondoy to Japan
Late in September, 2009, when typhoon Ondoy inundated almost all of Metro Manila and its environs, Lim, who was then a contractor, and his family were trapped in his house in Pasig by the flood caused by the overflowing Pasig River and Laguna de Bay.
“The flood engulfed the entire first floor. Our house became an island.” He then realized that society needed to pay more attention to the environment and the unfolding climate change.
“As an engineer and a contractor, I knew that the real estate and construction industries have been two of the biggest contributors to man-made changes in the environment and climate. I knew that if something had to be done to effectively address this issue, such actions have to come from our ranks,” Lim assessed.
This epiphany came at the right time for Lim, a contractor for prestigious clients such as Ayala Land, as he was seriously mulling becoming a property developer. Lim knew that his next steps would always have to have the environment in mind.
His predecessors owned a 430-sqm patch of prime land at 602 Boni Avenue in Mandaluyong, which they intended to sell to interested outside parties. Lim intervened, offering to buy the property himself.
In 2011, Lim and other building engineers and contractors attended a project management seminar in Japan. “Our Japanese professor, who was the former President of the Project Management Association of Japan, told the Filipinos who attended the seminar that if we were to become developers, we must do everything we can to build green,” Lim narrates.
Lim knew, however, that “Filipino buyers were not that aware of such environmental considerations in buildings, but I knew that changes must come from the builders.”
First green condo in Mandaluyong
Today, as The Boni Tower takes shape, Lim says the building is devoted to the tenets of environmentally sustainable and energy-efficient property development.
“The Boni Tower highlights five green features: solar panel energy system, recycled water technology, vegetated roof deck garden system, energy efficient electrical fixtures and lights, and heat-deflecting windows,” he enumerates.
The Boni Tower will have photovoltaic cells—solar panels that will produce over 10 kVa, a substantial amount of power that unit owners and tenants will be able to harness without adding to their energy bills.
“We will install our own sewage treatment plant at the basement. The wastewater coming from toilets and kitchens will be treated there. This will be used to flush toilets, or to water plants, and even wash cars,” Lim explains.
All the lightbulbs used in The Boni Tower will be energy-efficient LED. Heat-deflecting glass windows, which are also effective noise insulators, will lessen the need for air-conditioning, reducing further energy-costs and noise pollution for each unit.
Vegetative roof deck gardens will also reduce the risk of leaks and water seepage during the rainy season.
“This is the first condominium development in Mandaluyong that is registered with the Philippine Green Building Council,” Lim stresses.
As President of the Philippine Contractors Association-Metropolitan Chapter for four years, Lim’s main advocacies have included pushing for the construction of more green buildings. “We are not just merely registered with the Philippine Green Building Council, we are allies with it, helping formulate its policies.”
Lim said his firm had incurred added costs in sourcing raw materials and applying ecologically sound construction practices for The Boni Tower. He adds, however, that they do not intend to pass these on to buyers.
“We have absorbed the extra cost so as not to price ourselves out of the market,” Lim notes.
Lim describes that The Boni Tower’s location provides some of the greatest advantages. “Everything one needs is mere walking distance from The Boni Tower.”
This accessibility, Lim stresses, also reduces, and even eliminates, the need for The Boni Tower tenants and residences to use their own vehicles when going to other destinations. “The building, and its location, helps reduce the carbon footprint of its residents, tenants and owners.”
Lim reveals that he has been recently accredited with the Philippine Retirement Agency. “Starting this month we will start aggressively marketing to foreign retirees. And this location is ideal for them, because everything is accessible from here, the Mandaluyong Medical Center is just right across, and The Boni Tower itself will house a diagnostic center.”
The area around Maysilo Circle, which locates the political and administrative heart of the city, is also undergoing major underground construction work to install a massive pipeline system to drain floodwater from the area into the nearby Pasig River.
The Boni Tower itself is literally deeply rooted for stability. Lim says its foundation is 24 meters deep, equivalent to 8 stories. “My child will live here, so there are no shortcuts to construction and disaster-proofing.”
Albeit being the newest kid on the block, RSP Lim Construction Co Inc, in a few months’ time, will finally turn a dream—inspired by the most extreme of natural phenomena—into a towering reality.