Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Green Building

By Ahmad Firdaus bin Ahmad Fuad
Environmental Analysis Group, Malaysia

Green Buildings are eco friendly, reduce operating costs, increase marketability of the building and enhance the owners’ corporate image as they also increase productivity of the occupants and reduce potential liability resulting from poor indoor air quality problem.

Green building is the practice of increasing the efficiency with which buildings use resources — energy, water, and materials — while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment during the building's lifecycle, through better siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal.

Green buildings are designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by:

  • Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources
  • Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity
  • Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation

Studies of people working in green buildings have reported productivity gains of 16%, including reduction in absenteeism and improved quality of work. Essentially, Green Building designs incorporate positive environmental, economic and social elements that benefit all building stake holders, including owners, occupants and the general public.

Green Buildings, sometimes referred to as “Sustainable Buildings” or “Environmental Buildings”, are designed to enhance energy efficiency, promote renewal energy, reduce air-conditioning costs and improve indoor environment quality (both temperature and relative humidity), and in the process, enabling owners to reap financial incentives under the Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism.

While some countries in the region like India, Singapore and Australia have developed their own Green Building Councils and Rating Standards derived from the LEED in the US, Malaysia is still in the process of forming a Green Building Council, while even countries like Vietnam have taken a lead.

Malaysia needs to hasten the process to catch up with the world as many countries have gone even further.

Many countries have developed their own standards of energy efficiency for buildings. Above some examples of building environmental assessment tools currently in use:

  • Flag of Australia Australia: Nabers / Green Star
  • Flag of Brazil Brazil: AQUA / LEED Brasil
  • Flag of Canada Canada: LEED Canada / Green Globes
  • Flag of the People's Republic of China China: GBAS
  • Flag of Finland Finland: PromisE
  • Flag of France France: HQE
  • Flag of Germany Germany: DGNB
  • Flag of Hong Kong Hong Kong: HKBEEM
  • Flag of India India: LEED India/ TerriGriha
  • Flag of Italy Italy: Protocollo Itaca
  • Flag of Mexico Mexico: LEED Mexico
  • Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands: BREEAM Netherlands
  • Flag of New Zealand New Zealand: Green Star NZ
  • Flag of Portugal Portugal: Lider A
  • Flag of Singapore Singapore: Green Mark
  • Flag of South Africa South Africa: Green Star SA
  • Flag of Spain Spain: VERDE
  • Flag of the United States United States: LEED/Green Globes
  • Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom: BREEAM

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