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August 6, 2009 @ 11:50 am
Malaysia Focus Part 1: New Green Building Index

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Malaysia is an engaging juxtaposition of the old and new. The Kuala Lumpur skyline is dotted with old mosques and mud brick buildings alongside a high tech monorail and newer skyscrapers like the Petronas Towers (briefly the tallest building in the world). Anyone who has walked around the city though, could tell you that Malaysia hasn’t been at the forefront of environmental policy. I say this because the streets are filled with motorcycles and scooters whose two-stroke engines belch noxious, polluting smoke (two-stroke engines are cheap but use fuel very inefficiently and require oil – the source of the black smoke – to be mixed in with the gasoline to lubricate the crankshaft).

A 2008 study however, showed the architectural/construction industry was more than ready to adopt green building practices on their own but they lacked information, knowledge and experience. To address these issues the Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) and the Association for Consulting Engineers Malaysia (ACEM) collaborated to develop Malaysia’s Green Building Index (GBI) leveraging Singapore’s Green Mark as an example. Much like US LEED or other certification systems, GBI uses rating criteria to award point-scores that translate into Platinum, Gold, Silver and Certified ratings. The scores are developed during the design stage and buildings can be certified one year after occupied and every 3 years they must be reassessed. The criteria are Energy Efficiency (EE), Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ), Sustainable Site Planning & Management (SSPM), Material & Resources (MR), Water Efficiency (WE) and Innovation (I).

 
Points Allocation
Criteria
Residential
Non-Residential
EE
23
35
IEQ
11
21
SSPM
39
18
MR
9
11
WE
12
10
I
6
7
Total
100
102

The GBI was just introduced in January and Malaysian leadership has been very supportive. In May, Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor said that future government buildings would incorporate the green building guidelines. It was announced in this article that at the end of July the government would be establishing a green technology council for high-level coordination among ministries, agencies and the private sector and key stakeholders for effective implementation of green technology policies. Keep reading about the government’s plans

The Pusat Tenaga Malaysia building houses the government’s Green Energy Office and is the first GBI rated building in Malaysia.

gbi-office

 

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is chair of the council and said the move was one of five strategic thrusts under the National Green Technology Policy. The policy incorporates energy, environment, economy and social perspective. The additional strategic thrusts are:

  • Provide a conducive environment for Green Technology Development
  • Intensify human capital development
  • Intensify green technology research and innovation towards commercialization
  • Strong promotion and public awareness

To achieve these ends, Najib proposed the introduction and implementation of innovative economic instruments and incentives, continued promotion of foreign direct investments from green tech companies, providing financial packages and incentives for students embarking on green technology-related subjects, initiating R&D incentives and having the government lead by example by adopting green technology in government facilities.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting about Malaysia’s first internationally recognized green building. It is currently under construction in the Golden Triangle area of Kuala Lumpur.

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