Rehda launches green rating tool

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THE Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association of Malaysia (Rehda) recently announced the introduction of its own Green Real Estate or GreenRE — a green building and carbon-rating tool.

"With GreenRE, we want to give our members an alternative green tool. By offering more affordable rates and flexible measurement criteria compared with other available tools in the industry, such as the Green Building Index (GBI), we hope to encourage more developers in Malaysia, especially those who have projects outside the Klang Valley, to go green," Rehda president Datuk Seri Michael K C Yam tells City & Country.

The GBI has a points scale that is rather restrictive, says Sam C S Tan, deputy chairman of Rehda Youth.

"If one doesn't incorporate certain features or engage the services of certain people, your points drop. By comparison, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore's Green Mark has a more open framework that promotes a flexible approach," he explains.

"We also hope to comply with the authorities' request to us to go green while balancing the affordability factor in real estate."

With its elective framework, GreenRE will allow members to have more options in going green, says Yam. For instance, instead of incorporating renewable energy technology into a building, a developer could opt for passive design, he adds. "By getting the orientation, shading and positioning of the building right, we can cut costs on cooling."

GreenRE was launched by Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fah Kui, the minister of energy, green technology and water (KETTHA).

Since its launch, GreenRE has received numerous pledges from developers keen on participating in pilot projects, including Bandar Utama Development Sdn Bhd, Sunway Bhd, OSK Property Holdings Bhd, IJM Land Bhd, MKH Bhd, Paramount Corp Bhd and Ken Holdings Bhd.

The pilot projects will feature residential developments, most of which will be within the Klang Valley. A commercial variation of the rating tool will be rolled out in the future.

An advisory council is being formed for GreenRE with Rehda currently in discussion with representatives of government agencies, such as KETTHA,the Sustainable Energy Development Authority of Malaysia, the Public Works Department and the Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia. It is also talking to local and foreign professional agencies, including the Association of Consulting Engineers, the Malaysian Institute of Architects and several universities.

Rehda also hopes to invite experts from BCA Green Mark and Australia's Green Star to give their input on the development of GreenRE. The association hopes to have the first pilot project going sometime this year.

GreenRE will assess a building's performance in these key areas: energy and water efficiency, environmental protection, indoor quality and carbon emission.

Like the GBI, the first non-governmental green rating tool developed for the tropical climate in Malaysia, buildings certified GreenRE will have to be reassessed every three years to ensure they are sustainable, says Tan.

There will be four rating categories under GreenRE — Platinum (score of 95 and above), Gold (85 to 94), Silver (75 to 84) and Bronze (50 to 74).

The growing demand for green-certified buildings has prompted developers to offer projects with environment-friendly features. Local developers already use popular green rating standards, including the GBI, Green Mark and the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system.

This story first appeared in The Edge weekly edition of Apr 08-14, 2013.