Green Building Certification in Malaysia

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Green Building is very famous in advanced country like USA, Australia, Europe, Japan and Korea. These countries started to develop green building ratings since 20 years ago. However, Malaysia had recently launched of Green Building Index (GBI) but it is still early stage. This introduction signifies a new benchmark for Malaysia building and industry.

This research purpose is to find out the implementation green building certification in Malaysia. Three main research objectives are addressed: i) the benefits of green building in Malaysia. ii) the barriers of implementation of green building in Malaysia, and iii) the potential of green building development in Malaysia.

Questionnaire has been distributed to the different developer firm to get respondent’s answer. Throughout the surveys, the view of advantages of green building has been identified. Besides that, the barriers and solutions of implementing green building in Malaysia also have been identified.



1.1 Title

A study on Green Building Certification in Malaysia

1.2 Problem Statement

Green Building is very famous in advanced country like USA, Australia, Europe, Japan and Korea. These countries started to develop green building since 20 years ago. However, the recent launch of the Green Building Index (GBI) in Malaysia, it is still in the early stage. Due to the reason that green building is a new concept in Malaysia, therefore, a research was conducted in order to study on green building certification in Malaysia.

1.3 Aim and Objectives

1.3.1 Aim

To study the implementation of Green Building Certification in Malaysia

1.3.2 Objectives

The objective is to:

  1. To determine the benefits of green building in Malaysia
  2. To determine the barriers of implementation of green building in Malaysia
  3. To identify the potential of green building development in Malaysia

1.4 Background

Environmental activists have called us to ‘go green’ for years. The typhoon that recently hit the Philippines and a series of earthquakes that rocked Indonesia are also clear indications that we need to put much more effort into “going green” to ensure Earth’s sustainability. Malaysia has recently introduced Green Building Index; it is the first certification tool. The green rating system is to give opportunity for the developers to design and construct green, sustainable building 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.

1.5 Scope of Study

The research study will be focus on the implementation of green building certification in Malaysia. Aware benefits of green building, the barriers and how to make it successful and potential of green development in our country. The designed questionnaires will be sent to the company in Malaysia.

1.6 Research Methodology

In order to achieve the objectives, primary and secondary source like relevant books, journal, articles, conference paper and newspaper are important for information collection. All these information can be sourced from TARC library and internet website. Next, the questionnaires will be sending by postal mail, by hand or email to relevant companies in Malaysia. Figure 1 refers the flow chart methodology for the research.


2.0 Green Building Certification in Malaysia

2.1 Introduction

This chapter discusses on the definition of green building and follow by the benefits of construct green building. Then, the following will discuss about what the green building certification is and what the assessment rating systems in some developed countries are.

After that, this chapter also will briefly introduce the Malaysia Green Building Index (GBI) and also examples of success green building in Malaysia. Besides that, the barriers of implementation green building in Malaysia will be discussed in this chapter.

2.2 Definition of green building

There are few definitions for green building. The United State Green Building Council (2009) had defined green building is a high performing home that’s energy and water efficient, has good indoor air quality, uses environmentally sustainable materials and also uses the building lot or site in a sustainable manner.

Besides, according to Thomas (2008) green building refers as a building that provides the specified building performance requirements while minimizing disturbance to and improving the functioning of local, regional and global ecosystems both during and after its construction and specified service life.

According to Stacey (2008), in her article she defines green building is a home-building concept that uses design, construction and maintenance to create more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

By referring to The Star Newspaper (7 September 2008) defines green building are designed to save energy and resources, recycle materials and minimize the emission of toxic substances throughout its life cycle, harmonies with the local climate, traditions, culture and the surrounding environment, able to sustain and improve the quality of human life whilst maintaining the capacity of the ecosystem at local and global levels, buildings make efficient use of resources and have significant operational savings and increases workplace productivity.

So, green building can be summarize as also refers to “sustainable” or “high-performance” building, means having a significantly reduced impact on the Earth’s resources compared to conventional building. It is also means creating building that is healthier and more comfortable for its occupants, consequently enhancing productivity.

2.3 Benefits of Green Building

Green is an opportunity to use natural resources efficiently while creating healthier building that improve human, build a better environment and provide cost saving. A green building are designed to meet certain objectives such as protecting occupant health, improving employee productivity, using energy, water and resources more efficiently and reducing the overall impact to the environment (Aysin, 2000).

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By referring to Freed (2008), green building offer to help protect the planet’s natural resources. A green building has the potential to provide a healthier and more comfortable environment, improve long-term economic performance, incorporate energy and water efficient technologies, reduce construction and demolition waste, bring higher resale value and building valuations, use renewable energy to lower the cost of electricity and improve indoor air quality and occupant satisfaction. Besides that, all these benefits can save long term cost.

Some potential benefits of green building can include environmental benefits, economic benefits and social benefits. These benefits summarized as below:

Environmental benefits:

    • Enhance and protecting ecosystems and biodiversity
    • Improve air and water quality
    • Reduce solid waste
    • Preserve natural resource

Economic benefits:

    • Reduce operating costs
    • Enhance asset value and profits
    • Improve employee productivity and satisfaction
    • Optimize life-cycle economic performance

Social benefits:

  • Enhance occupant comfort and health
  • Improve air, thermal, and acoustic environments
  • Minimize strain on local infrastructure
  • Contribute overall quality of life

2.4 Green Building Certification

2.4.1 What is Green Building Certification?

Green building certifications were conceived to assist Architect, Engineer, Designers, Builder, Developer and users make to understand the choice that can be make the design of the building and to reduce the negative impacts of environment.

2.4.2 What are those available?

As Ting (2009) notes in his articles, there are more than 100 types of environmental rating tool available globally. Green building is very famous in developed country such as United Kingdom, United State, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan. These countries started to develop green building since 20 years ago. Ding (2007) named a number of assessment rating systems in some developed countries. The below discuss the existing well-known rating system.

United Kingdom: Building Research Establishment Assessments Method (BREEAM)

This Building Research Establishment (BRE) Program was created over a decade ago in United Kingdom to assess the environmental performance of both new and existing buildings. BREEAM assesses performance of buildings in the areas of management, energy use, health and comfort, pollution, transport, land use, ecology, materials, and water. Credits are awarded in each area based on upon performance. Buildings are rated Pass, Good, Very Good, and Excellent. BREEAM can apply to offices, homes, industrial units, and school.

United States: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

LEED is developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. It is consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. LEED rating system are available or under development for new commercial construction and major renovations (NC), existing building operations (EB), commercial interiors (CI), core and shell projects (CS), homes (H), and neighborhood development (ND). LEED provides a complete framework for assessing building performance and meeting sustainability goals. Based on well-founded scientific standards, LEED emphasizes state-of-the-art strategies for sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

United State: Energy Star

The Energy Star program is a voluntary government and industry partnership that seeks to make it easy for businesses and consumers to save money and protect the environment. This program for Buildings awards a plaque to buildings that achieve a rating of 75 or higher and have been professionally verified to meet current indoor environmental standards. By using the program’s benchmarking tool, a building’s performance on a scale of 1 to 100 relative to similar buildings nationwide is obtained.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong Building Environmental Assessment Method (HK-BEAM)

HK-BEAM is a voluntary system to measure, improve, and label the environmental performance of the buildings. The system has been used on 100 buildings to date. The system applies to both new and existing buildings. In the category of materials topics such as: the efficient use of materials (building reuse), selection of materials (renewable and recycled), and waste management (demolition and construction waste).

Japan: Comprehensive Assessment System for Building Environmental Efficiency (CASBEE)

The system is a cooperative development of academic, industrial, and government agencies. The system’s assessment tools include a pre-design assessment tool, a design for environmental tool, an eco-labeling tool, and a sustainable operation and renovation tool.

Netherlands: Eco-Quantum

The Eco-Quantum is the only method that explicitly and comprehensive based on life-cycle assessment. Asses the environmental burden of a complete building on the basis of LCA. It also compares the environmental performance of various measures concerning energy-saving installations, water-saving techniques, material choice, design and location. The Eco-Quantum is only applicable to single residential buildings.

Australia: Green Star

The Green Star Environmental Rating System for Buildings was created to set a standard of measurement for green buildings in Australia. The rating system is a voluntary national program that evaluates the environmental performance of buildings. Green Star Rating Systems have been developed for commercial buildings only. Each of the rating systems includes the following categories: management, indoor environmental quality, energy, transport, water, materials, land use, site selection and ecology, and emission. Each category contains credits awarded based on achieving the required level in the building. Credits in the materials category are awarded for providing storage for recycling waste, reuse of facade, reuse of structure, shell, and core, recycled content of concrete, recycled content of steel, PVC minimization, and use of sustainable timber.

2.5 Malaysia Green Building Index (GBI)

After some studies in different green building rating schemes around the globe, Malaysia set up a rating scheme to suit the local market; it is called Green Building Index (GBI). Malaysian GBI is an environmental rating system for buildings developed by Green Building Index Sdn Bhd under the supervision of the Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) and Association of Consulting Engineers Malaysia (ACEM).The Malaysia GBI was first introduced in January this year and launched in May 2009. This introduction signifies a new benchmark for the Malaysia building and industry.

2.5.1 What is GBI?

According to Chin (2009), the GBI is Malaysia’s industry recognized green rating tool for building and it is intended to promote sustainability in the built environment and raise awareness among Developers, Architect, Engineers, Planners, Designers, Contractors and Public about the environmental issues and our responsibility to the future generations.

GBI rating tool gives an opportunity for developers to design and construct green building that would provide energy savings, water savings, a healthier indoor environment, better connectivity to public transport and adoption of recycling and greenery for the projects and reduce impact of environment.

GBI will be the only rating tool for the tropical zones other than Singapore Government’s GREENMARK. Besides that, GBI is expected to be applied to new buildings in Malaysia.

2.5.2 GBI Rating System

Referring to Chen (2009), the projects or building would be assessed and rated based on six keys criteria. These criteria will be discussed as follow:-

  • Energy Efficiency
  • Indoor Environmental Quality
  • Sustainable Site Planning & Management
  • Material and Resources
  • Water Efficiency
  • Innovation Energy Efficiency

Use of renewable energy, lighting zoning and low energy consumption Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)

Mould and air pollutants prevention, thermal comfort, natural lighting. These will involve the use of low volatile organic compounds-free paints and formaldehyde-free composite wood, particle boards and plywood. Sustainable Site and Management

site selection with planned access to public transport, community services, open spaces and landscaping, redevelopment of existing sites and Brown fields (abandoned land or former industrial sites), avoidance of environmentally sensitive sites, construction management (proper earthworks and pollution control) and storm water management Materials and Resources

Use of environment-friendly, recycled materials and sustainable timber; storage and collection of recyclables; construction waste management; and reuse of construction formwork Water Efficiency

Rainwater harvesting, water recycling and water-saving fittings Innovation

Innovative design and initiatives

2.5.3 GBI Rating Tools

The rating system is comprised of two separate tools, namely the GBI Residential and Non-Residential respectively. GBI Residential

The GBI Residential Rating tool evaluates the sustainable aspects of residential buildings. This includes linked houses, apartments, condominiums, townhouses, semi-detached and bungalows.

This tool places more emphasis on sustainable site planning & management, followed by energy efficiency. This serves to encourage developers and home owners to consider the environmental quality of homes and their inhabitants through better site selection, provisions of public transport access, increased community services and connectivity, as well as improved infrastructure.

Such achievement will help reduce the negative impact to the environment and create a better and safer place for residents and the community as a whole. (Chen, 2009) GBI Non-Residential

The GBI Non-Residential Rating tool evaluates the sustainable aspects of buildings that are commercial, institutional and industrial in nature. This includes factories, offices, hospitals, universities, colleges, hotels and shopping complexes.

Of the six criteria that make up the GBI rating, emphasis is placed on energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality as these have the greatest impact in the areas of energy use and well-being of the occupants and users of the building.

By improving on the efficiency of active (mechanical and electrical) systems as well as incorporating good passive designs together with proper sustainable maintenance regimes, significant reductions in consumed energy can be realised. This can lead to a reduced carbon footprint and also offers long-term savings for the building owners. (Chen, 2009)

2.6 Green Building in Malaysia

There are some success low energy buildings achieved by Malaysia government. They are LEO (Low Energy Office) building and ZEO (Zero Energy Office).

2.6.1 LEO Building

The LEO (Low Energy Office) Building located in Putrajaya, which houses the Ministry of Energy, Water and Communication (MEWC). The LEO building demonstrates a complete integration of the best energy efficiency measures, optimised towards achieving the overall best cost or effective solution, with a targeted energy consumption of 135 W/m2/year. (Lim, 2007)

Danish Agency for Development Assistance (DANIDA) and local experts had in cooperation with Malaysia architects and engineers optimised the overall design of the building and its energy systems for minimum energy consumption since 2001. (UNDP, 2006)

Characteristic of LEO building discusses as below:-

  • Most of the LEO building glazing windows installed facing north and south to minimize heat gain from the sun radiation before entering the building interior. This means that it can reduce cooling load.
  • The roof has been insulated with 100mm of polystyrene foam and the installation of a second roof provides shade to the building.

2.6.2 ZEO Building

The ZEO (Zero Energy Office) Building is an administration-cum-research office for Pusat Tenaga Malaysia (Malaysia Energy Centre), following the success of LEO building which hosted the MEWC in Putrajaya while the ZEO building was located in Bandar Baru, Selangor.

By referring to PV database (2006), the ZEO building is a demonstrator building which marked another milestone towards greater promotion and adoption of sustainable building concept in the Malaysia building sector. ZEO is the only such building in Malaysia that integrates the energy efficiency and renewable energy in one working demonstrator building. The ZEO building was designed to be very energy efficient, thus consuming very little fossil fuels with energy index of 65 kWh/m2/year. It was built on a concept which focused on the green technology innovation to minimize energy demand load, efficient use of fossil fuel via taking into account the environmental concern, the usage of renewable energy but without compromising user comfort and safety. Some of the amount of energy used by the building is counter balanced by the amount of energy generated by its own renewable energy power generation system.

According to Roxul Asia Sdn Bhd (2009), the super low energy characteristic is achieved by using passive and active energy efficient elements and renewable energy elements as follows:-

  • The design of the ZEO building only allows double glazing windows installed on façade facing north and south. The windows are consists of two pane glass which functioned to filter heat from the sun radiation before entering the building interior. This means that only cold daylight entered and giving free lighting to the buildings. Besides that, it also means that artificial electric light can be turned off during the day hence reducing the energy load of the building. Almost 100% lighting requirements are from this free source.
  • The building’s cooling system is unique because it is a combination of radiant cooling and air convection system. The radiant cooling and ice storage was charge at night and stored at the floor slabs and ice storage tank respectively.
  • The entire building was controlled with a Building Energy Management System where all building’s system operation is controlled automatically. The system also functions to monitor all energy consumption activities and energy generation in ensuring the building operates efficiently.

2.7 Barriers to green building implementation in Malaysia

The following points contributed to the lack of implementation of green building in Malaysia.

Lack of knowledge regarding green building

Green is still a relatively new concept for the construction industry in developing countries of South-East Asia like Malaysia. Hence the greatest barriers are the lack of understanding of the need for green design. Many

Fewer developers undertake green building projects

Many developers are not aware of the concept of green building and so are naturally fewer developers undertake the green building projects. Besides that, to build green building takes too much time to learn and design.


Client or developer unwilling to spend money because the initial cost is high although has proved that green building can save long term cost. The green building has its price – the costs of green building are expensive as compare to normal building.

2.8 Conclusion

To provide sustainable, green, or low energy developments is an important way forward for Malaysia. Although Malaysia has adopted some of these aforementioned measures but most are still at voluntary stage and needs further enforcements. All fractions of society from politicians, authorities, professionals, NGOs, educators, contractors, developers and the public at large must take concerted and swift actions to share the responsibilities to sustain our limited resources for future generations.

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3.1 Introduction

This chapter explains about the method that have been use to carry out this research, in order to achieve the objective of the research. Instead of achieving information through primary and secondary source like textbook, journal, conference papers, report and questionnaires will be carried out. Then the data need to be analyzed and presented in a form of table, pie chart and graph, so it is easy to understand and readable.

3.2 Research Methodology

The research will go through several phases:-

  • Identify the objectives
  • Literature Review
  • Data Collection
  • Method of Analysis
  • Example of calculation
  • Conclusion

3.2.1 Identify the objective and mission of the research

GBI is a rating tool to promote environment-friendly buildings for the future of Malaysia. Therefore, it is important to identify the important of green building, the difficulties and solutions of implementation green building and also the potential in the development in green building.

3.2.2 Literature Review

Literature review also known as secondary data. Secondary data is a data that we get before a research has been carried out. It is important to help us for better understand about the research. The information for the literature review can be achieve through primary and secondary source like textbook, journal, conferences papers, report and questionnaires will be carried out. Based on the literature review, we can prepare for the questionnaire in order to collect the primary data.

3.2.3 Data Collection

Process of collection primary data is one of the important phase in achieve the objectives of the research. The first step is to get response from the construction firm such as developer. This method is more practical, easy and the ideas from the respondent can be easily identified. Questionnaire

Data collection process started with the preparation of questionnaire form. It is important to get the response from the respondent. The questionnaire had been sending by post or by hand or email to the respondent. The questionnaire consists of 5 questions which are related to the objectives. The rationales for each question will be discussed as follows:

    • Question 1: Did your company involve in any project which is classified as ‘Green Building’?

Rationale: The purpose of asking this question is to determine that whether the respondents company had involving in the green building construction project. Besides, this question also can know whether in future our country will have another green building or not.

    • Question 2: In your opinion, what is the best to address the important of green building?

Rationale: This is rated question, is set in likert scales, which respondents need to answer the question whether is strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree and strongly disagree. This question is intent to know what are the criteria is the best to address the important of green building in Malaysia.

    • Question 3: What are the difficulties of implementation green building in Malaysia?

Rationale: The rationale of asking this question is to find out what are the barriers of implementation green building in Malaysia.

    • Question 4: What are the ways to speed up implementation of green building in Malaysia?

Rationale: The purpose of asking this question is to find out the solutions of implementing the concept of green building in Malaysia.

  • Question 5: In your opinion, do you think Malaysia has high potential in the development of green building?

Rationale: The purpose of asking this question is to find out the future green building development in Malaysia whether is positive or negative.

3.2.4 Method of Analysis

After findings have been obtained from the questionnaire surveys, an appropriate analysis and presentation of the survey results will be done in Chapter 4. Basically, two main types of analysis method are used. They are: Descriptive statistics method

Descriptive statistics are used to explore the data collected and to summarize and describe the data. They provide simple summaries about the sample and the measures. The results will later analyze and presented in a form of table, pie chart and graph to analyze the response in percentage and this is the simplest method of and it is easy to understand and readable. This type of analysis is used to analyze closed-ended and ranking questions. (Naoum, 1997, p103)

Question other than Question 2 will be analyzed using this method. Using Formula

The average index is calculated based on the 5-Likert Scale Formula as follows. (Tam et. al., 2001)

5-Likert Scale Formula

(5N5 + 4N4 + 3N3 + 2N2 + N1 )

Important Index = ———————————–

5(N5 + N4 + N3 + N2 + N1 )


N1 = Total respondents choosing “strongly disagree”

N2 = Total respondents choosing “disagree”

N3 = Total respondents choosing “neutral”

N4 = Total respondents choosing “agree”

N5 = Total respondents choosing “strongly agree”

This method is particularly useful to analyse the ranking or rating data which is normally uses integers in ascending or descending order. The results will tabulated into table form stated the ranking possesses by each option for the question.

In the questionnaire conducted, Question 2 will be analysing using the said method.

3.2.5 Conclusion

Put simply, the process of research methodology utilized can be simplified as shown in the figure below:-



4.1 Introduction

The study focuses on the construction firm in Malaysia. A set of questionnaires were prepared for the respondents. The respondents were developers. The questionnaires are sent either by postal mail, email or by hand to the respondents. The questionnaire survey takes months for distributing and collecting back from respondents. Unfortunately, most of the construction firms concerned do not show their co-operation in answering the questions surveyed, since there are only 20 copies out of 50 copies (30 by email, 3 by hand , and 17 by postal mail) collected back. Therefore, it equals to only 40% of the respondents replied to the said survey. For instances, majority of the top management in the company does not have time (either busy or other personal reasons) to take part in the survey and normally will command their staff to take over in answering the survey questionnaires. Besides, industry fatigue and unconcern is so obvious in the sense that they do not pay attention to academic survey conducted by student even though they have been approached to the doorstep or postal mail attached with return stamped envelope. Chart 1 below shows the feedback from the respondents.

4.2 Result and Analyse

Question 1:

Did your company involve in any project which is classified as ‘Green Building’?

All of the respondents have answer that they are not involving in any project which is classified as green building. This answer clearly to tell us that there are no green building been construct in Malaysia.

Question 2

In your opinion, what is the best to address the important of green building in Malaysia?

As shown in Chart 3, 60% of the respondents agreed that the difficulties of implementing the green building in Malaysia are lack of knowledge regarding green building. 30% of the respondents have the view that the cost of green building is expensive and 10% of them think that there are fewer developers undertake green building projects.

60% of respondents think that lack of knowledge regarding green building is the barriers of implementation green building. Green building is very famous in other country but not in Malaysia. There is only few green building in Malaysia thus there were less people know about the importance of constructing green building.

30% of the respondents in the opinion that the difficulty of implementing green building in Malaysia is there is

10% of the respondents in the opinion that the difficulty of implementing green building in Malaysia is there were fewer developers undertake green building.

Question 4

What are the ways to speed up implementation of green building in Malaysia?


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