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Where man and nature emerge winners by ITPIPublished: May 27, 2014Updated: December 2, 2014

Primavera Residences represents the first step toward ITPI’s goal for an energy self-sufficient building.

While most eyes have been trained on the country’s two megacities Metro Manila and Cebu, one property developer has been quietly making its mark in the progressive city of Cagayan de Oro (CDO) in Misamis Oriental in Mindanao.

The famed “City of Golden Friendship,” CDO is home to the mighty Cagayan de Oro River, which has helped the city earn the title “the adventure capital of the Philippines,” for it is on this river that aquatic sports such as white water rafting, river trekking and kayaking truly take on an extreme nature.

The flow of commerce and industries in CDO has also taken on a rapid pace. The gateway to northern Mindanao, CDO had topped the 2013 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index, which evaluated the city’s economic dynamism, government efficiency, and infrastructure as among the nation’s best.

But of all the commercial and residential developments that have sprung up in CDO, it is Primavera Residences--a P450-million, 10-story twin tower residential and commercial complex located in uptown CDO at the corner of Trade and Gran Via Streets in the masterplanned 360-hectare Pueblo De Oro Township--that stands out as an elegant reminder that the forces of nature and man need not be at loggerheads.

At Primavera Residences, the simple equation is: Both man and nature win.

Award-winning Italian Architect Romolo V. Nati, designer of Primavera Residences, explained the design rationale for the first high-rise eco-friendly mixed use building in CDO: “Primavera Residences was designed in order to reduce unit owners’ energy consumption. They have been saving around 20 percent from their electricity bill primarily because the building has been designed to maximize natural ventilation and light, thereby lessening the need for air-conditioners.”

Nati, who is also the Chairman and CEO of ItalPinas EuroAsian Design and Eco-Development Corp (ITPI), the developer of Primavera Residences, revealed a survey made by ITPI revealing that an average Filipino family in an 80-sqm condominium unit spent about P200 daily for air-conditioning. “That’s up to P7,000 per month,” Nati stressed.

However, more than just reducing unit owners’ energy bills, Primavera Residences is, according to Nati, the “first step” towards an energy self-sufficient building.

“Our goal is to have buildings which will produce the total amount of energy that they require. The challenge is to reduce energy consumption and to produce all the energy the building requires, so that we will not be dependent solely on the city’s power grid,” he explained.

Primavera Residences, Nati pointed out, has gradually been moving towards that goal since construction of the towers began in 2010, through its completion in 2012, and onwards to its current expansion phase.

Aside from cleverly integrating into the design a green inner courtyard, a cross-ventilation layout enhancing natural air flow and light, windows-shading facade minimizing direct solar illumination on the windows, Primavera Residences will also be installed with photovoltaic solar panels on the rooftop which will collect the sun’s energy and produce in total roughly 100KW of power.

Nati also shared that his group is also studying the use of biomass--plant-based material--to generate additional energy for Primavera Residences.

“The solution for an energy self-sufficient building is not going to come from just one source, but from different sources,” Nati observed.

But why all this fuss to achieve an ecologically balanced building? Can’t Primavera Residences be just like any other mixed commercial-residential complex and still sell briskly in the market?

Nati retorts, “The public tends to underestimate the consumption of power of buildings. Also, people underestimate how much real estate affects the environment. ITPI really thinks that the future of real estate is in combining property development and power generation. At Primavera Residences, we can confidently tell our unit buyers that not only will they become owners of beautiful, flood-proof, earthquake- and typhoon-resilient units, we will be able to provide them power at an advantageous cost, and above all, at a stable supply.”

And because Primavera Residences is located in the heart of the progressive Pueblo De Oro township that is a stone’s throw away from commercial landmarks, schools, and lifestyle centers, the value of units increases significantly year on year.

“This is proven data. Since we started selling units in Primavera Residences, unit values have increased by 10 to 12 percent annually. In CDO, that is above the industry standard,” Nati shared.

Not that Primavera Residences units are pricey to begin with. Among the most unique aspects of the project is that its price segment falls well within reach. “A unit in Primavera Residences is priced just like other developments in its market classification, but ours come with a premium of living in a multi-awarded green building that is also elegant and refined,” Nati explained

“Primavera Residences is faithful to ITPI’s objective of designing eco-logic buildings that are not expensive. The stereotype has been that green buildings cost more money. We don’t think that’s the solution to the country’s problems of environmental degradation. The solution is to make inexpensive buildings green. The impact lies in the mass production of eco-friendly structures; that’s where we can achieve that critical mass to effect significant change in the way that we interact with our environment.”

Primavera Residences Building 1 units are nearly almost sold out, with less than 15 of 160 units still available. Building 2, according to Nati, is almost 50 percent completely constructed, and 40 percent of units have been sold.

“The word-of-mouth on us is good,” Nati smiled. “It just proves that when you design for nature, the outcome is always beautiful.”

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