Pinning Down the Fundamental Meaning of Green Building

parliament building malaysia

The danger in trying to secure the green building certification in Malaysia is that, one can get too caught up with categories, numbering and achieving points.

But what is important, says Veritas Architect Director Lillian Tay, is understanding the underlying principles of a green building.

“If it is not possible to go all the way to securing the green certification, efforts should be made to incorporate as much green building principles, as possible. Malaysia has actually been undertaking green buildings for a long time. In the 50’s and 60’s, even as a young Malaysia or Malaya, it was green buildings such as the Parliament house, Stadium Negara, the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital and Angkasapuri,” she told Bernama in an interview.

Tay said these first green buildings, in terms of design principles, are very responsive to the climate, not overly reliant on air conditioning and know how to respond to the hot afternoon sun.

“These are the underlying principles for green buildings in terms of design for the tropics. We have been doing it from the start. It is just that in those days we didn’t have all the green labeling such as LEED Certified, GBI certified, Green Mark Certified,” she added.

She is of the opinion that around the 80’s, Malaysians somehow got caught up with looking at international examples, such as glassy buildings, which are more appropriate for the cold overseas climate.

“The buildings are closed up to keep the heat in, and we followed these type of models. But we actually need to start thinking about new kinds of buildings that can respond to our climate,” she said.

She also said that at present, there is a lot of awareness of green buildings, both among design professionals and the public.

“We now have a Malaysian Green Building Index, to actually categorise green rated buildings and which need to have all the criteria fulfilled. With the green building rating and green building certification, Malaysians are looking forward to having a certificate to indicate their buildings are green rated,” she added.

Tay highlighted that even the old “kampung houses”, were very green building because they didn’t depend a lot on electricity, with the breeze coming through the verandas and roof.

“We have a lot of wisdom in green buildings design already embedded in traditional buildings, and in the first generation Malaysian public buildings,” she added.

Tay said Veritas Architect had done a lot of green buildings, even before the need for certificates.

The company was also already looking at rain water harvesting 15 years ago for public housing and incorporating buildings with simple designs to deal with the climate.


Source: Bernama

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