ARCHIDEX 09 - GREEN ARRIVES TO KUALA LUMPUR… AND BUKIT GASING
It is incumbent for all residents of this planet to be more conscious about preserving the environment for future generations. As it is, some scientists have already concluded that our planet is beyond salvage – past the tipping point. Nonetheless, it is part of the human condition to try and strive, especially for those of us living and working close to the Bukit Gasing Forest Reserve.
Archidex 09, the annual Malaysia Architecture, Interior Design & Building Exhibition, this year focused on environmentally sound practices and developments. Green Product Icons were proudly depicted by various exhibitors, and a new addition to this year’s forum was the Green Bulding Forum where the latest issues in green design and green building index were presented and discussed. The Green Building Index, Malaysia’s home-grown response to similar initiatives in the US, UK, Australia and Singapore, was also jointly launched by Architects Association and Association of Engineers. Participants thus learned and gained from views and insights shared on key issues and trends impacting the building community, especially from the panel of renowned green building experts speaking at the Green Building Forum.
It remains questionable if Green, having arrived in Malaysia, will stay. Foreign experts noted that Malaysians live extraordinarily wastefully when it comes to key resources such as water and fuel. And we do so because of the subsidies that have become entrenched in our way of life. Water, petrol, electricity are all ridiculously cheap in our country, whereas wages are low. Consequently, we are doubly incentivized AGAINST adopting new technologies which are friendly to the environment. These technologies unquestionably lead to savings in consumption, but the upfront cost of adoption are 1) too expensive for most of us and 2) will never be recovered based on the low costs of water and fuel in our country.
Skeptics have also accused developers and corporations of only being interested in the environment because it is better for business. Adoption of the emerging green vocabulary and acquisition of certifications such as the GBI and Greenmark arguably give business enterprises a competitive advantage. However, throughout history since the advent of capitalism, it is this commercial element which has pushed and advanced growth in our societies. Employment has become the means of survival for virtually everyone living on this planet in this era, and consequently, business enterprise and governmental intervention are the twin foundations on which societal change needs to be founded. Now all that remains if for us as individuals to care enough – as reflected in our willingness to pay to save the environment and to voice our concerns to those in authority.
Jointly contributed by K.C. Tan, H.S. Kok, G.S. Koh
31 July 2009