BOOST FOR ISKANDAR MALAYSIA’S LOW CARBON AGENDA WITH ANOTHER 5 BUILDINGS AWARDED GREEN RECOGNITION

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Iskandar Malaysia, 7 September 2020 – Iskandar Malaysia’s low carbon agenda gets a boost today as another five (5) buildings in the region were awarded green recognition through the Green Accord Initiative Award (GAIA) 2019/2020.

“I am both honoured and excited to physically attend and witness yet another important achievement in Iskandar Malaysia’s low carbon society agenda. GAIA is not merely a green recognition but has become an important catalyst that provides a holistic assessment of the organisation and business itself as well as the built environment,” said Yang Berhormat Tuan Vidyananthan A/L Ramanadhan, Chairman of Johor State Health and Environment Committee.

This year, the highest awards were given to Menara Majlis Bandaraya Johor Bahru (MBJB) at Bukit Senyum and also Sunway Big Box Retail Park, positioning them as the greenest buildings under the respective Individual Property and Commercial categories for the 2019/2020 GAIA awards.

Three (3) other Special Mention recipients in the GAIA Individual Property and Commercial categories are Fairway Suites, Horizon Hills; Majlis Perbandaran Kulai and i-Stay @ Senai Airport City, a hostel facility with green features to cater for outstation and foreign workers.

With this latest list of recipients, the GAIA family now has six prestigious award recipients and nine special mention award recipients, recognising a total of 15 green buildings since 2016. 

According to YBhg Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, Chief Executive of IRDA, “The Iskandar  Malaysia Green Accord Initiative Award (GAIA), is an innovative and pioneering initiative and soft incentive scheme by IRDA that honours outstanding business organisations in Iskandar Malaysia who have contributed towards the adoption of sustainable design, planning, retrofitting, and operation in the built environment. GAIA is the recognition tool needed by the market, especially in a rapidly developing economic region.”

“The GAIA assessment criteria is adopted from another international rating tool – the Comprehensive Assessment System for Built Environment Efficiency (CASBEE) – which has been used in over 1700 cities in Japan. So, to get a GAIA award, your development must be of a high standard and of international standing”.

A new iconic building in Johor Bahru, Menara MBJB is located strategically located in Johor Bahru City Centre and easily accessible to the public through the main trunk roads of Jalan Tebrau and Jalan Lingkaran Dalam. Menara MBJB is awarded this prestigious award due to its attractive and beneficial green features and designs as well as the city council’s efforts towards turning their vision “Johor Bahru, an International, Cultured and Sustainable City” into reality and action. 

Some of the beautiful features include attractive and practical envelope shading around the building to minimize the sun-heat load.  Internally, careful shading using blinds and tinted glass helped to reduce heat and the use of suitable LED lighting also makes the spaces more attractive.  MBJB staff were also involved in the design of the buildings and internal spaces, which helped to instil a sense of belonging and pride towards their workplace and culture ideas. 

The second prestigious award recipient is Sunway Big Box Retail Park under GAIA’s commercial category. The retail park was officially opened in the last quarter of 2019 and is highly equipped with green features, which reflects Sunway Group’s efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The building is equipped with large-scale solar panels (3MV) on rooftops to supply affordable and clean energy to the park. As a result, the operating cost in energy of the building can be saved and this is reflected in lower rental rates to retailers compared to other retail park and mall. This gives retailers some room to offer lower prices on their products to their consumers.

Over 70% of the retailers inside Big Box took part in the “no single use of plastic bag and straw campaign” to instil responsible consumption and production habit.  Customers are also encouraged to bring their recycle bags when shopping. In greening its surrounding area, Sunway practices conservation through planting endemic local trees such as mature trees which are transplanted from Muar.  There are also promotional boards and awareness corners the park to promote sustainable communities.

“Besides marketing and branding to the GAIA recipients, I would like to introduce an additional incentive for the GAIA eligible and special mention recipients for the imminent CASBEE training in September 2020. The incentive is to offer one free place for 1st pax and the rest with discount rate to join the capacity building training of 1st intake of CASBEE accredited professional course which is scheduled next week 14-15 September 2020.”

“Also, we will try to introduce and match GAIA recipients with various capacity building programme to further reduce your greenhouse gases (GHG) emission and carbon footprint,” added Datuk Ismail.

The next GAIA cycle that IRDA will be organising is for 2021/2022 which is open to all building owners and developers in Iskandar Malaysia and Johor.

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