Putrajaya Perdana carving niche in energy efficiency

By THE STAR

GREEN is the way to go and Putrajaya Perdana Bhd is heading in that direction to offer sustainable living for the future.

The construction and property development company intends to carve a niche in designing and constructing energy-efficient buildings.

Subsidiary Putra Perdana Development Sdn Bhd senior general manager Mak Hong Seng said the company was very focused on this area of business.

“We regard this (energy-efficient construction) as a growth platform and there is potential,” he told StarBiz.

There seem to be many reasons supporting the construction of energy-efficient or green buildings.

Mak said there was more urgency to address global warming caused by the emission of greenhouse gases. Besides that, over half of the electricity used by the developed world was consumed by buildings.

Locally, the Energy, Water and Communication Ministry and the Housing and Local Government Ministry have been working together to include an energy saving requirement in the country’s Uniform Building By-Laws.

Mak said the updated MS1525:2006 (also known as Code of Practice on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for Non-Residential Buildings) was expected to be incorporated into the by-laws this year.

“As the requirement is not enforced yet, it is currently done on a voluntary basis.

“The aim is to table it in Parliament this year and once enforced, it will cover all buildings, except residential ones,” he added.

Energy-efficient buildings are designed, constructed or retrofitted, operated and maintained in a manner that reduce the use of energy without constraining creativity, building function nor the comfort and productivity of the occupants with appropriate regard for cost construction.

Mak pointed out that the potential of the business was not merely in constructing new green buildings but also in retrofitting old or existing buildings.

“Retrofitting is a lucrative business especially for buildings that are not energy-efficient. We can identify areas to reduce energy consumption,” he said, adding that the retrofit cost would be offset by the amount in energy savings later.

Constructing a building with energy-efficient features usually costs 10% more as opposed to the conventional method.

However, Mak said in the long-run, cost savings from energy usage would be far more beneficial for an energy-efficient building.

“We need economies of scale. This is a chicken-and-egg situation. Products such as solar panels are expensive as a lot of money used in research is not recouped, thus limiting mass production for a small market. The price should have dropped but demand in Europe suddenly surged and exceeded supply,” he said.

Although it is not cost effective to implement energy-efficient features in residential homes, Putrajaya Perdana plans to embark on building such homes in Putrajaya.

“Some developers, although conscious of the environment, have to look at their bottomline too. So, energy-efficient homes have to be marketed from a lifestyle perspective for it to be accepted,” Mak said.

Some of the energy-efficient buildings in Malaysia include Menara Mesiniaga, the Securities Commission building and Energy, Water and Communications building (a low energy office constructed by Putrajaya Perdana).

Putrajaya Perdana is currently constructing the Pusat Tenaga Malaysia building (a zero energy office) in Bangi and the Energy Commission headquarters in Putrajaya.

Mak said the company’s orderbook stood at RM1.2bil.

“We are constantly bidding for more projects. We are prospecting for overseas projects but the situation is not as rosy as people perceive it to be.

“We are quite busy locally and will go abroad only if there are good or very big projects, especially in infrastructure,” he added.

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