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Achieving Green Building Concept Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 5340 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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According to Arnel (2012), a green building focuses on increasing the efficiency of resource use – 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.

Before green building is introduced to the construction industry, this industry has contributed some part of harmful to the environment in term of the usage of building material and also the operation involve in construction. This is supported by Batuwangala (2010), said that during the last 30-40 years we have been sensing the bitter experience of global warming, ozone depletion, resource depletion, energy scarcity, ecological toxicity, human toxicity, acid rains etc.

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Malaysia is no exception in green building technology in the construction industry. The example of building which is applied the concept of green is the Diamond Building, G-Tower, Space U-8, and 11 Mont’ Kiara. Hwa (2009) reported that G-Tower and 11 Mont’ Kiara received a Green Mark Gold certification (provisional) Award and Green Mark Certified Award (provisional) respectively from the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore.

Batuwangala (2010), said that green building concept, in broader terms, involves a building, which is designed, built, operated, maintained or reused with objectives to protect occupant health, improve employee productivity, use wisely natural resources and reduce the environmental impact. There are five aspects of green building concept that is need to be follow such as lot design, preparation and development, resource efficiency, energy efficiency, water efficiency and indoor environmental quality.

Turcotte et al. (2006) stated that the concept of lot design, preparation and development is thoughtful and efficient site design and development practices help lessen environmental impact and improve the energy performance of new constructions. While resource efficiency is designs and using resource efficient materials that can maximize function while optimizing the use of natural resources.

Next, energy efficiency such as a careful window selection, building envelope air sealing, duct sealing, proper placement of air and vapour barriers, use of solar powered heating or cooling systems will contribute towards an energy efficient building. In addition, the concept of water efficient included implementing more efficient water delivery system indoors and native and water retaining and drought resistant landscaping selections outdoors can aid preventing unnecessary waste of valuable water resources (Turcotte et al., 2006).

Lastly, in achieving indoor environmental quality, it is needed to educating owners with alternative environmental friendly products or systems. The advantages of applying green building concept in construction are potential higher occupancy rates, higher future capital value, reduced risk of obsolescence, less need for refurbishment in the future, ability to command higher lease rates, higher demand from institutional investors lower operating costs, mandatory for government tenants, lower tenant turnover, costs less to maintain and operate, enhance occupant comfort and health, improve quality of life, enhance and protect biodiversity and ecosystems and reduce waste streams (Turcotte et al., 2006).

Turcotte et al. (2006) stated that it is a timely necessity to educate the property developers, the prospective owners and the professionals in the construction industry on sustainable construction. The green building technology and concepts for construction industries is proven to be relevant and applicable parallel to the level of advance in technology nowadays.

Problems Statement

Nowadays, our earths are exposed to many unpleasant effect and impact towards environment and have insufficient natural energy to be consumed by the consumers now and for the next generation. Therefore, many newly technology are been introduced to minimize the problem same goes to the construction industry.

The green buildings are one of the solutions to overcome the issues. This was supported by Li (2011), when the construction industry is terribly unkind to the planet, it depletes raw materials, guzzles energy, and leaves behind waste and greenhouse gases.

The application of green buildings is to reduce the present of global greenhouse gases. This has proven when Li (2011, c.f. Jallendran 2011), says that ordinary buildings consume up to a third of the world’s resources, emit 40% of global greenhouse gases, use up 12% of its freshwater, and generate 40% of its solid waste.

While, in the other hand, the ordinary building cannot save energy consumption compared to green building. According to Yoon (2007), more than one fifth of present energy consumption and up to 45 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year could be saved by 2010, provided appropriate actions are taken during the lifespan of buildings. This will help mitigate the impacts of global warming.

To achieve improved energy efficiency in buildings, there was no need to use advanced and expensive high-tech solutions, but simple approaches such as smart design and flexible energy solutions (Yoon, 2007).The ordinary building are not enough save in term of wastewater. They take in water, use it and eliminate it, like all plants and animals. In urban areas, a city usually provides the supply and manages the wastewater, so most buildings are not exactly self-sufficient (Yoon, 2007). Therefore, it is efficient to practice green building concept in Malaysian construction industry as it gives a lot of advantages in order to save our earth.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of this research is to study the application of green building concept in high rise building in Malaysia. In order to achieve this aim the following objectives were identified:

To determine element of green building applied at green building in Malaysia.

To identify the effectiveness of green building concepts implemented for high rise building in Malaysia.

To identify the green building element that is suited for high rise building in Malaysia.

Scope and Limitation of Study

This study is related to the green building of construction sector in Malaysia and how to achieved green building for high rise building in the construction area in Klang Valley, Selangor. This is because, there are many high rise building projects in Klang Valley compared with other places in Malaysia as according to Hwa (2009).

To strengthen this study, contractors G7 around Klang Valley will be targeted as the respondent. These contractors will participate in the collection of information necessary for those who are more proficient about green building and high rise building.


The research’s aim is to study the application of green building concept in high rise building. In order to develop this research, the concept of green building should be studied first and it’s followed by the study of advantages of using green building concept in high rise building and also application of green building concept in high rise building.

Therefore, the research methodology was derived with intention to fulfill the research objectives and finally the research aim. The information and data collection are based on the qualitative method. Data will be collected using primary and secondary data. The primary data is collected by interview. There will be a group of contractors and architects that are experiencing in green building project to be the respondent for this research.

This research will only conducted in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur as this area have many high rise building.

Significance / Applied Value of The Study

The research is done to acknowledge consumer about the concept of green building and its advantages. This research also expected to represent the importance of green building concept in improving the quality of human life. These green building concepts can stabilize the ecosystem at local and global levels. This can be achieved by applying theoretical concepts that have been discussed in many literatures into practice in real project. This research can exposed on understanding that a green building focuses on increasing the efficiency of resource use such as energy, water, and materials. The outcome of this research is to introduce the efficient technology in building construction industry.


Data analysis

Problems Statement and Objectives

Developing Problem Statement, Aims and Objectives of the research

To determine element of green building applied at green building in Malaysia.

To identify green building element that is suited for high rise building.






To identify the effectiveness of green building concepts implemented for high rise building in Malaysia.

Figure 1.1: Diagram of the Research Methodology Approach

Research Structure

This research is divided into five chapters and each can be generally summarized as below:

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 1 includes an introduction and background of the green building in the construction industry. It also consist of clarify the problems statement, objectives, and scope of study.

Chapter 2: The Introduction of Green Building in Malaysia

This chapter is an introduction of green building system that applied in Malaysia to get rating from Green Building Index (GBI).

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

In this chapter, describe the survey methods to study the problem. Where, it includes the methods used to obtain information related to the topic of the study is made.

Chapter 4: Data Analysis

This chapter consists of the interpretation and analysis of the results obtained from the interviews.

Chapter 5: Conclusion

This chapter includes the study according to the objectives that have clarified in chapter one. It also states the general conclusion and gives comment and suggestion about the study.



2.1 Introduction

In this chapter, the concept of green building will be discussed in details. An important concept in approaching this dissertation is defining a green building. According to Karolides (2002), green building is a way of enhancing the environment. It benefits humans, the community, the environment, and a builder’s bottom line. It is about tailoring a building and its site to the to local climate, site conditions, culture and community, in order to reduce resource consumption while enhancing quality of life. Arnel (2012) said that a 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 buildings should be designed and operated to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on its surroundings.

The topic of this dissertation is High Rise Building in Achieving Green Building Concepts. Today, the high rise building seen as a mechanism to generate wealth in an urban country. The reason why high rise buildings are constructed largely is because they can create a lot of real estate out of a fairly small piece of land. Mansor (2011) says, the two main reasons people go for skyscrapers are either sheer necessity or to depict power and glory. And both are justifiable.

There are many definition of high rise building was created today. Hall (2011) defines a high rise building as a building more than 75 feet (23 meters) in height, measured from the lowest level of fire department vehicle access to the floor of the highest occupiable story. A height of 75 feet translates into roughly seven stories.

High rise buildings have become a fixture on the urban landscape, increasing population of cities and corresponding increases in density. With the application of green building at high rise building, it will help the people lives comfortably. This is supported by Korman (2009), said that building tall, green building is a smart way to limit the spread of urban sprawl while accommodating significant population growth. The bottom line to this idea begins with education, which is within the realm of legislators in promoting and rewarding sustainable mixed use smart growth design.

With the adaption of green building at high rise building, it will help to reduce energy consumption, energy cost, eliminating storm water runoff and potential pollution into neighbouring properties. Nilles (2012), said that sustainable green design is a holistic approach to environmentally sensitive buildings, which includes energy savings, recyclable materials, site selection, natural light, indoor air quality, and plumbing and water quality.

2.2 Green Building Concept

Green building concept is involves a building, which is designed, built, operated, maintained or reused to protect occupant health, improve employee productivity, use wisely natural resources and reduce the environmental impact. Batuwangala (2010), said that green building concept incorporates environmental considerations into every stage of the building construction. This process focuses on the design, construction, operation and maintenance phases and takes into account the lot design and development efficiency, energy and water efficiency, resource efficiency, indoor environmental quality, building-owner maintenance and the building’s overall impact on the environment.

Concept of green buildings help to maintain and preserve the environment for maximizes. According to Malarthamil (2009), by preferring green building over a conventional building help this planet earth and the people to retain nature to a maximum extent possible in three ways with reference to the location of the buildings.

Retain the external environment at the location of the building.

Improve internal environment for the occupants.

Preserve the environment at places far away from the building.

2.2.1 Retain the external environment at the location of the building

A multi-storied office complex to accommodate thousands of officers and staff, it requires a vast area. Therefore selection of a site for such a building complex should consider retention of local vegetation, wild life, natural water courses etc. Either a site with bio diversity should be avoided or the building should be planned to reduce site disturbance (Malarthamil, 2009).

Concept of Green Buildings

Figure 2.1: Concept cross section of a green building (Malarthamil, 2009)

Land: The landscaping and the exterior design in a green building shall be in such a way that there is more shaded area, the light trespass is eliminated and local species of plants are grown (Malarthamil, 2009).

Water: The green building by its design and shape shall not disrupt the natural water flows, it should orient and stands just like a tree. Rain falling over the whole area of the complex shall be harvested in full either to replenish the ground water table in and around the building or to be utilized in the services of the building. The toilets shall be fitted with low flesh fixtures. The plumbing system should have separate lines for drinking and flushing. Grey water from kitchenette, bath and laundry shall be treated and reused for gardening or in cooling towers of air conditioning. Green homes often focus on conserving water both indoor and out (Malarthamil, 2009). According to Batuwangala (2010), implementing more efficient water delivery system indoors and native and water retaining and drought resistant landscaping selections outdoors can aid preventing unnecessary waste of valuable water resources. For an example use of heavy and light water closet flushing options will help conserving water used indoor.

Energy: The solar energy at the top of a green building is harvested to supplement the conventional energy. The natural light is harvested in the intermediate floors to minimize the usage of electricity. Sunlight is restricted by the high grown trees outside the lower floors of the building. High efficiency light fixtures make a pleasant lighting apart from saving the energy. High-efficiency windows and insulation in walls, ceilings, and floors are used for the benefit of better temperature control (Malarthamil, 2009). According to Batuwangala (2010), said that the energy efficiency is weighted heavily in most green building programs. A whole system approach will bring improved results. Further, a careful window selection, building envelope air sealing, duct sealing, proper placement of air and vapour barriers, use of solar powered heating/cooling systems will contribute towards an energy efficient building.

2.2.2 Improve internal environment for the occupants

Light: In a designed green building the occupants shall feel as if they are in outdoor location. The interior and exterior designs shall go hand in hand by blending the natural and artificial lighting and presenting transparent views wherever possible (Malarthamil, 2009).

Air: In the air conditioned environment, a green building shall be specially equipped to ensure the Indoor Air Quality for a healthy atmosphere. Even the nasal feelings shall be pleasant free from the odour of paints and furnishings (Malarthamil, 2009).

A comfortable atmosphere at work stations improve the attendance of the staff and increase the productivity (Malarthamil, 2009).

Concept of Green Buildings

Figure 2.2: Model elevation of another green building (Malarthamil, 2009)

2.2.3 Preserve the environment at places far away from the building

A building is constructed using cement, sand, steel, stones, bricks, and a lot of finishing materials. These materials are quarried or procured from far away from the location of the buildings. Building materials are responsible for about 20 per cent of the greenhouse gasses emitted by a building during its lifetime (Malarthamil, 2009).

Green buildings shall use the products that are non-toxic, reusable, renewable, or recyclable wherever possible. Locally manufactured products are preferred so that the collective material environment of the locality remains a constant and moreover the fuel for the transport of materials is saved (Malarthamil, 2009).

Green wood: Hemp fibres and biodegradable plastic when pressed together and heated form layers and this material are as strong as wood. When buried in land fill, it degrades faster. This wood creates more raw materials when it breaks down. Microbes produce methane gas when they decompose this wood substitute and other debris thrown into landfills. Another type of bacteria absorbs this gas and turns it into plastic that can be used to create a new wooden plank. By this cycle, there is a continuous source of raw material for this wood. When this material at research comes to market, it may help to control deforestation and promote the rainfall (Malarthamil, 2009).

Green Cement: The method sequesters carbon di oxide from power plant flues and mixes the gas with sea water to produce the mineral raw materials of concrete. For every ton of green cement Calera manufactures half a ton of fly ash from coal plants is used apart from preventing production and emission of carbon di oxide (Malarthamil, 2009).

Other green building materials: Renewable plant materials like bamboo (because bamboo grows quickly) and straw, lumber from forests ecology blocks, dimension stone. Recycled stone, recycled metal are some of the other materials used in a green building (Malarthamil, 2009).

2.3 Green Building Criteria

To achieve a level of certified green buildings, an assessment has been created. This assessment is a guideline for the construction of a green building. Vierra (2011), said that buildings have extensive direct and indirect impacts on the environment. During the construction, buildings use energy, water, and raw materials, generate waste, and emit potentially harmful atmospheric emissions. These facts have prompted the creation of green building standards, certifications, and rating systems aimed at mitigating the impact of buildings on the natural environment through sustainable design.

These assessments have some difference from each other according to the climate and the suitability of the place. In Malaysia, Green Building Index (GBI) was used to make the assessment. This assessment is used for green building criteria in Malaysia. According to Arkam (2009), among the well-known rating systems is:



Green Building Index (GBI)


Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM)

United Kingdom

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

United States of America

Building Environment Performance Assessment Criteria (BEPAC)


Comprehensive Assessment System for Building Environmental Efficiency (CASBEE)


Life Cycle Assessment/Life cycle Cost (LCA/LCC)

Hong Kong

Green Building Evaluation System (EEWH)


Green Star

Australia/New Zealand

Green Mark


Table 2.1: Green building assessment by country

(Source: http://www.slideshare.net/arkam_slideshare/green-building-sustainability#btnNext)

2.3.1 Green Building Index (GBI)

Malaysia is one of the tropical countries in Southeast Asia region too busy moving towards green development. After several studies in various green building rating schemes around the world, in the month of April 2009, Malaysia has built an appraisal scheme to suit the local market. It is known as Green Building Index (GBI). This is supported by Mun (2009), said that the Green Building Index Malaysia (GBI Malaysia) was introduced on January 3, 2009 at the Green Design Forum held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and officially launched in April 2009.

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According to Leng (2009), Green Building Index is a rating system developed by Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia and the Association of Consulting Engineers Malaysia, which aims to educate architects, designers, engineers and the public on building sustainable structures. The rating system provides an opportunity for developers to design and construct green, sustainable buildings. These structures save on energy and water, harmonise with its surrounding environment and use resources efficiently.


Figyre 2.3: Logo of Green Building Index

(Source: http://www.greenbuildingindex.org/)

2.3.2 Objectives of the Green Building Index

Govind (2012) noted that the objective of Green Building Index that it has been developed keeping in mind the tropical Malaysian climate, environmental and developmental context, and cultural and social needs. It has been created to:

Define green buildings by establishing a common language and standard of measurement

Promote integrated, whole-building designs that provide a better environment for all

Recognise and reward environmental leadership

Transform the built environment to reduce its negative environmental impact

Ensure that new buildings are sustainable and existing buildings are refurbished and upgraded to improve the overall quality of building stock.

2.3.3 Green Building Index Rating System

According to Govind (2012), stated that buildings will be awarded the Green Building Index rating based on six key criteria that is:

Energy Efficiency (EE)

Improve energy consumption by optimising building orientation, minimizing solar heat gain through the building envelope, harvesting natural lighting, adopting the best practices in building services including use of renewable energy, and ensuring proper testing, commissioning and regular maintenance.

Indoor Environment Quality (EQ)

Achieve good indoor air quality, acoustics, visual and thermal comfort. These will involve the use of low volatile organic compound materials, application of quality air filtration, proper control of air temperature, movement and humidity.

Sustainable Site Planning & Management (SM)

Selecting appropriate sites with planned access to public transportation, community services, open spaces and landscaping. Avoiding and conserving environmentally sensitive areas through the redevelopment of existing sites and brown fields. Implementing proper construction management, storm water management and reducing the strain on existing infrastructure capacity.

Materials & Resources (MR)

Promote the use of environment-friendly materials sourced from sustainable sources and recycling. Implement proper construction waste management with storage, collection and re-use of recyclables and construction formwork and waste.

Water Efficiency (WE)

Rainwater harvesting, water recycling and water-saving fittings.

Innovation (IN)

Innovative design and initiatives that meet the objectives of the Green Building Index.

2.3.4 Green Building Index Rating Tools

Green Building Index rating tools are evaluates non-residential and residential buildings. Non-residential buildings are includes commercial, institutional and industrial such as factories, offices, hospitals, universities, colleges, hotels and shopping complexes. While, residential buildings are includes linked houses, apartments, condominiums, townhouses, semi-detached and bungalows.

According to Leng (2009), the Green Building Index non-residential rating tool consist of the six criteria that make up the Green Building Index 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.

For residential buildings, 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 (Leng, 2009).

The chart below shows Green Building Index points according by the six criteria of green building for non-residential and residential buildings:

Points NR

Figure 2.4: Green Building Index allocation chart for non-residential buildings (Leng, 2009)

Points R

Figure 2.5: Green Building Index allocation chart for residential buildings (Leng, 2009)

2.3.5 Green Building Index Rating Classification

Total score at Green Building Index rating tools will be determine the classification of the buildings. Mun (2009), stated that achieving points in these targeted areas will mean that the building will likely be more environment-friendly than those that do not address the issues. Under the Green Building Index assessment framework, points will also be awarded for achieving and incorporating environment-friendly features which are above current industry practice.

The assessment process involves an assessment at design stage leading to the award of the provisional GBI rating. Final award is given one year after the building gets Completion and Verification Assessment (CVA). Buildings will also have to be re-assessed every three years in order to maintain their GBI rating to ensure that buildings are well-maintained. Buildings are awarded Green Building Index Malaysia that is, Platinum, Gold, Silver or Certified ratings depending on the scores achieved (Mun, 2009).



86+ points


76 to 85 points


66 to 75 points


50 to 65 points


Table 2.2: Green Building Index Classification

(Source: http://www.greenbuildingindex.org/)

2.4 Advantages of Green Building

Clearly, a green building helps in protecting natural resources. But when conscientious, green buildings offer more benefits than just saving the earth. Some of the green building’s advantages is:

2.4.1 Capital Cost Savings

Optimising building environmental systems to interact synergistically can lead to substantial savings in capital costs. For example, downsizing HVAC systems through energy efficient design not only produces savings in ductwork, but by reducing the requirement for bulky mechanical equipment, more floor space can be made available for leasing (Jallendran, 2009).

2.4.2 Enhanced Value

Green buildings have an enhanced ability to rent or sell space based on their superior indoor environment. It should be noted that this has not been financially proven in countries like Australia due to the fact that most green buildings have not been tenanted for more than a year, as well as the issue of the industry being reticent to sharing post occupancy reviews (Jallendran, 2009).

2.4.3 Compressed Schedule

An integrated team approach to design (as required when using LEED) results in fewer design conflicts and subsequent change orders. American studies have shown that projects are routinely coming in on time and ahead of schedule (Jallendran, 2009).

2.4.4 Improved Marketability

Building green creates a distinct product in the marketplace, which can be integrated with a corporate image and used to market the property to attract and retain employees. Certification schemes such as LEED in the US are useful marketing tools since they help verify and substantiate green claims (Jallendran, 2009).

2.4.5 Improved Public Profile and Community Relations

Building green demonstrates environmental responsibility. For example, in the US, this improved image has shown to have accelerated the approval process when dealing with zoning requests and environmental assessments (Jallendran, 2009).

2.4.6 Publicity

Green buildings can generate media interest and publicity. The increased marketing potential of a superior building can recapture the additional capital cost associated with a green building through faster leasing and reduced costs for promotional advertising (Jallendran, 2009).

2.4.7 Operational Cost Saving

Reduced lighting loads, high efficiency appliances, increased insulation, passive solar heating, passive ventilation, water conservation measures and commissioning that uncovers and corrects inefficiencies all lead to savings in operational costs. These cost savings can be used to market the project to prospective clients and tenants (Jallendran, 2009).



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