Green building technology in the context of sustainable housing affordability


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Green building technology in the context of sustainable housing affordability

  1. 1. International Journal of Engineering Research and Development (IJERD) ISSN Print: ---------X--------- ISSN Online: ---------X--------- 12 Download-> Volume 1, Issue 1 GREEN BUILDING TECHNOLOGY IN THE CONTEXT OF SUSTAINABLE HOUSING AFFORDABILITY IN MALAYSIA: AN OVERVIEW Lesley Metibogum1 , Mohammed Yazah Mat Raschid2 Faculty of Design and Architecture Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400, Serdang Selangor, Malaysia. ABSTRACT Sustainable or “green” building construction as interchangeably referred as fully integrated Malaysian construction industry. Stakeholders underline construction cost overrun as a major barrier in adopting the concept. It is therefore imperative to address this challenge in the context of Malaysia, amidst recent flurry of research interests and encouragement from government through many incentives. The study seeks to explore how green building can be more affordable to Malaysian residents. It utilizes a case-study approach involving content analysis of archival materials, publications of the Malaysian government and its agencies, and other secondary data related to the case-study, including available green building data and conducted interview on focus group comprising of architects, building authorities and real estate development agencies with involvement in green building. The approach examines the policies and classification of housing in Malaysia, it x-rays the development of green building technology, its unique challenges in Malaysian construction industry and justifies how the concept become imperative basis for proposing the application of sustainable construction to create more affordable housing in Malaysia. It offers suggestion to reducing cost of green building and concludes on the need for all stakeholders to fully engage in greater synergy on the future of sustainable housing affordability for Malaysian residents. Keyword: Sustainable construction; Housing Affordability; Green Building; Green Building Index; Malaysia. ISSN Print: ---------X--------- ISSN Online: ---------X--------- INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENGINEERINGINTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENGINEERINGINTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENGINEERINGINTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT (IJERD)RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT (IJERD)RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT (IJERD)RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT (IJERD) Volume 1, Issue 1 July - August (2013) Pages: 12-29 ResearchResearchResearchResearch PaperPaperPaperPaper Open AccessOpen AccessOpen AccessOpen Access
  2. 2. International Journal of Engineering Research and Development (IJERD) ISSN Print: ---------X--------- ISSN Online: ---------X--------- 13 Download-> Volume 1, Issue 1 1.0 INTRODUCTION The recent economic down tone has an adverse effect on the building material, highly skilled manpower and equipment in the building industry people; construction is fast becoming expensive and if not tackled vehemently might render prospective tenants and building owners homeless. Developing a sustainable affordable approach to housing challenge is not only a global issue but a major concern especially in developing countries. According to Chan (2010) Malaysia has undergone rapid economic growth since 70s while in 1996, the Malaysian economy expanded at a more sustainable pace, following a period of rapid expansion in the last eight years. The gross domestic product (GDP) in 1996 registered a slower growth of 8.5% when compared with the 1995 figure which had a growth rate of 9.6%. The key sector that contributes to the continuous growth is manufacturing, which recorded a double-digit growth, while the service and construction sectors are also expected to perform better than the national average growth (Asia Construct Malaysia) further to the growth of the GDP, the nominal gross national product (GNP) has also continued to increase by 13.1% (RM 235.3 billion) in 1996 with the per capita income rose by 10.5% to reach RM11, 118.00 (Chan, 2001). The choice of the study area was based on the fact that, Malaysian Government identified housing as basic human need and one of the important components in urban economy. The Malaysian prime minister and also finance minister in the 2010 Budget Speech, emphasised on the efforts to increase home ownership among the people ( Similarly, according to the 10th Malaysian Plan, the government also give focus to developing of 78,000 affordable houses and RM500 million funds to recover housing projects (Kerajaan Malaysia Bajet, 2010). In addition, Malaysia has come into fresh limelight through several government initiatives and private sector in green building development and recent flurry of research interests, as well as the growing need to appreciate the wider implications of the concept as a unique feature of contemporary urban change in the developing countries. The study has become imperative a previous research on affordable housing in Malaysia focused only on conventional buildings. There are no policy and criteria for classifying affordable green buildings that can be used by the construction industry rather for most research on green building in Malaysia concentrates on technological issues for high performance “green buildings” and energy efficient non-residential buildings. Not only that, judging from current statistic of GBI certified green buildings in Malaysia as shown table 1.0 where only 37 residential buildings out of a total of 99 certified buildings have received green building rating and most green projects are still in the design stages. Table: 1.0 Current status of GBI building certification /Facilitators in Malaysia Source:( RNC NRNC NREB INC IEB 37 55 4 2 1
  3. 3. International Journal of Engineering Research and Development (IJERD) ISSN Print: ---------X--------- ISSN Online: ---------X--------- 14 Download-> Volume 1, Issue 1 2.0 METHODOLOGY The research method adopted is a case-study approach involving content analysis of archival materials, publications of the Malaysian government and its agencies, and other secondary data related to the case-study, including available green building data. These research techniques were complemented by a review of literature on Sustainable development, sustainability in construction and affordable housing. The data analysis provides the evidence that justify how the affordable green building has become imperative by conducting interview on focus group comprising of architects, building authority and real estate development agents with involvement in green building. 3.0 LITERATURE REVIEW To attain the aim of this paper, literature was reviewed along specific scopes or activities in sustainable development, sustainability in construction and an overview of housing affordability. 3.1 Sustainable Development Sustainable development is about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (WCED, 1987). Consideration of a greater environmental comfort within the framework of sustainable development has been accepted by many governments, businesses, organisations and individuals (Ofori, Briffett, Gang, & Ranasinghe, 2000).The “triple-bottom line” (economic, social, and environmental) is a simplified way to categorize sustainability to three primary components (Robins, 2006), sustainable development addresses three major areas; i. People living today are entitled to justice and equal rights; ii. Environmental degeneration must be alleviated or eliminated; and iii. Future generations must not be impoverished as a result of current action (Robins, 2006). Sustainable development is mainly associated with the achievement of increased techno- economic growth coupled with the preservation of the natural capital that is comprised of environmental and natural resources. The concept requires the development of enlightened institutions and infrastructure and appropriate management of risks, uncertainties, and knowledge imperfections to assure intergenerational equity, intra-generational equity, and conservation of the ability of earth's natural systems to serve humankind (Sage, 1998). 3.2 Sustainability in Construction Sustainable construction on the other side can be defined as a construction process which incorporates the basic themes of sustainable development (Parkin, 2000; Chaharbaghi & Willis, 1999; and Sage, 1998). It is about the responsibility of the construction stakeholders to design, develop, construct and manage a project in a way that minimises negative impacts on the environment and society (Abidin et al., 2013).Similarly, Majdalani et al., (2005) defines sustainable construction as a way for the building industry to move towards achieving development, taking into account environmental, socio-economic and cultural issues. Their study explores environmentally and economically sound design and
  4. 4. International Journal of Engineering Research and Development (IJERD) ISSN Print: ---------X--------- ISSN Online: ---------X--------- 15 Download-> Volume 1, Issue 1 development techniques to ensure that buildings and infrastructure are sustainable, healthy and affordable. However, they analyzed and recommended how to learn from socially responsible companies and how to improve the overall sustainable development of the construction industry. Sustainable buildings are considered a step toward being green. Sustainability is measured in three interdependent dimensions: environmental stewardship, economic prosperity, and social responsibility; referred to as the triple bottom line. Social responsibility involves providing healthy communities and creating a safe work culture According to Kats (2003), green or sustainable buildings are sensitive to Environment; Resource & energy consumption; Impact on people (quality and healthiness of work environment); Financial impact (cost-effectiveness from a full financial cost-return perspective); and the world at large (a broader set of issues, such as ground water recharge and global warming, that a government is typically concerned about). Sustainable construction supports the triple-bottom line by embracing the following objectives (DETR, 2000, p. 8:(Frost and Sullivan, 2008):being more profitable and more competitive; delivering buildings and structures that provide greater satisfaction, well-being and value to customers and users;respecting and treating its stakeholders more fairly;enhancing and better protecting the natural environment; and minimizing its impact on the consumption of energy (especially carbon-based energy) and natural resources(DETR, 2000, p. 8).This process would bring environmental responsibility, social awareness, and economic profitability objectives to the fore in the built environment and facilities for the wider community (Langston & Ding, 2001; Miyatake, 1996; Raynsford, 2000; Chen & Chambers, 1999). Similarly, in the United Kingdom UK, Government’s strategy for more sustainable construction (DETR, 2000), key factors for action by the construction industry by widening the basic themes were sugessted. These include design for minimum waste; lean construction; minimise energy in construction and use; do not pollute; preserve and enhance biodiversity; conserve water resources; respect people and local environment; and set targets, monitor and report, in order to benchmark performance (Raynsford, 2000; Langston & Ding, 2001; Miyatake, 1996; Addis & Talbot, 2001; Ofori et al., 2000; Cole, 2000). The experiences from some leading construction companies have shown that there are strong business benefits for more sustainable construction (WS Atkins, 2001). The concept of sustainability in building and construction according to Abidin, (2009) has initially focused on issues of limited resources especially energy, and on how to reduce impacts on the natural environment with emphasis on technical issues such as materials, building components, construction technologies and energy related design concepts. Sustainable construction is seen as a way for the construction industry to contribute to the effort to achieve sustainable development. Abidin and Pasquire (2005)interpreted the principles of sustainability within construction industry as including:Showing concern for people by ensuring they live in a healthy, safe and productive built environment and in harmony with nature; Safeguarding the interests of future generations while at the same time, meeting today's needs; Evaluating the benefits and costs of the project to society and environment; Minimizing damage to the environmental and its resources; Improving the quality of buildings and services and promote social cohesiveness; Using technology and
  5. 5. International Journal of Engineering Research and Development (IJERD) ISSN Print: ---------X--------- ISSN Online: ---------X--------- 16 Download-> Volume 1, Issue 1 expert knowledge to seek information and in improving project efficiency and effectiveness (Abidin and Pasquire,2005) 3.3 An Overview of Housing Affordability Affordability is not a characteristic of housing but a characteristic of a housing service as it relates to ability and the desire of consumers to pay for it (Yang and Shen, 2008). Hulchanski, (1995) refers to “housing affordability” commonly used when examining housing-related difficulties in terms of individual households. Kutty (2005) presents that, Affordability is frequently interpreted as the relationship between household income (or, more generally, means) and housing expenditure; housing is affordable if expenditure relative to income is reasonable or moderate; it is commonly measured in terms of the ratio of housing costs to income (also known as rent burden or owner cost burden). Over time, thresholds of the housing cost to income ratio have been set at 25%, 30%, 40%, and 50% (Kutty, 2005). Affordability is concerned with securing some given standard of housing (or different standards) at a price or a rent which does not impose, in the eyes of some third party (usually government), an unreasonable burden on household incomes (Hancock, 1993, p. 129).However, the concept has been consistently referred to in the UK and the United State of America, USA since the 1960s and 1980s, although notably with different policy purposes (Hui, 2001). The UK uses the housing affordability concept based on the premise of assisting households who are in real need of housing provision whilst moving towards a market- oriented system of housing provision while in contrast, the USA uses the concept of housing affordability to measure what level of financial subsidy, if any, is appropriate for low and middle income households. Meanwhile in Hong Kong, a threshold level for housing affordability was introduced in 1987 by the Hong Kong housing authority in order to establish a measure for providing subsidised housing to households in need (Hui, 2001). However, in Europe Esping-Andersen (1990) and Ghekière (2007) developed a framework which helps to identify three main approaches to affordable housing in the Euro area: a universalistic, a generalist and a residual one. According to this taxonomy, Italy's approach falls within the second group, with the central government setting income thresholds to define social groups to which its policies are targeted. from the point of view of the housing delivery mechanism, it is worth noting that in some Mediterranean countries including Italy, Greece and Spain, direct public provision is still the dominant funding source in this decade (Whitehead and Scanlon, 2007; Ghekière, 2007; Lawson, 2010) 4.0 STUDY CONTEXT- MALAYSIA 4.1 Housing Affordability, Policies and Classification Malaysia as one of the most rapidly developing countries among developing nations has experienced accelerated housing and urban growth since the 1950’s. The housing industry is one of the major industries that contribute to Malaysian economic growth. The industry represents nearly 3-5% of Malaysia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provides employment for about 10% of the total labour force (Malaysian MOF, 2009).Housing has
  6. 6. International Journal of Engineering Research and Development (IJERD) ISSN Print: ---------X--------- ISSN Online: ---------X--------- 17 Download-> Volume 1, Issue 1 historically played an important role in policy development in Malaysia and the Malaysian Government identified housing as basic human need and one of the important components in urban economy. Before the independence, precisely during the British colonial period in the First Malaysian Plan (1956-1960) the need to ensure affordability of housing began (Aziz, 2007; Salfarina, et al, 2010). Housing serves as part of the government’s political strategy to achieve both social and economic goals (Aziz, 2007). It was believed that the City Hall of Kuala Lumpur and Ministry of Housing and Local Government included the Agenda 21 and Habitat Agenda objectives of the policies (City Hall of Kuala Lumpur [CHKL], 2000; Ministry of Housing and Local Government [MHLG], 2001). More prority was placed on increasing housing ownership, most especially affordable housing as an essential social need in the 60s while in the 70s until 2000, the concentration was shifted to providing housing for the poor and included the New Economic Policy objectives (NEP) objectives of restructuring income and assets between the different ethnic groups, especially Malay, Chinese and Indian (Salfarina, et al, 2010). Increase in house price has caused household to fill difficulties in buying house particularly in urban area. Furthermore, the increase in the property market especially in town has reached over 30%, will cause new worker miss the opportunity to own houses (Razak, 2011). However, according to the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020, the term ‘affordable housing’ includes low, low-medium and medium cost housing with a selling prince between RM 42,000 to RM 150,000 (AU$13,788 to AU$49,246) per unit. Affordable housing in Kuala Lumpur is targeted for the low and medium income population with a monthly household income of RM 1,500 to RM4,000 (AU$492 to AU$1,313) a month (CHKL, 2000) Table 2.0 Prices of Low-Cost Housing based on value of land, target groups, and typology. Source: MHLG (2002) PRICE/UNIT RM LOCATION (PRICE OF LAND/SQ FT (RM) HOUSEHOLD INCOME OF TARGET GROUP (RM) TYPE OF HOUSING 42,000 A Main cities & urban areas (RM 45& above) 1200 to 1500 Apartments (more than 5 storey) 35,000 B Big town & suburban areas (RM15- RM45) 1,000-1350 Apartment (5 storey) 30,000 C Suburban areas & small towns (RM10- RM14) 850-1200 Terrace & cluster 25,000 D Rural Areas (Below RM10) 750-1,000 Terrace & cluster
  7. 7. International Journal of Engineering Research and Development (IJERD) ISSN Print: ---------X--------- ISSN Online: ---------X--------- 18 Download-> Volume 1, Issue 1 However, the current housing policy in Malaysia based its focus on meeting the needs of the middle income groups, especially the lower middle income due to their small buying power. From previous research (Hashim, 2010; Wan Abd Aziz et als, 2010; Suhaida et. als.,2010). Hashim (2010) on housing affordability in Malaysia, the housing affordability can be influenced by various factors such as allocation for house payment or mortgage payment, family size and population, housing price, government policies and household income. Table 3.0 Summary of Malaysian Housing Policy: Source (Various five year Malaysian National Plan; Idrus and Siong 2008) Phase Period Focus of attention Strategies Key documents Policy analysis Colonial Period Before 1957 Housing for government staff quarters. Resettlement of people during communist insurgencies to the new village. Resettlement of people to Felda scheme. Provision of housing especially for low income people in urban areas. Construction of government quarters based on department requirement. Building of houses in the new settlements with facilities for more than 500,000 people. Planning and development of Felda scheme with the housing and facilities. Setting up of Housing Trust in 1952 Briggs Plan, 1952. Land Resettlement Act, 1956. Housing Trust Ordinance, 1950’s Government are the key player in housing provision. Physicalorien ted. Ad-hoc policy. Early stage of Independent 1957- 1970 Continuing the colonial government policies with minor improvement. Emphasis on housing especially for low income group in urban area. Private sector involvement in housing Implementation to follow the colonial policies with limited budget. Housing Trust involved actively low cost housing development in urban areas such as KL and Penang. Private sector to Concentrate on medium and high cost housing First and Second Malaya Plan (1955-1964) First Malaysia Plan (1965- 1969) Government as key player in housing provision especially low cost. Private sector to focus on medium and high cost housing
  8. 8. International Journal of Engineering Research and Development (IJERD) ISSN Print: ---------X--------- ISSN Online: ---------X--------- 19 Download-> Volume 1, Issue 1 provision. Improvement of basic infrastructure. New Economic Policy 1971- 1990 Eradication of poverty and restructure the society. Implementation of Human Settlement Concept in housing development Housing for low income group was given priority in national policies. Private sector plays as key player in provision. High rate of rural- urban migration. Private sector was responsible to built large portion of housing for people including low cost. Ceiling price for low cost was set at RM25,000 in1982. Government established state agencies. Encourage national unity in housing development New Economic Policy, 1971 Second Malaysia Plan to Fifth Malaysia Plan (1971- 1990) Private sector as key player in housing provision including low cost. National Development Plan 1991- 2000 Continue implementation of NEP policies and strategies. Human Settlement Concept with emphasis on sustainable development. To ensure all people regardless of their income to live in decent house. Private sector continue to responsible in housing provision for the people. To build more affordable housing especially low and low medium cost housing. Low medium cost as major component inhousing provision since Seventh Malaysia Plan (1996-2000) Emphasis on Squatters elimination by year 2005. Government created new laws and guidelines to control private sector. National Development Plan, 1991 Sixth and Seventh Malaysia Plan (1991-2000) Agenda 21 (UNCHS), 1994.The Habitat Agenda 1996 Private sector still play as key player in housing provision but government created many new laws and guidelines to ensure quality housing
  9. 9. International Journal of Engineering Research and Development (IJERD) ISSN Print: ---------X--------- ISSN Online: ---------X--------- 20 Download-> Volume 1, Issue 1 Vision Development Plan 2001- 2010 Emphasis on sustainable urban development and adequate housing for all income groups. Housing development will be integrate with other type of development such as industry and commercial. Emphasis on ICT Government as key player in low cost housing provision and private sector for medium and high cost housing. Continue effort to provide the guidelines and inculcate the citizen understanding towards sustainable development and encourage citizen to participate in housing development in line with Local Agenda 21. Encourage more private developers to constructs low medium cost house. Setting up Human Settlement Research Institute (MAHSURI) to encourage research and develop Vision Development Plan 2001 Eight Malaysia Plan 2001- 2005 Government as key player in provision of low cost housing provision. 4.2 Green Building Development in Malaysia Green building focuses on increasing the efficiency of resource use such as energy, water, and materials while reducing building impact on human health and the environment during the building's lifecycle, through better sitting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and removal (Green Building Index Home).It emerged as an environmentally beneficial alternative to conventional practices (Cassidy, 2004; Dooley & Rivera, 2004; Nobe & Dunbar, 2004). Green is commonly perceived to be the same as sustainability. Itis a term widely used at present to describe buildings designed constructed with minimum negative impact to the environment and with an emphasis on the conservation of resources, energy efficiency, and healthier interior spaces (Frost & Sullivan, 2008). Green building is an outcome of a design which focuses on increasing the efficiency of resource use- energy, water, and materials while reducing building impacts on human health and the environment during the building's lifecycle, through better siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance and removal (Frej and Browning, 2005). Green building technology requires a holistic top-to-toe approach taking into account each component and every step of the construction process designed to minimize the impact on the wider environment and surrounding community(Ng, 2008).Green building is energy
  10. 10. International Journal of Engineering Research and Development (IJERD) ISSN Print: ---------X--------- ISSN Online: ---------X--------- 21 Download-> Volume 1, Issue 1 and water efficient, sited to take advantage of existing trees and transportation options, and uses materials that are recycled, recyclable and non-toxic (Ng, 2008) and must meet the needs of the present generation without compromising with the needs of future generations(WCED, 1987).The Green Building Index (GBI) Malaysian rating tool for green building was developed specifically for the Malaysian tropical climate, environmental and developmental context, cultural and social needs and is created: (i) to define green buildings by establishing a common language and standard of measurement, (ii) to promote integrated whole building designs that provides a better environment, (iii) to recognise and reward environmental leadership, (iv) to transform the built environment to reduce its negative environmental impact, and (v) to ensure new buildings remain relevant in the future and existing buildings are refurbished and upgraded to improve the overall quality of building stock (Chua and Oh, 2011). It has been promulgated by Malaysian Architect Association and the Association of Consulting Engineers Malaysia (ACEM). Since its inception in 2009, it has been applied on a voluntary basis by developers and alike for residential and commercial buildings. Recently it has also been extended to the manufacturing buildings. The Malaysian government has shown its support through many incentives for the implementation of GBI. (Sood et at., 2011) The government also supports the green building initiatives through income tax deduction equivalent to the additional capital expenditure incurred by building owners in obtaining Green Building Index (GBI) certification from 24 October 2009 to 31December 2014, and stamp duty exemption for the first owner of GB.Green buildings will be rated as platinum, Gold, silver, and certified (Figure 1.0)The existing GBI as used in Malaysia is viewed to be adequate for use in the industry with the current situation. The existing ones are as follows:(Green Building Index Sdn Bhd) Table 5.0 Level of GBI rating for residential buildings (Source: Green Building Index Sdn Bhd) GBI Points GBI rating 86 + points Platinum 76 to 85 points Gold 66 to 75 points Silver 50 to 65 points Certified
  11. 11. International Journal of Engineering Research and Development (IJERD) ISSN Print: ---------X--------- ISSN Online: ---------X--------- 22 Download-> Volume 1, Issue 1 Table 6:0 GBI award rating criteria for residential buildings (Source: Green Building Index Sdn Bhd) Part Item Maximum point 1 Energy Efficiency 23 2 Indoor Environmental Quality 11 3 Sustainable Site Planning & Management 39 4 Material & Resources 9 5 Water efficiency 12 6 Innovation 6 Total score 100 Figure 1.0 Cross session of green building source: (
  12. 12. International Journal of Engineering Research and Development (IJERD) ISSN Print: ---------X--------- ISSN Online: ---------X--------- 23 Download-> Volume 1, Issue 1 4.3 Green Building and its Unique Challenges in Malaysia There are perceptions that green building may remain a niche market because the environment is still a cost externality in construction, because green products are prohibitively expensive and technically unreliable, or because environmental issues are unimportant to most consumers (Brick, 2003; Cassidy, 2004; Groonroos & Bowyer, 1999; Loftness, 2004; Seiter, 2005). The government’s intention to reduce energy consumption by 20% birthed the green movement in Malaysia. Commercial and residential buildings account for about 13% of energy consumption and 48% of electricity consumption (Al-Mofleh et al, 2009; Energy Commission Malaysia, 2008). Over the years, Malaysia has proven and developed an ability to utilize energy efficient strategies in reducing energy consumption and carbon emission in buildings, particularly its housing sector as the government holds a lead role in providing affordable housing to its citizens. The assessment and provision of an invaluable insight into the existing building stock’s environmental performance is the basis for Calculating carbon emission through building operational phase. The UNEP-SBCI’s Common Carbon Metric provides a protocol for measuring energy use and reporting GHG emissions from building operations (UNEP-SBCI, 2010). An examination of the greenhouse gas, GHG emission from the existing building consequently enables a performance baseline for policy development to reduce the emission in the industry (UNEP-SBCI, 2010). Abidin et at. (2013) gave four major enablers as technological, institutional, internal action and market influence which are crucial to create an industry which is prone towards sustainable construction as government's lack of incentive programmes and the slow progress in revising related regulations, in the cost of importing products because of the lack of locally-produced green technology while cost factor and lack of “urgency” are the core problems in encouraging internal action and the low demand by the potential buyers affects market influence.Esa et at., (2011)identified lack of awareness, from architects, consultants, and clients as the key issue to the slow progress and reluctance in getting involved in green buildings, Low investments and participation from the government and private companies in the green building movement, lack of competent local energy specialist to provide useful data and advice on green building systems and concepts. 5.0 DISCUSSIONS AND RECOMMENDATION Previous research on affordable housing focused only on conventional buildings. There are no policy and criteria for classifying affordable green buildings that can be used by the construction industry rather for most research on green building in Malaysia concentrates on technological issues for high performance “green buildings” and energy efficient non- residential buildings. The current rating system, the Green Building Index (GBI) does not address residential assessment for low cost housing; therefore little attention is given to promote sustainability in low cost housing development. Energy efficient and environmentally friendly buildings for Malaysian residents cannot be over emphasised. Going by the fact that these buildings’ capacity of saving energy, help in reducing maintenance cost of buildings, improve occupants well- being. It is a common perception that green buildings cost more compare to conventional buildings though research proved that it
  13. 13. International Journal of Engineering Research and Development (IJERD) ISSN Print: ---------X--------- ISSN Online: ---------X--------- 24 Download-> Volume 1, Issue 1 pays off at the long run. Though the concept has not got government full backing compare to Singapore, the government in a way has to encourage the integration of green building by initiatives like tax exemption, stamp duty. Despite these efforts, it is still not a common practice in Malaysia construction industry. It is believed that developers, building owners and contractors are not really keen at investing in the initiative due to cost overrun. “The problem in Malaysia is there are no laws yet. To say you must insulate the roof. In Europe for instance, all the laws are in place that means your glass must be double or triple glazing because it needs to the room cool and the walls all need insulation value. In Malaysia, there are none of these. Its only fire rating to prevent fire spread. So the new building bye laws coming up now has all these things and its part driven by rating tools- GBI so once the law are in place the cost will come up .So the base building cost will be negligible. So when you say GB is expensive it’s not true”LM- TBS 4 The above interviewee looks at reducing green building cost by enacting by-law which seeks to address green building in Malaysia. Researcher believes construction cost of green buildings can be reduced, while affordable green building can be achieved and presents following enablers to achieving affordability in green building projects in Malaysian construction industry from an architectural perspective. It is a way of carefully looking at integrated solution in green buildings. Design simplicity and avoidance of space generosity while fulfilling all technical and environmental standards allows for constructability. Involvement of green building consultant at the initial design stage will help to get things right the first time. This is buttressed by an interviewee: “Green building consultant has to come in early and start the design process base on the input of the consultancy you can really save money”LM-TBS 5 When building elements in a building are beginning to take multiple functions that is a clue that it requires an integrated design approach. Building science technology and operations are available to designers, builders and owners who want to build green and maximise both economic and environmental performance through integration of people, processes and technologies that deliver sustainable buildings (Paumgartten, 2003).This can be realised engaging a consultant at the preliminary work stage. “Green building consultant has to come in early and start the design process. Based on the input of the consultancy you can really save money. There are some additional costs because like I said, our benchmark is very low. Malaysian conventional building does not have energy efficiency, water harvesting, lighting, monitoring devices all these things cost more though the pay back is very fast. If it is a commercial building, the pay back might be 5-6 years on most of the items except solar energy. For solar PV the pay back is longer other than most items the pay back is very quick.”LM-TBS 10
  14. 14. International Journal of Engineering Research and Development (IJERD) ISSN Print: ---------X--------- ISSN Online: ---------X--------- 25 Download-> Volume 1, Issue 1 An interviewee believe that passive that, emphasis should be placed on passive design- natural ventilation and day lighting for low income low income earners to take advantage of green building ownership. “To make it affordable is a long process, ii requires to bias towards a passive design approach. I am not against solar cell as such; for now, green building is only affordable by rich and high earner in the society. We have to be very critical and have to justifiable. Like I believe the cost that you put in the photo cell cannot be recued within the building lifecycle” LM-TBS 2 Competence and expertise of design team members in sustainable design can practically reduce design process duration and project resources from clients’ expected value. Coordination and communication among design team members and green building consultants allow for a team spirit and more collaborative effort to reducing cost and wastages during design stages. A well-qualified green building consultant should be engaged from the design stage. The need for an effective and critical design consultation during the design process of green building cannot be underestimated. Green building consultants’ approach to cost effectiveness must be strong enough to critically examine how financially viable the design is. “ In order to do that, if the green building consultant is well aware of the rating system he/she is using, it is better to go for a criteria that is low cost or no cost at the first before you actually do one that will take a lot of cost. Then one can have a green building with a very low cost” LM-TBS 8 Conducting value engineering in order to reduce cost optimising available feasible alternatives and employ adequate measure to stay within budget reduce construction time. Green design should be capable of reducing waste. GBI consultants training course should place priority to training its members on cost management and even conduct fresher for its members. As the concept is still at infant stage in Malaysia, green consultants should be sacrificial in service fee to cut down construction cost and attract clients in a way to support the integration and develop more green building. “Green building does not mean it’s expensive. We have done a number of projects where the cost movement from conventional to green building is zero so I disagree that it is expensive” LM-TBS 2 Sufficient construction skill, technique and material amount to structural stability, durability and architectural pleasing sustainable buildings. Conventional buildings and green buildings have different design and construction approach. Professionals and artisans should undergo an in-depth training in sustainable building practices before they can be engaged in green building design and construction. A lot of construction wastages, expensive error and technical fall- out may be averted when competent and appropriate manpower and method are utilized while achieving quality and low cost of construction. Green building material is
  15. 15. International Journal of Engineering Research and Development (IJERD) ISSN Print: ---------X--------- ISSN Online: ---------X--------- 26 Download-> Volume 1, Issue 1 still being imported to Malaysia which in a way causing carbon emission during transport transportation, delay in construction and affect completion period. An indigenous building technology could help reduce the cost of material and transportation. Locally sourced materials should be readily available, durable and maintainable be an alternative solution to high cost of material.It was argued by an interviewee that green building is not as expensive developers and building owners believe: “I don’t think all the green building should cost a lot because in the United Kingdom now, the cost is about the same. It’s about the maturity of contractor or builder, if they see it as an additional cost, it’s going to be an additional cost. But it they see it as a way they can cut things, and optimise some things then. There is no reason except they put in solar PV, looking at different energy system. Everything is about optimisation, not optimisation purely for physical components but how to build sustainability. I think the gap can be reduced” LM-TBS 6 Several Research have been conducted on green building relating to awareness, perception, satisfaction, integration and rating system while only handful research has been conducted on acceptance and affordability of green building initiative in Malaysia. Discoveries of new ideas, products, principles, and improvement, in green practices will help to further embrace the concept in Malaysia construction industry. Research centres, scholars should take up this challenge and embark on investigative activities to make green building more affordable. Stakeholders’ strong support to researchers in their search for information will encourage and enhance more discoveries in the building industry. 6.0 CONCLUSION This paper has discussed the issues of sustainability in construction and affordable housing situating these within the practical and pressing context of Malaysia. It reviewed literature elated to sustainable development, construction and affordable housing in general and the unique challenges of green building in the context of Malaysia. The available data from archival sources, researcher-observation and the literature depict Malaysia as capable of causing a spontaneous evolution in sustainable building. The green building affordability in Malaysia is thus justified as imperative. Specific infrastructure, funding, lack of awareness, lack of skills (translating awareness into action), time and cost of pioneering new approaches.infrastructural priorities were presented as challenges in integrating the concept. Recommendations relating to reducing green building cost in the construction industry were offered. However, the effort of Malaysian government and private sectors through several initiatives should be appreciated immensely. The Malaysian construction industry and stakeholders would benefit from new ideas, experiences, and research endeavor emanated from this study. Green buildings are extremely complex system and solutions to the challenges require integrated approach. It is therefore expected that stakeholders will look inward and fully engage in greater synergy on the future of sustainable housing affordability for Malaysian residents.
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