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Green housing trends in Malaysia

Blog post   •   Apr 20, 2016 10:44 SGT

Image Source: Photo by Adamina/CC by 2.0

The green building sector in Malaysia is set to grow tremendously, influenced by these three housing trends.

Sustainable architecture is set to take Asia by storm, and Malaysia is no exception. Since the establishment of both the Malaysia Green Building Confederation (MGBC) and Malaysia Green Building Index (MGBI) in 2009, the initiative has gained huge momentum.

As of January 2016, a total of 340 buildings have been certified by the MGBI, with an additional 667 registered and waiting to be processed. Of these, 41 per cent are residential buildings, which points to a significant trend in Malaysia’s property market – the demand for green housing.

In the medium-term future, it’s very likely that sustainability will go on to be a major consideration in Malaysia’s residential market. Here are three anticipated green housing trends to look out for:

1. Smaller, smarter homes

As city populations continue to rise, homes will naturally become smaller to accommodate for the premium cost on space. For the modern homeowner, however, one thing to look forward to is that homes will evolve to become smarter and greener.

The smaller space will mean less operational and maintenance costs for homeowners, while the proliferation of advanced smart home technologies such as home energy management systems (HEMS) will help to ensure a more energy-efficient, convenient, and comfortable household. Urban residents will be able to look forward not only to a lower-carbon lifestyle, but also cost savings on their energy bills.

The smart home industry is still in its infancy in Asia, but it’s rapidly gaining popularity for its potential to reduce energy bills while providing a more comfortable indoor environment for residents. In fact, the market for smart homes in Asia-Pacific is estimated to be worth US$9.28 billion by 2020.

2. Elderly care facilities

Malaysia has an increasing ageing population, and it is estimated that the number of senior citizens (aged 60 years or over) will equal the number of young people (aged 15 or younger) in the country between 2050 and 2055. Thanks to extended life expectancy, this number is expected to rise further.

To accommodate this demographic, housing developments will need to include solutions for elderly care, especially since caring for one’s aged parents is a strong part of Malaysian culture. To help seniors maintain their independence and an active lifestyle, developments will need to be suitably equipped, and consequently green buildings will need to include facilities for medical care, therapy services and other amenities for the elderly.

For property developers, this also presents significant opportunities to highlight the health benefits of green housing, such as better ventilation to increase the flow of natural air, air filters to reduce the growth of mould, dust mites and harmful organisms, and careful lighting design to increase productivity.

3. Mixed-use developments

There is an increase in demand of mixed-use developments to cater to the lifestyles of younger homebuyers. These properties integrate multiple components – such as for commercial, entertainment and recreational uses – into residential spaces, transforming residential areas into vibrant community hubs.

The efficient use of land and infrastructure to create these mixed-use projects also make them inherently green.Connectivity to a transport hub, such as a train or bus station, allows residents to take public transport and reduces the reliance on private cars. Mixed-use developments thus not only enable a highly convenient lifestyle for urban dwellers, but also encourage a socially active, environmentally friendly and community-centric one.

With the MGBI achieving significant progress in increasing the number of green buildings in Malaysia, modern homeowners can look forward to sustainable housing solutions to cater to a comfortable and eco-friendly urban lifestyle.

However, barriers to growth for the industry – notably lack of awareness about certification requirements and the upfront costs – prevent these trends from being adopted at a fast-enough pace to truly revolutionise the green building sector. Ongoing education is still required to encourage Malaysian property developers to take the leap in producing more sustainable residences.

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