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Working in Eco-Luxury: Malaysia's Green Commercial Architecture

Blog post   •   Mar 13, 2015 08:00 +08

Luxury coupled with sustainability are the hallmarks of office developments in Malaysia today. The trend began with modestly sized government office buildings, but newer commercial high-rise developments are now taking centre stage. (Image Source: Flickr)

Green building, while currently on the rise, was not an important consideration for developers in Malaysia until 2009, when the Malaysian government established the Green Building Index (GBI) Rating. While aware of the environmental benefits of green building, the initial cost of building eco-friendly was considered too high for architects and builders before, with sustainable building materials costing more than non-renewable ones. As demand for green building has increased, however, falling prices in sustainable building materials have changed this mindset.

The country has thus seen a steady rise in environmentally friendly and sustainable property developments over the past six years, including award-winning residential properties such as the S11 House designed by Archicentre, and KEN Rimba condominiums by KEN Holdings Berhad.

The country's rising trend in green-building practices has also spread to commercial property, starting with the completion of the Green Energy Office in 2007, Southeast Asia's first green office building. Although modest compared with other developments that followed, it was the first office building in Malaysia to obtain GBI certification. Here's a look at a few others that are now the height of luxury working within the country.

The Diamond Building02_Workinginecoluxury.jpgThe Diamond Building, Putrajaya, Malaysia

The Diamond Building is the first building in Malaysia to receive a Platinum GBI rating and a Platinum rating under Singapore's Green Mark system. It is used also as operational headquarters to The Energy Commission.

The building design incorporates elements that not only make the building visually unique on the exterior, but also sustainable on the inside. Its glimmering low-e glass-covered façade angles outwards at 25 degrees, creating shade for the north and south walls and helping prevent heat gain. The building also comprises of rainwater-harvesting capabilities for toilet flushing. Combined with efficient water fittings such as dual-flush toilets, waterless urinals and water taps equipped with aerators, potable water usage is reduced by more than 65 per cent.

The Horizon03_Workinginecoluxury.jpgThe Horizon, Bangsar South, Malaysia

The Horizon is a large project located in Bangsar South consisting of 22 blocks of boutique office towers. Completed in 2011, all eight of the office towers completed in the second phase of building were awarded Gold GBI certification and feature a number of energy and water-efficient features, including:

  • Double-glazed reflective glass.
  • Motion and carbon-dioxide sensors.
  • Solar panels.
  • Rainwater-harvesting systems.

In addition to complying with green-building specifications, both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Horizon received MSC Malaysia Cybercity status for their support of information and communication technologies. The Bangsar South Village development, which includes the Horizon, was a recipient of the prestigious Malaysia Landscape Architecture Award (MLAA) in 2012 and 2013.

1 First Avenue04_Workinginecoluxury.jpg1 First Avenue, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

1 First Avenue in Bandar Utama received a GBI Gold certificate in May of 2012. The 25-storey office tower features a number of inclusions that qualified it for Gold certification. Notably, rainwater is harvested and used for a variety of purposes, including the provision of water for the air-conditioning cooling towers, toilet flushing and irrigation.

Said to be the first green office tower built in Bandar Utama, 1 First Avenue attracted attention even while under construction and is reported to have been 90 per cent tenanted even before completion. Aside from offering luxurious offices, Time Out Kuala Lumpur reports that the restaurants and entertainment venues on "The Roof" make it the place to plan one's "social calendar around".

With various green buildings forming the landscape of Malaysia, the country is setting forth green-building standards in Southeast Asia, enticing developers and investors to further utilise green building in both residential and commercial properties. As time passes and cost benefits are even more apparent, we can surely expect to see green construction and sustainable building continue to rise.