22 October 2011

Green Buildings.

The Kuala Lumpur skyline.

This morning I had an interesting chat with the Devil - she asked me about green buildings and how am I involved in it and so on. We didnt elaborate too much on that, but it sort of gave me an idea what to blog about today - yes, Green Buildings.

Green Buildings. Source.

To be honest, when green building proposals were being introduced, I was rather skeptical. I had the opinion that it could work in places such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and most Western cities due to its selling prices, and not so much in Kuala Lumpur. This was back when condominiums were just touching RM1,000psf - yes, years ago.

Today, my opinions have changed tremendously. In fact, I think that Green Buildings is the way forward in Kuala Lumpur. If you look at the world environmental and disaster statistics - you'll realize that the world is somehow suffering. Somewhere at some part of the world is having massive floods, massive tornadoes, earthquakes, forest fires, and all kinds of natural disasters that were previously only heard or seen once in 50 years. Today, it seems to be happening quite frequently. I am not going to talk much on disasters - instead, I believe what the world, and in particular, Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur needs now are sustainable developments, and sustainable buildings.

The property sector accounts and consumes at least a-third of the world's energy - or perhaps even more. Having a green building that is energy and environmental friendly is able to reduce this energy consumption. There has been so much researches and studies on green buildings that there are so many different sectors and areas that can cover, and also make a building green. For example, a building that channels rainwater, back onto your landscape and planter boxes, as well as the toilets for flushing efficiently is able to save so much water in the long term. From the economists' point of view, there are so much savings from water bills and so on. Environmentalists would encourage that a lot too. But, developers and building owners will see the initial costs as a deterrent.

Having certain types of mechanical systems for your air-conditioning also makes your building energy efficient. When these elements are integrated together, the green buildings are designed and constructed to save much more energy - ultimately a reduction in your electricity bills. Energy efficiency would cover many different aspects in a building right from the air-conditioning, lighting, firefighting systems, lifts, escalators and much more. A building with environmental-friendly facades allows for lesser energy loss, while still maintaining the temperatures in the building. Further to that, the indoor environmental quality levels and standards are also being monitored.

The Menara Binjai.

There are many architects and designers today who are very familiar with green buildings. Having a north-south orientation of a building reduces the amount of sunlight on the building, keeping energy loss to a minimum. These are part and parcel of sustainable site planning and management. There are just too many items to cover in one article here; you could do some basic research by just googling 'Green Building'. Green Buildings do not just cover the completed buildings. For instance, while we are constructing the Menara Binjai, we have committed to use recyclable materials and formwork for the structures. Our plywood and various formwork materials are derived from imported pinewood, a source that is rather recyclable as compared to using local timber, which takes decades to grow.

Many studies have indicated that green buildings would provide better cost savings in the long term. Furthermore, the Government is now also providing tax incentives for green buildings - making it another plus point for the green building initiative. In my opinion, these buildings are able to improve staff productivity, driven by the improvements in indoor air quality, better lighting, thermal comfort and an improved innovation in the work environment.

The PTM GEO Building.

With the rise in the demands of the owners, buyers and investors, the standards and quality of buildings today have improved tremendously. The values of properties have also went up. Today, we are in the generation of which property prices have went up so much, and allows for so much more enhancement of the building and property - so, there should be no reason why green buildings cannot be implemented. It has taken quite some time for the initiative to hit it off; I believe that in the next 5 years, four out of every 5 developments would be a Green-certified development. =)

Enjoy your weekend! =)


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