GreenTech Malaysia is a not-for-profit organisation under the purview of the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water Malaysia. It has introduced the MyHIJAU Programme, an initiative aiming to encourage the adoption of more environmentally-friendly practices throughout Malaysia.
With a strategic vision to become a developed country by 2020, Malaysia has identified the construction industry as one of the key catalysts for the economy. Over the past years, the industry has contributed a steady 3% to 5% towards Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as highlighted in the Construction Industry Development Board’s (CIDB) Malaysian Construction Industry: Technology Foresight Report.
Sadly, in the property sector’s focus on meeting market demand as well as stakeholder expectations, it is unfortunate that, often, environmental impact is overlooked in the race to get property launches underway. It is especially of note that due to global economic apathy in recent years, many have focused on financial issues, rather than sustainability.
The concept of sustainable construction is one in which a property developer carefully balances financial and environmental factors. In many countries today, sustainable practices are encountering a gap between highly experienced developers as compared to the younger generation armed with sustainable practice knowledge. Malaysia is no different and despite the need for both to work in tandem, the gap forces a failure in consensus.
Choices must be made that more carefully to weigh long-term environmental benefits against immediate financial gain. Even as the government pushes the construction sector towards rapid urbanisation, it has at the same time continually warned the sector not to sacrifice the environment.
Indeed, a true quandary for developers.
Visionary developers take the lead
Despite the obvious challenges, there are an emerging number of developers who are beginning to look towards the Green Concept and adopt measures that provide features such as energy savings, recycling and greenery, water savings, as well as healthier surroundings.
One such project is Windows on the Park (WOTP) by Selangor Dredging Berhad (SDB). Windows on the Park is a high-rise development in Cheras that fully encompasses the Green Concept. In fact, the very design itself was based on placing the buildings only after a park was designed for the area. The other objective was to harness nature to provide maximum benefits to residents of WOTP.
Independent research and design firm Pomery Studios assessed WOTP and found that the design contributed to a 70% more naturally ventilated living environment as well as living space that would be fully lit by natural sunlight during the day. The enablement of rainwater harvesting allow resident of WOTP to enjoy reduced water consumption from main sources of more than 90%.
As a result, despite the current challenging environment, WOTP has been well received and close to selling out. According to a company spokesperson, purchasers are willing to “dig deep into their savings and personal reserves when they see value”.
On the other side of harnessing green to benefit residents, some other developers chase Green Standards, for example, Ken Holdings. Ken strives to provide optimal greenery in its developments, as well as adhere to specific standards such as in types of building materials. Extensive research is also carried out on the greenery involved in landscaping.
Older, more established developers do not seem to focus highly on sustainability, aside from discussion. The sustainability trend, apparently, is more popular amongst fresher up-comers such as SDB and EcoWorld. (Read our report here on how EcoWorld is breaking new frontiers.)
Moving forward with MyHIJAU
Moving forward, Malaysia is looking towards developing its own set of standards that can assist development companies.
Given Malaysia’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions, GreenTech Malaysia, a not-for-profit organisation under the purview of the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water Malaysia (KeTTHA) was formed.
GreenTech introduced the MyHIJAU Programme, an initiative aiming to encourage the adoption of more environmentally-friendly practices in the country. According to GreenTechm, the MyHIJAU Programme will promote the sourcing as well as purchasing of goods and services that are environmentally friendly.
The MyHIJAU Mark Programme (pic) was also introduced to provide clarity and address any confusion arising from the multitude of eco-related labels offered to businesses and consumers. Products with the MyHIJAU Mark provide Malaysian consumers with the certainty that internationally recognised environmental and ecological standards have been met in the manufacture of these certified products.