Green can be lean, says property expert

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Green can be lean, says property expert

Going green is not only about saving energy, but also using environmentally friendly construction and decoration materials and minimising waste from construction and fitting processes, says Suphin Mechuchep, managing director of the property services firm Jones Lang LaSalle.

green can be lean says property expert“Energy-efficient features should not result in a significant increase in the cost of developing a new building, as much can be achieved through good design and orientation,” she said.

Steve Chan, head of engineering and operations solutions for Jones Lang LaSalle in Hong Kong and the firm’s LEED-certified engineer in Asia-Pacific, says making an existing building green is also not as difficult as most people imagine.

He says sustainability does not necessarily mean high-tech. It just comes down to making every possible attempt to reduce the adverse impact caused by daily building operations and tenants’ activities.

“There needs to be a comprehensive green building management framework that drives the green behaviour of individuals,” he says.

Of course, being a green building entails different levels. Some building owners may also invest in retrofitting, which allows significant physical improvement of the building and its systems in terms of sustainability.

The US-based Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an environmental rating system recognised worldwide. It is managed by the US Green Building Council.

For an existing building, LEED-EBOM is the most appropriate rating system. There are mandatory requirements to comply with and the more credits a building receives out of the 110 available, the higher the LEED rating.

LEED requirements cover the following categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation in operations and regional priority.

Mrs Suphin says Thailand does not have its own green building rating system, so Thai developers have to rely on other standards.

For example, the Millennium Residence on Sukhumvit Road won certification from Singapore‘s Green Mark.

Thailand is looking at establishing its own rating system. Once the system is in place, we expect it to encourage more Thai developers to go green, as getting certified by a local organisation is expected to be less complicated,” she said.

In the US, she said, a LEED-certified building can fetch 10% higher rent than other buildings because of the electricity savings.

In Thailand, the number of green buildings is very limited as developing one often carries 20-30% higher construction costs. The Thai government should offer some incentives to encourage developers to go green, she said.

Green building is expected to be a major topic at the Building Maintenance & Asset Management Expo Asia 2010, which will be held from Sept 15-17 at Impact Muang Thong Thani. An estimated 300 exhibitors from 26 countries will participate.


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