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Malaysia’s first ‘carbon neutral’ house

Gerald Wee | April 27, 2011
A multinational conglomerate shares insights into sustainability in property development and construction, and how IT can play a key role.

Sustainability was the order of the day as CIOciety Malaysia - an exclusive CIO club managed by CIO Asia magazine and Cisco Systems - organised its second exclusive event for senior technology executives in Malaysia on 23 March 2011.

The event attracted representatives across industries including mobile telecommunication services, food and beverage, infrastructure development, transportation, and technology companies. Attendees included top strategic management such as Noor Kamarul Anuar Nuruddin, chief IT and  transformation officer, technology and transformation group, Celcom Axiata Berhad plus the company’s senior vice president information technology and transformation Group, Bassaharil Mohd Yusop; Lim Wei Ling, service delivery manager, Group IT, F & N Holdings Berhad, James Angelo Jr, CEO of Jalur Lebar Nasional Sdn Bhd, Radin Asrul Adza, Head of ICT infrastructure, POS Malaysia and Ong Cheok Seong, head of network, voice and data, REDtone.

Hosted by Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby, the event was at the Sime Darby Idea House, claimed to be Southeast Asia’s first carbon neutral residence, in Shah Alam, 20km southwest of Kuala Lumpur.

Sime Darby’s property division says this is a prototype residence created with environmental awareness, responsibility and a mindset towards sustainability. The RM4 million residence pushes the boundaries be a socially, economically and environmentally responsive dwelling, providing insights into the future of tropical living.

Showcasing the leading edge of sustainable architecture, the Sime Darby Idea House adopts environmentally-friendly ideas which the group plans to systematically use for its future housing projects, demonstrating its commitment to creating sustainable futures for future generations.

Industry Waste
Sufian Abdullah, head of research and development innovation, Sime Darby Property, told the event attendees that the whole issue of sustainability came from acknowledging global issues, and “how that directly relates to us is how to deal with urban migration and the associated problems of congestion and carbon emissions”.

According to Sufian, carbon emissions for Malaysia from 1980 - 2007 grew from less than 10 million tones per year to more than 55 million tons, due to the rapid GDP growth in Malaysia, the privatization of government agencies plus many large scale projects, including the hosting of the Commonwealth games.

One side effect of rapid urbanization has been an over-consumption of resources. Malaysia’s construction industry, which contributes more than RM60 billion to the country’s GDP, typically wastes about five per cent of resources for every development project it undertakes, which translates to about RM3.2 billion per year.

“This is because of uncertainty of materials, measurement, and technology,” said Sufian. “There are wood chips, sawdust, and extra tiles left over.”

Green House Revolution
Sufian noted that, unlike the aviation or automobile industry, the construction industry had not progressed significantly since the early 20th century.


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