Thailand: Green Building Is One of Five Main Categories toward Energy Efficiency

Thailand must lay more emphasis on energy efficiency in buildings in order to create a healthy city environment for its citizens, and to meet the goals of the 20-year Energy Efficiency Development Plan (EEDP), experts said yesterday.

They were participating in the “German-Thai Technology Conference on Energy Efficiency in Buildings in Thailand”, conducted by the German-Thai Chamber of Commerce (GTCC) and the German International Cooperation agency.

In the Kingdom, the building sector accounts for about 25 per cent of total energy use, especially commercial buildings, such as hotels, hospitals, shopping malls, supermarkets and offices, which consume between 30 to 70 per cent of energy within the sector.

There lies a great potential for energy savings, for example, through modern air-conditioning and cooling technology, and energy-management systems, according to the GTCC.

“In this connection, the Energy Ministry launched the EEDP in 2011 aiming to achieve a reduction of final energy intensity by 25 per cent in 2030. The building sector can contribute significantly to this ambitious but not unrealistic target,” the chamber said in a statement.

Besides, Thailand needs to create more green areas so that its residents can enjoy better health and more natural beauty, said Atch Sreshthaputra, assistant professor at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Architecture.

“You can see that Singapore even has a lot of green area. Singapore has 66 square metres of green area per capita. I mean, for one person, it has 66 square metres of green area. Can you imagine how much we have in Bangkok?” he asked.

“We only have 3 square metres of green area per capita. We are among the lowest countries in Asia in terms of green area per capita. The World Health Organisation recommends that there should be 10 square metres of green area per capita, so that we don’t have air pollution,” he said.

Stressing the point further, he added: “According to the new city planning code [for Bangkok], at least 50 per cent of open space must be green. If you have open space, half of the open space must be green area. The development density incentive ranges from 5 to 20 per cent more buildable area for green buildings. If you have a green building, you can have more beautiful area.”

He also pointed to the importance of five main categories that are crucial to energy efficiency in Thailand: affordable housing, urban public space, mass-transit park and ride, storm-water run-off, and green building.

Concerning affordable housing, a low-income condominium can have 20 per cent more buildable area if the sale price is 20 per cent less than the market price.

Meanwhile, developments that provide public urban space can also have more buildable area, said the academic.

As to the importance of mass transportation, he said: “If you provide free parking spaces near subway stations, you can have more buildable area. One parking space should be 30 square metres.”

“Rainwater retention is also very important. If you provide one cubic metre of rain capacity for 50 square metres of site area, you can have a 5-per-cent increase in buildable area. It is not very difficult to do, when compared to the other options,” he added.

Finally, developments that are certified green buildings can have 5 to 20 per cent more buildable area, he said.

Source: The Nation

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