2 May 2013
LAFARGE Malayan Cement Bhd (LMC), the country's largest cement producer, has lauded the government for putting in place the right policies to ensure the local construction industry is not lagging behind in adopting green technology.
LMC president and chief executive officer Bradley Mulroney said green technology in the construction of buildings is slowly gaining acceptance here as more players are recognising its importance.
The government's target to reduce the country's carbon dioxide emission by up to 40 per cent by 2020 compared to the 2005 levels has served as an important aspect to the local construction sector and "made them think differently on how best to contribute to this reduction".
Mulroney said the past five years have seen a big change in the perception and acceptance of industry players towards green buildings.
Builders were previously nonchalant about the green building index (GBI) as they were more concerned about the cost factor. But now, things are changing, he said in an interview here recently.
"A developer building a big commercial block targeting multinational companies for 15 to 20 years tenantship must now ensure that the building complies with Malaysia's GBI because in five years, only buildings with GBI can be rented out."
Buildings that go up today have got to serve the market for the next five to 10 years, Mulroney said, adding that developers now realise this and are paying more attention to green technology.
"There is market demand for green buildings now."
Being market-driven and government-legislated have brought about traction for this development in recent years, he said.
GBI is Malaysia's industry-recognised green rating tool for buildings and provides an opportunity for developers and building owners to design and construct green, sustainable buildings that can provide energy and water savings, a healthier indoor environment, better connectivity to public transport and the adoption of recycling and greenery for their projects.
Mulroney said contrary to general perception, developers of energy-efficient buildings do get their cost back eventually.
"The question is, are you willing to invest up-front in order to get the cost back? You could be paying 15 per cent more in the early stage but you will save 30 per cent a year on your electricity bills.
"And within four to five years, you will be better off. But can you wait that long?"
Mulroney shared LMC's experience in producing greener products using alternative fuels and raw materials which had led to the company emitting less carbon dioxide by one million tonnes last year.