Green Building Index

18/11/2009 05:38

There is a new green rating initiative in Malaysia called the Green Building Index (GBI) which is jointly developed by Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia (PAM) and the Association of Consulting Engineers Malaysia (ACEM). It is established to rate buildings based on six criteria: energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, sustainable sit planning and management, materials and resources, water efficiency, and innovation.

While there are many green rating systems like US’ LEED, Australia’s Green Star and Singapore’s BCA Green Mark, GBI is designed specifically for the tropical climate and the country’s priorities and needs. The BCA Green Mark is the only other rating system developed for countries with tropical climate.

Although getting buildings GBI certified is a voluntary process, the existence of the rating helps creates awareness among those directly involved in the property construction and development industry as well as members of the public.

How consumers will benefit from these rating systems is that they will have an eco-benchmark to consider when it comes to buying or renting a residential or commercial property.

Although the GBI is only recently established, property developers in Malaysia are not new to the concept of building environmentally friendly buildings. Ken Holdings was the first developer in the country to be awarded the BCA Green Mark GoldPLUS Award with Ken Bangsar, a 15-storey serviced apartment tower.

Among the many environmentally friendly efforts that is employed in Ken Bangsar is a specially designed water feature that cools the building’s double-volume lobby as well as lift lobby. On top of that, a heat pump harvests hot air from the air conditioner compressor to produce energy for hot water that is used for common toilets. Rainwater is harvested to water plants.

Despite it being a first for the country, the application for Green Mark certification was an afterthought by Ken Holdings and Ken Bangsar was not designed with the ratings in mind.

Developer Naza TTDI latest launch of The Valley TTDI linked villas also has the environment in mind. According to the developer, eco-friendly materials are used to construct the homes while solar panels on the roof harvest energy for use.

Another developer, Sepang Gold Coast uses timbre sourced only from a sustainable forest and a waste management system that does not discharge waste into the straits. Although the development is built on stilts, the coastal waters of the Straits of Malacca where it is built on flows freely.

Many other developers have also adopted environment conscious development methods for both commercial and residential properties.

While it is still too early to tell the impact of GBI on how consumers and developers will adopt the effort, the situation is changing for our neighbours Singapore. The BCA Green Mark system used there was launched in January 2005 and will be made compulsory for all commercial buildings in Singapore in the future.

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