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SM Prime: Laying a solid basis for sustainable development

Since the world witnessed Covid-19, the concept of sustainability in property development has exploded. People quickly understood how important real estate is in the journey towards a more sustainable way of life as they had to reconsider their use of space. With climate change lurking on the horizon and a growing population to support, the demand for more sustainable and resilient cities will only grow.

SM Prime began working on sustainable design and development long before the notion became popular. The mission to serve its consumers is at the heart of SM, which has designed its malls to provide superior comfort and a delightful experience in every visit to SM Supermalls.

Comfort that lasts

SM Megamall, one of SM’s 78 malls around the country, has grown into the complex it is now, with 800 stores, 250 dining outlets, and 16 anchor tenants. Customers may walk around the 10-hectare development, which has convenient parking, a relaxing ambience, and a gorgeous façade. This is the result of clever engineering based on environmentally friendly design and technology.

  • SM Megamall is energy and water efficient. The building is enveloped with EIFS or Exterior Insulation Finishing Systems board which helps boosts wall insulation, making it more resistant to heat. It only uses LED lighting system allowing a 50% energy saving. The mall also tracks a lighting operating schedule following the supply requirement of our mall activity and does not contribute to environmental lighting pollution so as not disturb nocturnal animals. It also uses sensor activated escalators that contribute to about 30% energy savings. It’s air handling system uses high-efficiency air-conditioning system that has greater environmental stewardship. Lastly, it uses efficient water fixture for water savings and recycles water.

SM Megamall

  • SM Megamall works with the natural environment. The mall utilizes green walls, skylights and clerestory or a high section wall that contains windows above eye level to increase the flow of natural light. It is surrounded with plants of local varieties and selection of trees and shrubs.

SM Megamall Bicycle Racks

  • SM Megamall promotes mobility. Situated in the middle of EDSA, SM Megamall brings 550 buses into one integrated system to promote easier mobility. Green hybrid transports provide options for the more environmentally conscious passengers. All public transports are required to meet mandated emission levels in support of the Clean Air Act. The mall is pedestrian-friendly with about 1,595 square meters of covered walk ways. Throughout the mall, designated bike lanes and parking spaces are provided. Lastly, parking sensors not only make parking easier but has also reduced emissions in the parking areas.

SM MegaTower

  • SM Megamall practices responsible materials management. The mall uses Echostop ceiling finish for noise absorption which is made from gypsum and paper liner made from 100% reclaimed and recycled paper. The Mega Tower uses insulated glass units which keeps heat out during summer months and Low E-glass to minimize the amount of ultraviolet light that comes through the windows, with both features maximizing energy savings. It also has a Material Recovery Facility dividing recyclables, biodegradable waste, residual waste and hazardous waste.

Environmental Policy

All of these measures are in line with SM Prime’s environmental strategy, which focuses on developing, designing, and constructing integrated lifestyle communities that are sustainable and resilient.

SM Prime is continuing its shift to renewable energy in line with these objectives. The corporation is diversifying its renewable energy investments in addition to investing in energy efficiency projects. By the end of 2022, SM Prime intends to grow its demand for renewable energy by more than 50% across all of its business sectors, in support of the Department of Energy’s objective of increasing the country’s renewable energy supply component to 35% by the end of the decade.

SM Prime has also joined the 2,500 organizations worldwide who support the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and its goal of creating a more resilient financial system through better climate risk disclosures, as part of a growing movement of responsible and sustainability-focused businesses. It hopes to use this to continue to drive its business to adopt more climate-related sustainability initiatives.

SM continues to preserve its commitment to sustainability and conservation at Hamilo Coast, an SM property in Nasugbu, Batangas, by planting 50,000 more mangroves across 100,000 square meters of the estate. This is also regarded as one of Nasugbu’s major mangrove habitats. Together with the World Wide Fund for Nature,

Hamilo Coast continues to safeguard its mangrove habitat. Hamilo Coast also undertook the initiative to declare three of its coves, namely Pico de Loro, Etayo, and Santelmo as Marine Protected Areas in 2009. SM is regreening the country sides through its tree planting program led by SM City Baguio. This is in partnership with the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Cordillera Administrative Region (DENR-CAR), Baguio Water District, the local government of Baguio City and 25 media organizations in Baguio.

As of January 2022, over 600,000 trees have already been planted in Baguio City and neighboring towns in Benguet. SM further promotes sustainable practices through water recycling and the adoption of technologies that promote smart water use. In 2020, it was able to recycle 28.9 million cubic meters of water.

In terms of solid waste management, SM Prime has intensified its campaign by requiring all contractors to implement proper waste management procedures during construction. A long-running program through SM Cares, the monthly Trash to Cash (TTC) provides an avenue for the community, including properties’ tenants, to participate in solid waste management. This initiative ran for nine months in 74 malls and five SM Development Corporation properties in 2020, saving 134,067 seven-year-old trees to date.

It also undertakes paper recycling in partnership with the Trust International Paper Corporation and the responsible transport, treatment, storage and disposal or processing of the properties’ generated hazardous waste, compliant to the government’s implementing rules and regulations.

Resiliency as a Necessity

While SM serves millions of customers every day, its impact goes beyond its businesses – touching the lives of millions more in the communities wherever it is present. For a country like the Philippines, the impact of climate change can already be felt with typhoons getting stronger and more frequent.

Hans T. Sy, chairman of the Executive Committee of SM Prime has served in leadership roles in both national and international organizations focused on disaster resiliency and its impact to business and society. Leading by example, SM integrates disaster resiliency in its business strategy as well as its city and mall designs and developments. This, not only allows SM businesses to operate during calamities, instead, also helps communities become more resilient to typhoons.

“I believe in an age-old adage; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. SM Prime has taken deliberate steps to reinforce resiliency across its properties and provide a focused approach on sustainability in order to preserve communities and save lives,” said Mr. Sy.

Such is the impact created by SM Masinag.

Vermont Park Phase 1 is located near SM Masinag. For years, it would undergo flooding during typhoons. However, the story has changed. Since SM Masinag opened to serve the community, it has been equipped with a water catchment facility that can detain 17,681 cubic meters of water, which is equivalent to 7 Olympic size swimming pools. This helped control the flooding of nearby villages during typhoons.

Meanwhile, SM Marikina, which is also in a high-flood rate zone, is able to serve as first responder and a safe haven to affected families during times of calamities. This is because it is standing on 246 stilts with an elevation higher than the highest recorded water level rise in Marikina City.

Strong Foundations for Responsible Development: Sustainability and Resilience

The creation of SM Prime is based on both sustainability and disaster resiliency. Both serve as solid foundations for responsible development, according to SM, in order to meet the growing need for urban areas while also addressing the problem of climate change.

When creating malls, offices, and even integrated lifestyle towns, SM Prime spends roughly 10% of capital expenditure from the beginning of concept design to incorporate sustainability features and disaster resistance.

“The safety of the communities, employees, customers, and the facility structure remains top priorities in all SM Prime developments. As I tell my design teams ever so frequently, ensuring safety is the only way I can sleep well,” Mr Sy said.

For SM, this includes both hard infrastructure capabilities and how areas are planned to promote mobility, as well as green transportation options, greener buildings, and even green technologies such as solar energy. As a result, wherever SM works, SM Prime makes every effort to assist in the creation of the spaces and cities that we require in order to thrive in the future.


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