Malaysia’s tallest building goes green!

May 4, 2018 / By  

Over the past decades, sustainable development in Malaysia has been a national focus ever since the forward-thinking Vision 2020 was drafted by the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 1991. [1]The introduction of the National Green Technology Policy in 2009 indicated the government’s concern on global issues of sustainable environment and resources. Malaysia is making real progress towards its vision through generous green business incentives, more scrupulous industrial regulations, increased environmental awareness and an economic climate favouring sustainable development. In a recent show of dedication to the goal, there has been a step up towards ‘green building’ in Malaysia with the PNB 118 iconic tower leading as an example.

Destined to be the next global landmark of Kuala Lumpur, PNB 118 is the centrepiece of the Merdeka 118 mixed-use development. Situated on a 19-acre parcel of land purchased by Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) in 2000, the Merdeka 118 precinct is being constructed in three phases and is expected to be fully completed in 2024[2]. At 118 storeys high, PNB 118 will be Malaysia’s newest tallest skyscraper, towering over the current tallest in Malaysia, the Petronas Twin Towers, and as the 3rd tallest tower in the world upon completion in 2020.  PNB 118, the 118-storey tower with 400k sqft of office, 1 million sqft of retail space and Park Hyatt hotel. Based on its masterplan, the project will be being developed as an environmentally sustainable development, employing energy-efficient technology; environmentally friendly construction materials and will be the first building in Malaysia to target triple platinum sustainability certifications under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Green Building Initiatives (GBI), and Malaysian GreenRE programmes. The tower’s design calls for unique high performance and energy optimization strategies, including specialized cooling systems to manage solar exposures, thermal energy storage, a combination of solar hydronic and solar photovoltaic arrays, and native site-appropriate vegetation and water collection and treatment facilities to manage grey and rainwater.

The overlay of these three certifications systems such as LEED (US), GBI (Malaysia), and GreenRE (Malaysia) benchmarks the project with a more comprehensive cross section of features than if using only one system. For example, LEED [3]Platinum building is the highest standard awarded by the US Green Building Council in a globally recognised badge of eco-friendliness. In order to be certified as a LEED Platinum building, a development must be built in an environmentally friendly manner from the ground up. It must be constructed in compliance with environmental laws and regulations, and it must be highly energy efficient by help of advanced water and energy-saving devices.

Green Building Index (GBI)[4] certification is sought after because it gives the development prestige and allows it to gain green tax incentives while GreenRE[5] assesses a building’s performance in terms of energy efficiency, environmental protection, and indoor environmental quality of the development. It gives the owner and occupiers of the building confidence that the tower is being built and operated with the highest standards of design and performance.

Overall, green buildings are designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by increasing the efficiency energy, water and other resource consumed; protecting occupants’ health and enhancing employee productivity. Green buildings attract and retain tenants; and have reduced risk of depreciation and operating costs. All of these factors could help organisations meet corporate social responsibility goals. Costly eco-friendly options should be offset against significant savings and returns on investment. Thus, a green building will send the right message about a company or organisation that it is well run, responsible, and committed to the future.

[1] The Rise of Green Building,
[2] Merdeka PNB118 Case Study: Adding Value to the growing city,
[3] Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED),
[4] Green Building Index (GBI),
[5] GreenRE,

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