December 16, 2022

What is Green Building Concept in Malaysia?

The demand for green buildings in Malaysia is growing fast. Developers are, indeed, working extra hard to try and cater to this fast-rising demand as more buyers insist they want to live eco-friendly lifestyles. Remember that this demand is not just from individual home buyers but also from corporates looking forward to keeping their operating costs as low and building positive brands on the market. So, what exactly is a green building? What benefits do green buildings have for Malaysians in Kuala Lumpur and other cities? Keep reading for all the answers that you need to know about the concept and its application in Malaysia.


What is Green Building?

According to the World Green Building Council, a green building is any development project or building that, in its design, construction, and later occupation, eliminates or reduces the negative implications on the environment. We must say that the whole idea is pegged on the rapidly growing concept of sustainability, implying that you have to target the social, environmental, and governance impacts. 

As we are going to see shortly, green buildings come with a long list of benefits, but they are only achievable when the user understands the concept well. The application of sustainability also denotes the crucial concept of continuity. Even if your premise might have been developed before emphasis on sustainability was adopted, it is also possible to green it using the Malaysian eco-model and the suggestions we list later in the post. 

Green buildings in Malaysia come with a long list of benefits. Let us highlight some of them: 

  • It helps to attract more property buyers in the market. 
  • Companies that deal with properties are able to secure a listing in eco-driven Malaysia's capital market. 
  • Eco-friendly buildings are more energy efficient, which implies that users are sure of using less on their utility bills. 
  • Crucial in promoting better health for the people who use them in Malaysia. 
  • Makes it possible for building design companies to cut their building-related costs. 
  • Gives both developers and property buyers the opportunity to make an impact in promoting a better planet for all. 

The Green Building Initiative (GBI) in Malaysia 

Malaysia has scored impressively in the development of eco-friendly buildings. Indeed, this is among the main reasons why it is considered one of the most sustainable jurisdictions in ASEAN, only coming fourth after Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. The main reason for the impressive performance in the green building niche is the Green Building Index (GBI)

How Does THE Green Building Index Work?

GBI is a crucial green rating model designed to help investors, companies, and individuals pinpoint buildings that are committed to sustainability. It was developed by the Association of Consulting Engineers Malaysia in 2009 and is recognized globally. Under the GBI, buildings are rated into the following: 

  • Platinum: Over 86 points. 
  • Gold: 76-85 points. 
  • Solver: 66 – 75 points.
  • Certified: 50-65 points. 

A building that does not reach the above points means that its systems are not sustainable. Therefore, the developer has to check for specific areas of improvement to make it achieve a higher rating. In a country where almost every property buyer looks at sustainability rating, no developer wants to get it wrong on the GBI rating. 

Factors Considered in the Green Building Index 

When GBI was developed, it became an essential pillar of Malaysia's growing focus on sustainability. This is why it has received a lot of support, and neighboring countries are now looking forward to borrowing the rating model. What exactly does GBI factor? The index looks at the building features and design elements, including the following: 

  1. Energy Efficiency 

This parameter measures how a building project cuts down greenhouse gasses (GHG) by lowering the demand. There are a number of methods that building designers, owners, or institutions can use to improve efficiency. 

  1. Building Orientation

Building orientation is one of the commonly employed methods of enhancing efficiency. To ensure that a building uses less energy for lighting the rooms, it can be designed to allow sun rays to reach most rooms. This method works well in Malaysia because it receives sun radiation most days of the year. 

  1. Installing CONTINEWM In HVAC Systems

Another method of improving energy efficiency is installing CONTINEWM in the HVAC system. In most buildings, HVAC systems take up the bulk of the energy bills. This can easily scare away investors because homeowners and companies want to pay less for utility bills. So, how does CONTINEWM work in the HVAC system? 

When any air conditioning system is working, the moving parts generate positive electrostatic charges that cause resistance to airflow. This causes the HVAC system to work harder, lowering energy efficiency. CONTINEWM works by releasing negative charges that help to clear stubborn positive charges. The overall impact is a smooth flow of air because of limited resistance and higher energy efficiency

You will also love CONTINEWM because it is cheap, easy to install, and requires little to no maintenance. 

  1. Installing Lighting Management System

One of the causes of poor energy efficiency in buildings, especially offices and hotels, is lamps being left on when not in use. Imagine a company with a dozen rooms and all of them being left on over the weekend when no one is there. A lot of energy would be lost, but you can avoid such a problem by installing smart lighting management systems. 

The management system uses sensors to note when rooms are not occupied and then turn off the lamps. This means that you will not have to worry that the guest rooms, offices, or other spaces will be left with lights on because occupiers forgot to switch them off. Even when one of the officers, perhaps the accountant, wants to work over the weekend, the sensors will switch off the other unoccupied rooms. 

  1. Materials and Resources Used in a Building 

Materials and resources are used in the Green Building Index (GBI) to establish if they are eco-friendly. GBI ratings will be higher if the project uses materials that are sourced locally, especially near the construction site. This principle is based on the fact that materials bought locally help to reduce the emissions that could have been released during transport if they were acquired from far away destinations. 

A building that uses recycled materials also scores highly in the GBI rating. With recycled materials, it means that their utility is extended, helping to reduce the pressure on natural resources. For example, recycling wooden materials, whether for making doors or designing some sections of the house, means that trees that could have been cut will be saved.

The Green Building Index (GBI) also puts a lot of weight on the safety of the materials used. Although Malaysia has banned harmful materials, such as asbestos, there are others, such as lead, which is introduced through paints. Therefore, your building has to prove that the buildings will not result in any harm to the users, not just now but years down the line. 

  1. Indoor Air Quality 

As we pointed out, the concept of sustainability requires that the leadership of companies and organizations factor in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) impacts. In line with this, GBI puts a lot of emphasis on the people who will use the building. This is why it insists that indoor air quality must be of the highest possible standard. 

The index measures a building's strategies adopted for indoor acoustics and air quality. Visual and thermal comfort attributes are also factored in to help improve the health of the occupiers. Developers use glass panels that help to reduce discomfort, while insulations can help to clear external noise, especially when the buildings are facing traffic areas in cities like Kuala Lumpur. 

CONTINEWM also comes in handy in clearing away harmful particles and odors from air being pushed into the atmosphere. CONTINEWM stands out because it is easy to use, yet it delivers huge impacts in promoting sustainability. All that you need is to fit it on the front part of the heat exchanger. For greater efficiency in promoting air quality, make sure that the house is seal-proof, and that the other parts of the HVAC system are working optimally. 

  1. Water Use 

Although water occupies 70% of the earth's surface, it is sad that billions of people do not have clean and safe water for drinking. This is why the little that is available should be conserved, and the best way to achieve this is by reducing water use. The Green Building Index (GBI) also checks on the water use of a building when rating it in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, and other regions. 

When designing or improving a building, you should look for advanced methods to cut down water use. Some good examples include installing low-flow showerheads and intelligent faucets. The faucets are fitted with sensors that make them sense when no one is on the sink. This means that you will never have to worry that an employee or guest forgot to turn off the tap, risking it running the entire night or weekend. 

Malaysia has done impressively in trying to make its buildings green. This is why Kuala Lumpur gets accolades from all over the world for its architectural marvels that are all inspired by creativity and focus on sustainability. In addition to the above initiatives to improve energy efficiency and air quality, GBI should also encourage sustainability training with Climate Fresk to help them promote innovation at different levels. The experts at Climate Fresk can help to improve energy efficiency and ESG reporting for real estate companies.