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One of the greatest contributors to global warming and other forms of environmental destruction is the building industry.  Worldwide buildings account for 33 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, 30-40 percents of the world’s energy consumption and 40-50 percents of raw materials used, according to the World Green Building Council.  

In view of the growing concern on the environment, many developed nations had developed their own green rating tools for development.  In Malaysia, the Green Building Index (GBI) is developed by Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM) and the Association of Consulting Engineers Malaysia (ACEM). The Green Building Index was officially launched on 21st May, 2009.  

The GBI will provide an assessable differentiation to promote environment-friendly buildings for the future of Malaysia.  It is a benchmarking rating system that incorporates internationally recognized best practices in environmental design and performance.  

Buildings will be awarded the GBI rating based on 6 key criteria: Energy efficiency; Indoor environmental quality; sustainable site planning and management; Material and resources; water efficiency and innovation.  

This green rating tool is intended to promote sustainability in the built environment and raise awareness among Developers, Architects, Engineers, Planners, Designers, Contractors and the Public about environmental issues.  At the same time it will provide opportunity for developers and building owners to design and construct green, sustainable buildings that can provide energy savings, water savings, a healthier indoor environment, better connectivity to public transport and the adoption of recycling and greenery for their projects.

In view of the growing concern for the worsening environment and depleting natural resources, it is timely for the Sabah building industry to adopt principles and practices of ‘green building’ as a step toward sustainable development.  

On Friday, 12th November, 2010, Dewan Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu (DBKK),  Green Building Index Sdn Bhd, and PAM Sabah Chapter had organized the last leg of the nation-wide  Forum/Seminar on the Green Building Index at the Shangri-la’s Tanjung Aru Resort.  The Forum was launched by YB Datuk Haji Masidi Manjun, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment.

The objective of this Forum is to introduce all the players in the building industry such as architects, engineers, developers and contractors on how to go green. Tax incentives and legislation which is in place to encourage the green movement would also be briefly covered in the Forum.  A total of 135 participants including Architects, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors, Government Servants, Developers and the public attended the Forum cum seminar.

Five distinguished architects and engineers, PAM President Ar. Boon Che Wee,  Ar. Dr. Tan Loke Mun (Past PAM president),  Ar. Chan Seong Aun (Vice PAM President and GBI Accreditation Panel Member, Ir. Looi Hip Peu (GBI Accreditation Panel Member), Ar. Von Kok Leong (MGBC President and GBI Accreditation Panel Member)  presented their papers and talks on MS1525, GBI Index and personal perspective on the environment and ‘CHANGE’.  

MS 1525 is a Malaysian Standard previously published in the year 2001 and it is used for reference and practice by professionals such as architects and engineers. Standards state the minimum requirements and are not meant to be a guideline for best practice.  The Seminar informed that most of the buildings completed and occupied in Malaysia do not even comply with this minimum MS 1525 standard.  

Beside the Forum, four building suppliers, Colourcoil Industries Sdn Bhd, Monier Sdn Bhd, ICI Paints (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd and Nippon Paint (Sabah) Sdn Bhd had been invited to present their ‘green’ products at the foyer during the duration of the Forum.  

PAM Sabah Chapter was also pleased to note that MGBC is intending to conduct the GBI facilitator courses here in Sabah.  With a pool of qualified facilitators and acceptance of the GBI Index, PAM Sabah Chapter intends to talk with the various government departments for the wider adoption of the GBI Index throughout Sabah.

The launching of the Green Building Forum in Sabah will be an important milestone in the future property development in Sabah. We hope that it will CHANGE the way we have been living and ensure better future for this planet Earth

Reported by Ar. Lo Su Yin

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