Indonesia green building movement: bringing green to the people


It has been 5 years since the Green Building Council Indonesia (GBC Indonesia) was established in 2009 and initiated the Greenship Certification to assess green buildings in Indonesia. Up until today, it has given certification to 8 buildings and there are still 64 others being registered for certification. Meanwhile, in early September, Singapore announced their 3rd Green Building Master Plan, 9 years after their first initiative in 2005, with astounding green building growth from just 17 to more than 2,100 today.

These two facts show how the two most influential countries in South East Asia embrace the green movement. Singapore had started two preceding master plans, which focused on improving building infrastructures into more energy-efficient products, certified in their Green Mark Award. The strategy was successful, given the number of 2,100 green buildings equals approximately 25% of Singapore’s built area. On the contrary, Indonesia in their first 4 years achieved only 8 certified buildings. Economical reasons are believed to be a hindrance, as people tend to think that being green equals using energy-efficient yet ultimately high-cost technology.

“We forget that there are many passive methods of green building, which are more affordable,” said Steve Mahanampi, President of Indonesian Institute of Architects (IAI). In line with this, Gunawan Tjahjono, Ambassador of Holcim Foundation Asia-Pacific, said, “The numbers of green building in Indonesia is somewhat small. Problem is people see the higher investment value as a setback, although that 5% increase in investment could lead to a potential of 50% savings in energy cost.”

The Power of People

This situation relates closely to the 3rd Singapore’s Green Building Master Plan, where they set the main focus to the people, believing that building owners, managers, tenants and occupants hold a major role in green movement. Singapore has announced their new incentive schemes and new Green Mark Pearl and Pearl Prestige Awards, all set to drive people to take bigger responsibilities in how they interact with the building. “By proactively changing their energy consumption behavior and practices, tenants and occupants can be part of the solution rather than the problem,” said John Keung, CEO of Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore.

Indonesia has the key to successful green movement: the people. With an enormous number of 270 millions citizens, this initiative can provide a solution for Indonesia to take the next major step in green movement. But just how these people fare in the movement?

Holcim Foundation, a non-profit organization that holds the Holcim Awards, a global competition to acknowledge green and sustainable construction concepts and ideas, said that Indonesia has a massive potential to develop green concepts. “The enthusiasm is there. Last competition, we had the biggest number of participants from Indonesia, far exceeding other countries,” said Ranidia Leeman, Commercial Building Solution Manager of Holcim Indonesia. They also reach further to the inner society by developing a national scale competition in the country as well as holding the Holcim Awards ceremony in Indonesia. “By holding the award ceremony here in November, we hope that we can increase people’s awareness and better commitments in doing sustainable constructions,” said Ranidia.

However, while many people have started to acknowledge the benefit of being green, it is then government’s work to set regulations, to make things clearer. The green acknowledgement such as Greenship Certification will have to be improved and promoted to a broader area. In the end, maintaining these actions and bringing them to higher and better standard is essential.

Naning Adiwoso, Chairperson of GBC Indonesia, stated that the government must be more active in implementing more direct and strict regulations. As the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta was one to pioneer. “With the new Governor’s Policy No. 38, year 2012, all office buildings in Jakarta will have to be certified. We must make it mandatory here in Indonesia, otherwise it won’t work,” said Naning. This kind of policy needs to be rapidly developed, especially in other cities. Many foreign investors looking to expand their business in Indonesia has set their awareness of being green in higher standard, since it is proved to be profitable in longer term. “The problem is there are just few regulations about green building. The industry starts shifting their business to a greener way due to demands. Like hotels, who finally realize that being green helps them gain more revenue.”

It is no easy job, and it certainly cannot be done overnight by a mere handful of heads. As a movement, the government and its people will have to work together to achieve this goal. The work is massive, but they have all the potential they need. ( – RO)

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1 Comment

  1. yusufigushav

    11/10/2014 at 11:34 pm

    its sound good.
    the goverment always have an optimistic view as we see 2045 vision, i personally hope the government have more attention for green building development. this include research, politicy and public education.

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