Living In Green Buildings
As more and more developments are being built in Malaysia, well-informed buyers are also moving towards the trend of living in green buildings. While green building is the trend to stay, not all are totally understand what are green buildings.
Green building is more than just a building with solar panel and rain water harvesting system. They are the buildings that designed to ensure outstanding efficiency in energy use, water use, and sustainability of materials used in construction and can be applied to residential buildings or even commercial and industrial buildings.
In Malaysia, green buildings are accredited via the Green Building Index incorporated in February 2009, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Persatuan Arkitek Malaysia (PAM) and the Association of Consulting Engineers Malaysia (ACEM), to administrate GBI accreditation and training of GBI Facilitators and Certifiers.
According to the GBI criteria, GBI accreditation for buildings is separated into three tiers. At the highest level is the GBI Accreditation Panel, the independent regulatory body for GBI accreditation. At the intermediate level are the GBI Certifiers, consisting of experienced professionals that conduct the assessment and accreditation of project submissions. On the front-end level are the GBI Facilitators, professionals who together with clients and the design team to enhance their projects to meet or exceed GBI rating system requirements.
This is what the GBI rating system assesses:
ENERGY EFFICIENCY (EE)
Improve energy consumption by optimizing building orientation, minimizing solar heat gain through the building envelope, harvesting natural lighting, adopting the best practices in building services including use of renewable energy, and ensuring proper testing, commissioning and regular maintenance.
MATERIALS & RESOURCES (MR)
Promote the use of environment-friendly materials sourced from sustainable sources and recycling. Implement proper construction waste management with storage, collection and re-use of recyclables and construction formwork and waste.
WATER EFFICIENCY (WE)
Rainwater harvesting, water recycling and water-saving fittings.
INDOOR ENVIRONMENT QUALITY (EQ)
Achieve good quality performance in indoor air quality, acoustics, visual and thermal comfort. These will involve the use of low volatile organic compound materials, application of quality air filtration, proper control of air temperature, movement and humidity.
SUSTAINABLE SITE PLANNING & MANAGEMENT (SM)
Selecting appropriate sites with planned access to public transportation, community services, open spaces and landscaping. Avoiding and conserving environmentally sensitive areas through the redevelopment of existing sites and brownfields. Implementing proper construction management, storm water management and reducing the strain on existing infrastructure capacity.
Innovative design and initiatives that meet the objectives of the GBI.
86 to 100 points: Platinum
76 to 85 points: Gold
66 to 75 points: Silver
50 to 65 points: Certified
Amongst some advantages of living in green buildings include lower energy usage which translates to lower operational costs, has plenty of green space and landscaping and often comes with improved natural light and air quality.
It is important to note that long-term sustainability is often what makes a building last in the long run and good property management after a green building is built is also an aspect that must not be overlooked.
[Image source: Photo by Arun Thomas]
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