Perks for green initiatives.
KUCHING: Local authorities in the country are considering giving incentives to builders who undertake green initiatives in their projects.
Taxes for certain recycled and sustainable building materials could be waived and developers might even be allowed to construct larger buildings that are deemed environmentally friendly.
Malaysian Institute of Architects, Sarawak Branch, Conservation and Sustainable Design committee member Ng Chee Wee said talks with government agencies on such matters had reached the final stages.
“The incentives will be implemented among local councils in Peninsular Malaysia within this year, and in Sabah and Sarawak about a year later.
“The institute has been making suggestions to local councils since mid-last year,” Ng told The Star yesterday.
Speaking at the organisation’s Sustainable Design Forum here, he said tax-free materials could include items like solar panels and roofing tiles.
He said council building by-laws would also be updated, improving basic requirements.
“We can’t penalise non-sustainable new works, that’s for sure. So what we’ve suggested is for developers who take the extra initiative to be rewarded. One of the best ways that this can be done, we feel, is to allow added floor space to projects that are green.
“The added floor space will mean those developers would earn more. That kind of incentive is very attractive,” Ng said.
On awareness of green buildings in Malaysia, Ng said it was low. “On a scale of one to 10, I would grade Malaysians on six. Most of us are only equipped with surface knowledge, and that will not be enough to be effective. Also, there is a misperception that green buildings are expensive. In fact, the opposite is true.”
Ng pointed to design that took into account local climate as an example. He said buildings should have fewer windows on its east and west sides to avoid direct sunlight.
“Green initiatives aren’t just for new projects. You can replace air-conditioners with fans and plant more trees. Or for your next re-roofing, use lighter coloured tiles because bright colours are more heat resistant.”