“Okay, let me backtrack,” starts Victor Consunji, CEO of property developer Victor Consunji Development Corporation, champion of sustainability, and also, in this afternoon chat with Tatler, no-nonsense truth-teller. “The nature of real estate is that it is a very high carbon footprint industry.”
The 44-year-old “friendly neighbourhood bricklayer”, as he refers to himself on Instagram, appears on the little Zoom screen under the shade of a sun-drenched garden as he makes his case for the future-proof home, one that considers next generations and the strange turbulence of the past few years. In his grand vision, the houses at Vie at Southern Plains in the sleepy suburbs south of Metro Manila may also be the last home you’ll move into.
The dream home has a green cost
Because we live in a part of the world where devastating typhoons, earthquakes, and other natural calamities occur, houses must stand solid and strong, which makes the process of building resource-intensive.
And then there are the necessary updates to keep a house up to speed with the latest technologies, or even just up and running (the yearly roof repair before typhoon season). “Every time you have to touch a house, every time that you have to fix something, it all adds to the carbon footprint of the property,” says Consunji, who adds that an older home can be more wasteful to update.
That your dream home has a green cost is what Consunji seeks to resolve in Vie, his newest residential development of 650 homes spread across 85 hectares in Calamba, Laguna in the Philippines, and which will also launch in the surfing hotspot of Uluwatu, Bali in Indonesia.
Consunji makes clear that sustainability is at the core of the community and “not the fluff” or “top one per cent”. Instead, the homes are themselves sustainable both from the perspective of environmentalism and usefulness. He adds, “We build our houses to be a primary home, which means that it’s almost hopefully the last house you'll ever need.”