Zero Carbon Resorts ends Second Phase with a Conference

18 07 2012

The push for a more energy efficient tourism industry in the province of Palawan continues. The Zero Carbon Resorts (ZCR) project now concluded the second phase through the Replace Phase Conference held May 14, 2012. 

Recognizing the boom in Palawan’s tourism industry, ZCR aims to promote a sustainable, ecologically sound basis for future development. The REPLACE phase of the project constitutes its second tier and focuses on replacing inefficient fossil-based technologies with more energy-efficient alternatives.

In the conference, experts presented a wide range of topics on energy efficiency. Dr. Robert Wimmer of GrAT (Center for Appropriate Technologies or Gruppe Angepasste Technologie), Project Lead of ZCR, gave updates about the project and discussed appropriate technology solutions.

Dr. Guillermo Zaragoza, from the Plataforma Solar de Almeria, discussed the potentials of renewable energy, while giving emphasis on solar energy. Finally Engr. Eric Raymundo, Senior Local Technician of GrAT,  presented several measures and technologies that would help in the reduction of energy consumption, thus, leading to abated energy bills and less carbon emissions.

Raymundo particularly stressed the long-term savings companies can achieve by investing in energy-efficient technology. Meanwhile, Engr. Melchor Jaramilla addressed the popular belief that sustainable options always come at a higher price by giving examples of low-cost innovations such as a solar water heater made of locally available materials. Engr. Bernardo Ocampo then  introduced the audience to the “Light from Waste” technology.

Ms. Anita Salayon presented the Green Financing Program of the Development Bank of the Philippines and showed how it provides financing and technical assistance to industries and local government units (LGUs) in order to support investments in environmentally-friendly processes and systems.

Several members of the FG told their success stories and introduced already achieved victories. Ms. Evelyn Tan Banzon, the owner of The Tropical Sun Inn, for example, proudly presented the changes she and her team conducted. In both the REDUCE and the REPLACE phase of the project’s implementation significant reductions in the consumption of electricity have been realized. The money savings will now be used for further improvements, such as the implementation of a rainwater collection system or a system to make use of natural day lighting in order to avoid the use of electric lights during daytime.

The conference also showcased eco-friendly, open-market products., and featured giving awards were given to the best performing Frontier Group members.

1.   Mr. Ruben “Butch” F. Tan Jr., Chairman/CEO, Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort

2.   Mr. Ruben F. Tan Jr., Chairman/CEO, Puerto Pension

3.   Engr. Rudolf Weih, Owner, KokosNuss Resort

4.   Atty. Edgar T. Bocar, TIEZA, Balicasag Island Dive Resort

5.   Ms. Evelyn Tan Banzon, Owner, Tropical Sun Inn

6.   Mr. Andy Pownall, CEO, Sangat Island Dive Resort

7.   Mr. Edgar Romero, Owner, Abad Santos Court

Furthermore, the best performing local promoters were recognized. They are: Engr.. Marlon Prieto of Tourism Infrastructure & Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) and Ms. Teresita Batul, District Manager of Northern District of PCSDS.

The project conference was conducted in collaboration with the City of Puerto Princesa and sponsored by Hotel and SPA Essentials Inc., SG Eco Industries Inc. and Emeral Vinyl Corp.

Launched in 2010 through the support of the European Union, the ZCR Project aimed to enable tourism Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the Philippines to implement energy-saving measures and switching to renewable energy. Its project implementers include
Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), GrAT (Gruppe Angepasste Technologie), Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), Plataforma Solar de Almeria Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (PSA CIEMAT) and Philippine Green Building Council (PhilGBC).

ASSIST is represented by Projects and Grants Management Associate Juvy Jem Perez.


ASSIST launches Advancing Carbon-Neutral Economy (ACE) PPP Project in China

2 01 2012

ASSIST launched back to back events to kick off its Public Private Partnerships Advancing Carbon Neutral Economy: a Multi-Stakeholder Forum on December 19 and Awareness Session on December 20.

ASSIST Projects and Grants Management Director graced both events

An 18-month PPP Project co-financed by DEG and implemented by TUV NORD China and ASSIST, ACE seeks to help reduce China’s carbon footprint.

The forum was attended by top executives and representatives of government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), academic institutions, and private companies. Meanwhile, the awareness session featured a discussion on the current level of carbon emissions in China and the practices that can be adopted by members of energy-intensive industries.

Mrs. Jin Joy, CEO of TUV NORD Great China, welcomes the participants to the Multi-Stakeholder Forum

The following topics were discussed: Carbon Neutrality and the Underlying Concepts; International Standards on Carbon Neutrality (ISO 50001, ISO 14064, PAS 2050); Determining, Quantifying, Reducing and Offseting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions based on various international standards; and Benefits and challenges of implementing Carbon Neutrality in an organization.

Forum speakers include Mr. Li Yong Jun, AP Product Manager Climate Change, Mr. Tang Qing He, Director of Low-Carbon Economy Research Center at the Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences, Mr. Gu Qing Ping, Deputy Director at Carbon Accounting Center, Shanghai Environment and Energy Exchange.

ASSIST Projects and Grants Management Director graced both events. #

NEWS COMMENTARY: Energy Policy Reform: Indispensable in Climate Change Strategies

28 11 2011

by Paula Bianca Lapuz

Australia has passed into law a policy that will tax companies for every carbon emission that they will make starting next year at a fixed price of $23.7 per ton for three years. That is, until 2015, when rates become flexible (Knight 2011). This is another milestone for the worldwide consensus to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) provides the necessary support for this international effort. UNFCC was a result of a global agreement forged in 1992 which aimed to reduce GHG emissions to keep the earth’s temperature at safe levels (UNFCC n.d.).

However, to make UNFCC legally binding, an international treaty was needed. This will later come in the form of the Kyoto Protocol which was adopted by majority of UN member countries in 1997, excluding the United States. The Kyoto Protocol pushes developed countries to achieve GHG emission reduction targets by 2020. The Guardian reports that globally, emissions have increased by almost 40% from 1990 to 2009 (The Guardian 2011).

Currently, a deadlock exists between developing and developed countries with regard to the amount of reductions as well as the parties to take on the prescribed measures. Developing countries have demanded financial assistance from the big players (US, European Union, India, China, etc.) for the development and expansion of renewable energy sources in their territories. At the same time, they also want to see the plans for GHG emission reduction of the developed countries.

Developed countries on the other hand, want to be assured of the developing countries’ commitment to make the huge cuts in their GHG emissions. The reliability of measurements to be used to assess the progress of each country also remains a point of contention (Harvey 2011).

In the Copenhagen summit of 2009, developed countries have promised to produce the money needed for the global energy sector reform but have not been delivering, with many of the concerned parties blaming the current economic crises in the EU and in the US  (Goldenberg 2010) (Harvey 2011).

Nonetheless, European countries claim the ability to reach their target levels by 2012, the deadline for the Protocol’s first commitment. For its part, Germany has recently launched a grant facility dedicated “to strengthen its bilateral cooperation with developing, newly industrializing and transition countries in the field of climate protection”.  Further, it had expressed its support for “a comprehensive global climate agreement” under the UNFCC (Federal Ministry for the Enivironment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety 2011).

Similarly, China has made significant leaps forward, becoming the lead player in the clean energy technology industry (The Guardian 2011) (Harvey 2011).

But the World Resources Institute revealed that developing countries are leading the pack in adopting renewable energy policies (MANIEGO and WEISCHER 2011).

For instance, the Philippines, bereft of fossil fuel resources but fortunately having abundant renewable energy supply, already derives 30% of its energy requirements from the likes of geothermal, hydro, solar, and wind power electricity facilities. It is said to be the second largest producer of geothermal power worldwide and the first in Southeast Asia to use large-scale wind and solar technologies. Policy-wise, the country has adopted the Renewable Energy (RE) Act in 2008, which guarantees a fixed price for 12 years for energy sourced from renewable sources. This is just one of its attractive incentives for consumers and possible investors (Pérez 2009) (MANIEGO and WEISCHER 2011).

The United Nations Environment Programme even commented that the Philippines’ RE law could serve as the region’s blueprint form renewable energy policy (Pérez 2009).

Thus, policies in this context play a major role in advancing international agreements at the local level.


Moving forward, the challenge becomes more daunting and costly. The past decade has shown us how diplomacy and economic interests can derail the massive task of reducing GHG emissions. It takes a great amount of political will to enforce policies at the local level that can improve existing renewable energy sources and force industries to shift to more sustainable energy use and management.

A study entitled the “Implication of Population Growth and Urbanization for Climate Change” explains that the number of consumers and their growing levels of consumption prove to be the “driving force” in the increasing rates of GHG emissions, more than the production processes. Hence, aside from the production perspective, the paper seeks to establish the contributions of households to GHG emissions and encourages further study on the matter (SATTERTHWAITE 2009).

This tells us that States should also discourage its citizens from engaging in wasteful consumption.  More importantly, at the heart of all initiatives toward the development of renewable energy sources is the quest for energy security. While the full utilization of renewable energy can be more cost-efficient in the long run especially for non-fossil fuel producing nations, the shift will be expensive, especially for countries that are heavily reliant on them. But what is being communicated by the UNFCC is that, whether nations admit it or not, we are all in the same sinking boat. And unless we all do our share to save the ship, the consequences will be irreversible and tragic.

All eyes are now set towards 2020, by which time another protocol will be drafted, the goals of which would greatly depend on the success or failure of the current international treaty. For the Philippines, it gives us a sense of hope because we have the most expensive electricity in Asia (Manila Bulletin 2011), and finding alternative sources for electricity would also mean attaining self-sufficiency in terms of energy.

The landmark legislation in Australia is another victory for renewable energy advocates. More developed countries should seriously take their share of the burden as more developing countries strive to develop their renewable energy sources. Only then can we move forward.

This is not a new message. But it appears that there is more need to push the developed countries to act. It is indeed ridiculous to know that the US bailed out banks for 800 billion dollars, yet refuses to spend a considerable amount for its climate change program.

Resources are there; the question is how fast the countries can move to make broad and structural impacts.

Works cited

Federal Ministry for the Enivironment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. International Climate Initiative. October 2011. (accessed November 14, 2011).

Goldenberg, Suzanne. The Guardian. December 07, 2010. (accessed November 14, 2011).

Harvey, Fiona. The Guardian. November 03, 2011. (accessed November 13, 2011).

Knight, Matthew. CNN Asia. November 08, 2011. (accessed November 11, 2011).

MANIEGO, PETE, and LUTZ WEISCHER. Manila Bulletin. July 04, 2011. (accessed November 14, 2011).

Manila Bulletin. Manila Bulletin. February 23, 2011. (accessed November 14, 2011).

Pérez, Vincent S. “ADB Documents.” Asian Development Bank. 2009. (accessed November 14, 2011).

SATTERTHWAITE, DAVID. “The implications of population growth and urbanization for climate change.” Expert Group Meeting on Population Dynamics and Climate Change, UNFPA, IIED and UN–HABITAT. London, June 24–25, 2009.

The Guardian. March 11, 2011. (accessed November 13, 2011).

UNFCC. United Nations Framework on Climate Change. (accessed November 13, 2011).

ASSIST participates in Zero Carbon Resorts Project Replace Phase Training in Spain

24 11 2011

The Zero Carbon Resorts Project funded by the European Union’s SWITCH Asia Program held a Technical Training in Almeria, Spain hosted by partner organization Plataforma Solar de Almeria (PSA) last November 1 to 10, 2011.

Launched as part of the advance course for the Replace Phase of the project, it gathered engineers and architects from the academe, private industry and government institutions to learn from the techniques and experience of PSA in the field of solar energy.

Participants were equipped with theoretical knowledge and practical work on various solar technologies employed by PSA. They are expected to serve as resource persons of the project, echoing their learning in their respective professions. A workshop was also held at the end of the training to let the participants identify, assess and recommend equipment that can be used to promote zero carbon resorts in the Philippines.

Drs. Julian Blanco, Diego Alarcon, Pilar Fernandez and Guillermo Zaragoza of PSA, and Dr. Robert Wimmer of Gruppe Angepasste Technologie (GrAT) facilitated the training.

The training also served as a venue for the meeting of partner organization representatives: Dr. Wimmer, Engr. Catherine Guivencan, Engr. Eric Raymundo, Mr. Gerald Englmair, and Mr. Chaipipat Pokpong of GrAT (Project Lead), Ms. Marivic Mamaradlo of Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), Mr. Romeo Dorado and Ms. Maria Luz Martinez of Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), Mr. Armando Miranda of Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA).

Launched in 2010 through the support of the European Union, the ZCR Project aimed to enable tourism Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the Philippines to implement energy-saving measures and switching to renewable energy. #

ZCR Project Moves Forward to the Replace Phase

7 07 2011

For the second phase of the Zero Carbon Resorts (ZCR) project, Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) worked with partners to launch a Professional Training Program at the PCSD Sustainable Training Institute, Irawan, Puerto Princesa City last June 6 to 7, 2011.

Juvy Jem Perez, ASSIST Projects and Grants Management Associate gives a preview on what to expect for the Replace Phase.

Launched in 2010 through the support of the European Union, the ZCR Project aimed to enable tourism Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the Philippines to implement energy-saving measures and switching to renewable energy.

Its project implementors include ASSIST, GrAT (Gruppe Angepasste Technologie), Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), Plataforma Solar de Almeria Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (PSA CIEMAT) and Philippine Green Building Council (PhilGBC).

ASSIST is represented by Projects and Grants Management Associate Juvy Jem Perez, who discussed Project Sustainability and Knowledge Transfer (KT) component of the project.

“An integral part of switch process, KT can range from simple awareness creation to technical capacity building. It ensures that those who enlisted in the program will be able to sustain the attained switch to energy-efficient measures,” Perez explained.

PCSD representative explains the mechanism of a solar panel heater.

ZCR’s KT component included the release of collaterals, training materials, handbooks, instructional video, and web-based platform. For sustainability, Perez related the creation of a ZCR community whose member SMEs actively engage in updating a database. The database features the SMEs’ resource consumption, progress report and a virtual forum for project members for sharing best practices and learnings.

She also shared what can be expected in the Replace Phase, which involves the introduction to energy-and water-saving technologies, as well as products made of eco-friendly materials. For this purpose, the ZCR project team will input company and experts information in the database for the SMEs to access.

Other presentations during the ZCR Replace Professional Training delved on the availability of Renewable Energy in the Philippines as reported by PhilGBC, and in Palawan, courtesy of PCSD. Meanwhile, PSA CIEMAT’s Dr. Guillermo Zaragoza discussed the Potential of Renewable Energy in the Philippines and a review of the Principles for Solar Thermal Collectors, and Dr. Robert Wimmer of project lead organization GrAT presented on Demand-Supply Matching as a practice towards energy services optimization.

The program also featured an introduction to Efficient Technologies and Products in the Philippines by PhilGBC, workshop on a community purchase model, and experience sharing among Frontier Group members.#