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Sustainable Townships have a lower impact on resources – by applying the ‘more from less’ principle. They emphasise the need to minimise the use of highly resource intensive materials by using a life cycle approach.

They make effective use of local materials and resources for the construction of new communities.

Sustainable Townships are tailored to respond to local needs in creating business and employment whilst incorporating innovative solutions. They provide employment opportunities for its residents to work closer to their homes and schools. They provide avenues for businesses to form and flourish.

They demonstrate best practices through the implementation of innovative technologies and solutions at many different levels of the township.

From a tax perspective, the Malaysian Government has in the past introduced a series of tax incentives to encourage companies to be environmentally friendly by investing in energy efficient systems and generation of energy using renewable energy sources.

These tax incentives include accelerated tax depreciation and 100 percent additional write off in the form of investment tax allowance for energy savings capital expenditure.

Tax exemption also given on incremental costs incurred in buildings which refers to the additional construction costs of a building, alteration, renovation, extension or improvement of an existing building.

The amount of incremental costs will be certified by Greenbuildingindex Sdn Bhd and this amount will be inserted in the GBI Certificate.

The “incremental costs” will be claimed by building owners to reduce their business statutory income in their tax returns resulting in a reduction in their tax liability.

The Government journey to grasp the need to achieve the green agenda has shown keen interest from private sector.

The development of Iskandar Malaysia for example is committed to adopting sustainable building operating practices to ensure that Iskandar Malaysia’s vision to be a strong and sustainable metropolis of international standing is environmentally sound, with the right balance of ingredients to live, work, play and invest.

Iskandar Malaysia, through Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) has collaborating with SIRIM aimed at promoting healthy, environmentally responsible and sustainable building and township management practices.

Ken Holdings Bhd, developer-cum-contractor, through its subsidiary Ken Property has successfully transformed Ken Bangsar into becoming the Number 1 green rated Building in Malaysia.

Ken Bangsar was awarded the BCA Green Mark GoldPLUS Award in July 2009 by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore, making it the first and highest rated green building in the country.

The GoldPLUS rating is also the first and highest awarded outside of Singapore and is a testament to the Ken Group’s commitment to the environment and sustainable developments in Malaysia.

The BCA Green Mark rating is widely recognized as the most prestigious standard for energy efficient and sustainable developments in the Asia Pacific region. Ken Bangsar also awarded Green Building Index Gold Award.

These recognitions bestowed upon Ken Bangsar have set a new standard for the country’s residential developments of the future and will induce a strong following in time to come.

Ken Rimba Sdn Bhd, another subsidiary of Ken Holdings Berhad is also involved in squatter resettlement in Shah Alam and is currently redeveloping the land into Malaysia’s First Green Township, known as Ken Rimba.

This development consists of apartment, condominium, terrace house and commercial shop lots.

One of the concepts that will be adopted here is to build terraced homes with a north-south orientation to maximise the natural north-south wind/air flow so that the house remains cool while receiving maximum natural sunlight throughout the day.

Louvered windows that can be adjusted will also be used to ensure maximum cross ventilation in any weather.

A “breathable roof” system, comprising cool roof technology and perforated eaves, will allow hot air to rise and flow out through the roof, keeping the house cool.

Transparent roof tiles and large glass doors and windows will be installed for maximum natural sunlight in the house, while a rainwater harvesting system will provide water for gardening needs.

There will also be 20ft green walkways between the end lots.

The responsibility of adopting green technology does not rest solely on the Government.

The public has a role to play as well and there is no room for public apathy if Malaysia wants to adopt green technology.

There is a need for effective promotion and public awareness as these are critical success factors for the successful development of green technology.

The change of mindset of the public is important in order for the public and businesses to adopt green practices, for example, simple measures like recycling household wastes, using energy saving devices, etc. before the green agenda can be achieved.

With the setup and roll out of the Government’s policies and initiatives and effective implementation, these should steer the nation towards achieving green technology and with the commitment of all Malaysians, it is hoped that Malaysia will be on track to achieve its green agenda.

Source: Malaysian Green Technology Corporation (GreenTech Malaysia), GBI Township Tool, Ken Holdings and Liveable space and sustainable townships – The Star, May 2011

-SNASH-

(this article written for 1BINA.my)