KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 — Architect and ecologist Datuk Ken Yeang said escalating carbon emissions, deforestation, haze caused by open burning, excessive waste production, river pollution and climate change concern him the most about Malaysia’s environment.
He wants to convince policymakers that green building practices are beneficial to the environment, the industry’s economic costs and both private and public sectors.
“Building’s operating costs can be reduced by as much as nine per cent, increase building value by 7.5 per cent and a 6.6 per cent increase in return on investment.
“Perception that green buildings cost more should be changed among developers, clients, owners and consumers.”
The green architecture pioneer and advocate is known for his innovative designs. He is also a recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture which recognises projects that elevate the standards of architectural excellence.
Asked what green initiatives should be adopted in government policy, Yeang said he would like to see the “implementation of green architecture with smart growth principles in urban planning and design”.
He would also like to see more green townships being developed which include planning and designing buildings that are more biodiverse, energy efficient, water efficient with zero-carbon emission and using recycled materials.
The future of green architecture and urban sustainability in Malaysia, according to Yeang, will be ecomimetic, where knowledge of the ecosystem is transferred to engineering and design industries.
“Buildings are able to integrate seamlessly and benignly with the natural environment at three levels — physically, systemically and temporarily.
“We will also see green building designs that harmonise with local culture and take into account the improvement of community health.”
This can be seen in his recently completed Suasana Putrajaya C25 project, a green building in Malaysia’s federal administrative centre that has traditional Malay songket motifs on glass panels and vegetative balconies.
Biji-Biji Initiative, Ohsum Mossum and Yeang also collaborated with Strongbow Apple Ciders for “Refreshing by Nature” — an interactive experience held at 1 Utama Shopping Centre — to help urban folk reconnect with nature.