YY House in Mandaue, Cebu: First LEED-certified house in SE Asia

·3 min read

TO BE in the pink of health, one does not only have to eat the right kind and amount of food and exercise daily but also live in a healthy environment.

As more people find themselves spending more time in the safety of their homes, there is a need for living spaces to promote good health. This ideal of a home is given a concrete picture through a residential project that stands proudly in Mandaue City, Cebu.

It is “proud,” in the sense that the house is regarded as the first LEED house in Southeast Asia.

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a green building rating system that provides a framework for healthy, highly-efficient and cost-saving green buildings, according to the US Green Building website.

The YY House, as it is called because of the name of the compound where it is located, is owned by entrepreneur William Yap, who was looking for an architect who understood LEED. So he got the LEED architect couple, Filemon and Marivic Kapuno, to take the lead in realizing this sustainable residential project.

“The owner wanted to address health issues of their family. One child had asthma. As the owner has done extensive research, he believed that a LEED-certified home would give him that quality of the indoor environment in the middle of the city,” said architect Marivic.

After a careful planning process that started in 2016, the construction of the house commenced in July 2018, and was completed in January 2019.

The architects acknowledge the team effort of “more than 20 professionals,” who committed themselves in engaging their services for this building project, a first-of-its-kind in the country. From the structural engineer to the chemical engineer specializing in water filtration to building material suppliers (each construction material had to satisfy specific LEED standards), the architects had to select carefully.

“The challenge for the architects was in guiding all these professionals to achieve very specific and technical goals that were intertwined with every building discipline. We call this the integrated design process. It is necessary to achieve a whole-house design,” the LEED architects explained.

Beyond its pleasing modern aesthetics, the architectural value of the YY House lies in its utilitarian features such as building insulation that protects the interior from air infiltration that may increase humidity causing molds and rot. Solar panels and rainwater filtration system address the basic needs of the users. The exterior stone veneer used in the house is among the many sustainable materials used and these reflected simple volumes with no maintenance finish. In line with pandemic protocols, an area for shoe removal before the main entrance door featuring a storage cabinet and stool to comfortably take off one’s shoes “to prevent contaminants from entering” the house.

The YY House project highlights the aspirations of local architects to bring building design to the next level, not just in terms of aesthetics but also on its positive impact to its main users. Moreover, the project proves the cost-efficiency of incorporating environmentally-sustainable design principles into a residence, not just in the big, iconic buildings.

Worthy of highlighting too, is the openness of the project clients and the public to think long-term with their architects in producing not just environment-friendly but also user-friendly buildings.

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