Three outstanding examples of sustainable architecture in Malaysia have received recognition at the World Architecture Festival in Singapore and are good examples of what developers and homebuilders in Malaysia should look to include in their next green-living project.
Rhombus ( image) is a luxury condominium development in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. Designed by Unit One Designs in compliance with Malaysia's Green Building Index, spacious verandas create cross ventilation in each of the units. Large empty spaces on the public floors create stack ventilation, allowing warm air to rise and be expelled outside the building.
Other green features of this development include rainwater harvesting for cleaning and irrigation and power-saving LED lighting. Rhombus was the winner of the prestigious Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM) Gold Award in the multiple residential high-rise category in 2013.
Designed by Architron Design Consultants, environmental sensitivity is the hallmark of this family home located in Kuala Lumpur's Damansara Heights. Rather than using landfill or heavy excavation on the steeply sloping block, the home was built on metal piers. To reduce the need for air-conditioning, cross ventilation and the clever use of convection currents (stack ventilation) to draw hot air out of the home were built into the design. In addition to providing the family with fresh vegetables, the rooftop garden also helps to insulate the house.
Designed by ArchiCentre, S11 House (image)is a study in sustainable design. Much of the 1,115 square metre house was built out of materials recycled from the house that previously stood on the site. The recyclable metal roof is painted white to help reduce heat absorption. Underneath the roof, 200mm thick rockwool insulation, reflective foil and a ventilated air space help keep the home cool.
The need for air-conditioning is further minimised by a series of wind turbines that provide stack ventilation. Thanks in part to these energy-saving measures, the 5 kilowatt photovoltaic solar panel rooftop array provides more than enough electricity for the home's inhabitants.
Building your dream green house
The ideal green house is a combination of passive energy-saving solutions and active new technologies. Passive solutions include shade and natural ventilation, such as cross ventilation, which draws cool breezes into the home and expels hotter air. Two examples of active green technology include solar photovoltaic panels to generate clean electricity and ingenious ventilation systems to provide ventilation when cooling breezes aren't available.
With a little help from nature and modern technology, any home can be turned into a beautiful, sustainable development. In Part Two, we take a closer look at some of the sustainable technology use in green architecture today.