My open letter to New San Jose Builders about healthy energy

Wednesday, October 11, 2017 Stef dela Cruz, MD 0 Comments

Dear New San Jose Builders,

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar is beautiful, breathtaking… and rather disappointing.

I laud you for what you have achieved: the ancestral homes in your heritage resort have been sourced from all over the Philippines, and later reconstructed and restored, making your property the only one in the country to become part of Historic Hotels Worldwide. Your company has made quite an effort to showcase history and preserve culture.

This is exactly why I find it a contradiction that your company has not done the barest minimum to conserve energy.

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Conserving architecture without conserving energy is an ideological dichotomy.

Spanish-era ceiling art

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar has beautiful Spanish-era ceiling art, but the chandeliers don't use light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs.

vintage lampposts

There are vintage-looking lampposts lighting the stone paths, but all of them use compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) that consume about five times more electricity than LEDs.

Las Casas Filipinas

beach house

Spanish-era house

Philippine heritage

The restaurants, the rooms, the houses showcased for viewing -- none of these have LED bulbs.


Why LED trumps CFL

While LEDs used to provide only directional illumination instead of warmer, diffuse lighting, newer LED bulbs can now replace CFLs and fluorescent bulbs that consume five to twenty times more electricity. Unlike CFLs and fluorescent bulbs, LEDs do not generate a lot of heat. If you decide to switch to LEDs, the rooms in your property will be much cooler and will not need as much energy for air-conditioning.

LED bulbs can also last about a couple of decades -- a lifespan that’s 200 percent longer compared to CFLs. Why purchase two CFLs when you will be needing only one LED?

brick belfry

capis lanterns


I walked around for three days, enjoying the capis lanterns hanging from trees, the brick belfry, the gargoyles adorning the arches under the stone bridge, the Venice-inspired canals tunneling through houses. I didn’t see a single LED bulb.

beach house

game room

stone pavement

I saw gardens with stone-art pavement, benches painstakingly made with flat stones, a room full of games old and new -- all of which were lit by bulbs that unnecessarily consumed too much electricity.

There is no point in preserving architecture if you have no plans of conserving energy; no point in honoring heritage if by doing so, you contribute to the death of our only planet.

There will be no Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar if there is no viable earth.

Save on electric bills; save the planet

While buying hundreds of new LED bulbs will come at an extra cost, the switch from CFL to LED will benefit not only your company because you will spend less on electric bills, but also the entire planet because of the energy you conserve.

By the way, do you like salmon? Note that the hundreds of CFLs you’ve purchased contain mercury, a toxic element that can contaminate our oceans and the fish we eat. The fact that you use them to light up your 400-hectare property means you are now tasked with the proper disposal of hundreds of potentially-toxic light bulbs. Please think of that the next time you eat shake sashimi.

gwardya sibilI look forward to visiting your heritage resort again one day, but only after you've at least shifted to LED bulbs.

Thank you for choosing to conserve our heritage. I hope you will also #ChooseHealthyEnergy as part of your conservation advocacy.

ancestral home

All the best,
Dr. Stef dela Cruz
Healthy Energy Ambassador for Health Care Without Harm - Asia

Note to the readers of this blog: This open letter has been sent to  email addresses found on the websites of both New San Jose Builders and Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. I sincerely hope they consider the issue of energy conservation important enough to warrant a response to this letter.

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a vegan doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She is the editor of The Manila Bulletin's Animal Scene Magazine. Get in touch if you want to invite her as a speaker!