Viñas, Medina earn BERDE Professional Certification

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Published October 16, 2023

In a world where the construction industry is making significant strides towards sustainability, Geodetic Engineer Marcos “Mccoy” Viñas and Architect Justin Kim Medina have emerged as pioneers in their commitment to environmental stewardship. They recently achieved the esteemed Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence (BERDE) Professional Certification, underscoring not only their dedication to sustainable practices but also the organization’s unwavering focus on sustainability.

Justin (left) and Mccoy (right) are First Balfour’s certified BERDE Professionals

Local sustainability with global implications
BERDE, a homegrown initiative, represents a local response to the global framework of green building standards much like the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). It stands as a paragon of sustainability within the Philippines, emphasizing practices that are finely tuned to the specific environmental and societal context of the region. BERDE is used to evaluate, quantify, track, and certify how well green building initiatives work in comparison to the requirements of local, state, and federal building and environmental laws, regulations, and mandated standards.

At the national level, numerous national agencies have been utilizing BERDE as a guide in formulating policies and programs for green building and sustainability for the building sector. BERDE is recognized as the National Voluntary Green Building Rating System by the Philippine government. Numerous local governments in the Philippines have adopted BERDE as part of their strategy to guarantee the environmental performance of projects falling under their purview. Being a Certified BERDE Professional (CBP) gives one an advantage in truly implementing sustainability in the projects.

More than a certificate
The CBP program takes two full day lectures and one day for the qualifying exam. In the duration of the course, subjects ranging from land use, water, and energy to emissions and waste heritage conservation are discussed, as well as prerequisites to these subjects.

Justin and Mccoy (second row, L-R) and other examinees during the qualifying exam organized by PHILGBC

The BERDE certifications are awarded by the Philippine Green Building Council (PHILGBC), a non-stock, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing environmentally-friendly construction methods. The PHILBGC stands as the pioneer of sustainable building, having updated and specified best practices.

Mccoy reiterates that going through the program has already added more than enough value to his career. “Even though I haven’t practiced BERDE Certification yet, the program’s lectures and content have been truly enlightening. They have given me a deep understanding of sustainable building practices.” He further adds, “Learning the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind eco-conscious design has been both intellectually-stimulating and personally-rewarding. This program empowers me to make a positive impact on our environment through innovative building practices.”

When asked if others should take up the certification, Justin resounds positively, “Yes! I strongly recommend that the majority of my industry peers participate in this certification process. This recommendation is motivated not only by the potential career benefits it offers but, more importantly, by the profound understanding it imparts regarding the significance of responsible construction and preserving the environment.”

Recognizing the importance of upskilling the workforce to drive its mission forward, First Balfour continues to invest in the skills, knowledge, and resources related to its broader decarbonization road map. With a workforce that shares its values and is aligned with its mission to forge collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future, First Balfour can truly help deliver a more livable and inclusive future for the Filipino people.

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