A Glimpse into the Development of Green Buildings
It is good news for the environment if more developers in Malaysia are jumping on the green bandwagon.
Man-made structures that dominate the skyline today are more or less the cause of Earth’s depleting resources while impacting the environment and air quality that contributes to the effects of climate change.
Yet for developers, going the environmental-friendly and conscious route can only make sense if they realize green buildings are going to yield them savings in the wake of rising costs.
While savings can be yielded in the form of utility bills through greener energy usage, however, more than just intangible benefits, it is a pride for developers who have achieved the Green Building Index (GBI) benchmark - Malaysia’s own green rating and certification tool that was launched in January 2009.
Where developers traditionally do not open up their ‘secrets’ of going green, four developers in Klang Valley did when they offered a glimpse into their prestigious green-rated developments to industry professionals and members of the public in an inaugural Green Tour organized by the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association; namely Rehda Youth and Rehda Institute recently.
After all, these are developments that have obtained green ratings of GBI or the government-imposed Singapore Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Green Mark.
The first stop was at Ken Bangsar located in the enclave of Bukit Bandaraya, Bangsar.
This residential project is a redevelopment of what was originally an existing office building after Ken Holdings Bhd took over in 2005.
It achieved the BCA Green Mark Gold Plus Award in 2009 and the GBI Gold Award 2010 for its list of environmental efficiencies, such as a central 300-gallon water heater for each unit instead of having heaters installed in every bathroom, and laminated low-E glass for even full height windows to cut off heat and sound.
LED lights are put up at the common areas. The reception is fanned by all-day breezes and cooled by an evaporative waterfall called the innovative ‘Cheel’ system, while wind tunnels maximize air-flow and heat pumps harvest idle energy for hot showers.
Proceeding on to GTower at Jalan Tun Razak, this project is credited for being Malaysia’s first internationally certified green building.
It has also garnered the BCA Green Mark Gold (before Malaysia’s GBI was introduced) for innovations that include a heat recovery system where heat is harnessed from chillers to provide hot water for hotel rooms, double-glazed glass facade that helps with the reduction of cooling load by 5.4%, and swimming pools that are eco-friendly and free from chlorine.
For Sunway Challis Damansara, which became the first landed residential development in Malaysia awarded with the BCA Green Mark Certified Award, one would notice solar panels being installed at every house roof.
Passive green features include vented rooftops to effortlessly dispose off heat, while rainwater from roof surface of its management office is chanelled down to an underground tank to be used later for landscape irrigation.
At the 1 First Avenue development in Bandar Utama, the main facade is positioned in the North-South orientation that minimizes heat orientation, while the East and West sides are provided with landscaped balcones and vertical gardens as a form of sun relief.
Its chilled water storage air-conditioning system utilitizes off-peak idling electricity supply that reduces electricity peak demand by 35%. Various other features include rainwater harvesting system to reduce the use of treated chlorinated water.
The building’s green features were already implemented even before the GBI was launched, and in April last year, it received the index’s Gold award.
Prior to the green tour, a launch was held at a hotel in Petaling Jaya that was graced by Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Wira Chor Chee Heung.
Chor said it is only when green construction methods are applied right from the design stage that a green development can be successful.
“Going green is something challenging that will need all parties to embrace. And how sustainable living can be attained without incurring too much cost to the consumers,” said Chor.
“My Ministry is seriously looking into rainwater harvesting at all new housing projects.”
He also touched on solid waste management at local authorities level based on what he had seen and learnt from his recent trip to South Korea.
“It’s admirable what the South Korean authorities there are doing by ensuring separation of waste at its source.
“A Public Cleansing Act is expected to be fully implemented this April or May as the Parliament has approved of this legistation. Once this section of the Act is implemented, we’ll start with this waste separation at source.
“A two-year timeline would be given so that people will get used to this habit,” said Chor, adding that there is a penalty clause under this Act.
He called on developers to look into building two different bins; one for dry waste and the other for normal waste - for new housing projects.
He said in South Korea, it’s more than just the 3Rs of reuse, reduce and recycle.
“There is another ‘R’ for recovery, where waste is being converted into energy to be used for heating inside homes. In Seoul, I saw an incinerator that takes in 100,000 tonnes of waste daily which is converted to provide energy to 300,000 homes nearby,” said Chor.
An audience member, Derek Fernandez who is also the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) councillor. said several ground-breaking policies have been implemented by the council since last year for new housing projects planning approval.
“One of them is the rainwater harvesting system, a compulsory feature that has to be reflected in the building plan.
“For air-conditioning, developers are also required to install those which are CSC-free-gas while all new housing or commercial projects must be green-certified,” said Fernandez, adding that more and more notable developers are supporting the ‘going green’ cause for the sake of environment.
Rehda president Datuk Seri Michael Yam said it has to be market-driven for developers to go green and not just because it’s the ‘in-thing’ to do.
“Developing and living in green buildings may make financial sense in the long run but not everyone can afford to purchase green homes due to its high cost.
“So Malaysians still need to be educated about the benefits and hopefully, the price of green building becomes more affordable in future.”
- By Star Property Online