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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Shaziman: Let's have more environ-friendly buildings

MALAYSIA must move towards having more "green" buildings, Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor says.

He plans to propose that all upcoming government buildings be "green", or environment-friendly, in their design.

"In future, I hope whenever there are new government buildings to be built, criteria like energy savings and usage of recycled water would be taken into consideration. This can bring down operations cost for the government," he told reporters at the launch of the Green Building Index (GBI) in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The GBI, developed by the Malaysian Institute of Architects and the Asociation of Consulting Engineers Malaysia, is essentially a rating system that gauges how "green" a building, be it residential or non-residential, is.

"It was initiated to provide the building industry a common and verifiable mechanism to benchmark buildings within the Malaysian context," said Serena Hijjas, a GBI accreditation panel member.

For now, the GBI will assess new buildings. Later, it will develop a framework that will enable it to also assess existing buildings.

Building owners, developers and consultants can apply to have buildings assessed for a marginal fee, Serena said.

"So far, we've done pilots on 11 projects, and more are coming in, so the take-up rate has been very encouraging," said Tan Loke Mun, another accreditation panel member.

Asked if the government plans to make it mandatory for all property developers to have their projects assessed, like in Singapore, Shaziman said it was too early to say.

"It's still at an initial stage. But on the government's part, we encourage the move towards green buildings," he remarked.

In Malaysia, the GBI will rate buildings based on six key criteria, namely energy-efficiency, indoor environmen quality, sustainable site planning and management, materials and resources, water efficiency and innovation.

A building will be assessed at the design stage as well as a year after it is first occupied, and then again every three years to ensure that it is well-maintained.

A building can be assigned a Platinum, Gold, Silver or Certified rating, depending on the scores achieved.

By Business Times (by Adeline Paul Raj) (Posted on 22May2009)

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