SM Prime builds better, greener offices

E-com Centers at the Mall of Asia Complex

Many people have become more aware of the importance of sustainability in everyday living during the two years that the world faced the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Environmental awareness has caught on through practices such as shifting to paperless, reducing plastic use, and planting more trees. For property developers, taking part in this movement means transitioning into green buildings and developments.

Such is the case for SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM Prime), a publicly listed subsidiary of SM Investments Corporation (SMIC) that is committed to building innovative and sustainable lifestyle cities. SM Prime is future-proofing its developments to be more responsive and adaptive to community needs and the effects of climate change in line with comprehensive sustainability goals ranging from energy to ecology.

Over the years, SM Prime has continued to elevate its approach to the building and development of community spaces. All these green initiatives have been recognized by reputable and well-known organizations such as the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) which awarded Conrad Hotel Manila and SM Aura Premier the Gold certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

When we build, we build with the community in mind. This is why it is important to integrate sustainability into our developments and operations. We remain committed as an environmentally-conscious and responsible integrated property developer ready to serve the ever-changing needs and aspirations of our communities and stakeholders,” said SM Prime President Jeffrey Lim.

Building green office spaces
SM’s Commercial Property Group is renowned for balancing green design features with operational and practical considerations, enabling more companies and locators to enjoy environmentally sound commercial developments.

The CPG’s flagship properties are its five E-com Centers – all future-forward buildings catering mainly to technological, business process outsourcing, and Fortune 500 companies. All five E-com Centers are located in the MOA Complex. Each building has a proportionate amount of green open spaces and communal areas where workers can socialize and decompress from work.

CPG further promotes sustainable practices with its LEED gold-certified office buildings, solidifying its foothold and commitment to building green offices and commercial developments. These certifications are a testament to SM Prime’s dedication to reducing its contribution to global climate change—all while enhancing the quality of life within its communities.

The three E-com Center boasts architectural wonders and green features that eventually earned its LEED Gold certification. These include water recycling for landscape and non-potable use. The building is fitted with glass windows that minimize heat from entering the building, allowing tenants to use less air conditioning. This 15-story, semi-circular twin-tower office building features function, and aesthetics complemented by state-of-the-art facilities. While it was the first office building in the Mall of Asia Complex to receive such an honor, the new FourE-com Center also recently achieved the same certification—designed with its tenants’ needs in mind, improving work-life balance and office culture accordingly.

Both designed by a globally renowned firm, Arquitectonica, the Three and Four E-coms are unique amongst business centers. “We designed the E-coms to functionally meet the BPO industry’s need for large, continuous floorplates, but also sculpted them in interesting ways so as to allow views and airflows between the buildings, while also, of course, giving them interesting architectural identities. At the same time, their landscaped podium decks create attractive communal green spaces for the tenants; they are envisaged to be interconnected via landscaped sky bridges in the future. The combination of all these factors, architectural design, and green spaces, have made the E-coms highly attractive to multinational companies and brands,” said David Zaballero, Arquitectonica Director.

SM Mega Tower

Meanwhile, SM Prime’s tallest skyscraper located along EDSA will also join the company’s growing roster of LEED-certified green buildings. Called Mega Tower, the 50-story office building is future-ready as it provides spaces that respect both its tenants and nature itself.

Strategically located in the busy Ortigas Centre, the 50-story LEED-registered skyscraper is flexibly designed to meet the requirements of both corporate and BPO tenants. Though its design is highly sculptural, each floorplate remains efficiently planned – combining functionality and iconic identity.

Incorporating sustainability in property development means having the whole life cycle of a building in mind. We invest a tenth of our capital expenditure to ensure that sustainability is integrated into our properties as we carefully plan our developments for our communities, the environment, and future generations,” SM Prime’s Mr. Lim said.

In close collaboration with the SM Group’s other business units, the CPG’s multi-segment or mixed-use approach maximizes the socio-economic potential of its buildings and developments. As a result, SM’s commercial developments are connected to our malls, residences, parks, and civic spaces. Notably, they are all easily accessible to transport hubs to ensure mobility for pedestrians and the commuting public. This interconnectivity, alongside each property’s green and safety features, reduces the company’s carbon footprint, attracts more tenants and locators, and encourages greater productivity among its workforce.

Planting dreams with ‘Grow Trees Community’ in Benguet

John Dizon, Jr. of Benguet-based environmental conservation group NAMALISA plants trees in support of SM Foundation’s and Fast Retailing Foundation’s Grow Trees Community project.

Like his father before him, John Dizon, Jr. and his family have been long-time stewards of protected trees in their community in Tuba, Benguet. When the time came for him to take up the mantle, he did so willingly to honor his father’s legacy.

My father passed away in 2012. It was then that we found out that the area he is managing in collaboration with the government was part of a community-based forest management program,” said Mr. Dizon.

A year later, Mr. Dizon heads the Benguet-based environmental conservation group, Nagawa, Manganese, Liw-Liw, Sadle Agroforestry Assoc. Inc. (NAMALISA), started working closely with the SM Foundation for an inaugural tree-planting campaign back in 2013 to pick up where his father had left off in his advocacy.

With the impact of climate change more felt in recent years, Mr. Dizon shared the importance of planting more trees in communities to thin out air pollutants in keeping the air fresh and people healthier. The trees which his father planted also helped prevent soil erosion and landslides caused by earthquakes.

He nurtures a dream that some of his children will take after him to help protect the environment. Getting closer to that dream, one of his sons is eyeing a career in forestry, a nod to his father’s chosen field.

To further this advocacy, Mr. Dizon supports the reforestation initiative of SM Foundation, Inc., the social good arm of SM, and the Fast Retailing Foundation (FR Foundation), a generally incorporated foundation in Japan through the Grow Trees Community campaign.

The project aims to plant and grow forest trees such as the Benguet pine, Alnus or Calliandra, and Coffee trees to help create livelihood opportunities for the community by working closely with People’s Organizations such as NAMALISA in Tuba, Benguet.

People’s Organization NAMALISA plant trees at the launch of Grow Trees Community in Tuba, Benguet

The proponents teamed up with SM Supermalls and government partners such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Agriculture, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology, Philippine National Police, Philippine Information Agency and the local government of Tuba.

Grow Trees Community was previously launched in Nasugbu, Batangas, and Macabebe, Pampanga. Across the three locations, the project aims to plant over 200,000 seedlings and propagules.

It is in support of the SM Green Movement that seeks to improve the quality of life of communities through sustainable solutions to promote a green planet, green living, and a green culture.

FR Foundation promotes research designed to help make the world a better place, spurring technological development, nurturing human resources, and supporting socially vulnerable individuals or groups.

It is part of Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., the leading Japanese retail company that owns a well-loved casual wear brand, Uniqlo.

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