ISKANDAR MALAYSIA, MONDAY, 29 OCTOBER 2018: The unique ‘green’ award, the 3rd Iskandar Malaysia Green Accord Initiative Award (GAIA) 2018-2019 is now open for submission starting from today until 30th December 2018.

This year’s award was launched by YB Tan Hong Pin, Johor State Executive for Local Government, Science and Technology together with the Building Energy Monitoring and Reporting System (BEMRS) workshop at the Amari Hotel.

From this year onward, the 3rd GAIA will now be a biennial event instead of an annual event. This will give participants more time to prepare, observe GAIA’s assessment criteria and apply them to their building. At the same time, this allows for the GAIA panel of independent judges to have more time for pre-submission discussions with developers, building owners and other participants.

YB Tan Hong Pin in his opening speech mentioned that GAIA, which is pioneered by IRDA is a recognition tool which is needed by the property market, especially in a rapidly developing economic region. GAIA not only provides a holistic assessment of the organisation itself but also the built environment. The sustainable environmental features and enhanced livability and community resilience will also be taken into consideration in the GAIA township assessment.

Datuk Ismail Ibrahim, Chief Executive of IRDA pointed out that the 3rd GAIA award will continue to play an important role in the Phase 3 development of Iskandar Malaysia into a sustainable metropolis and is reflective of the region’s strong commitment towards local and national level low carbon agenda.

Recognition through GAIA will give property owners and developers confidence that their development and properties are certified green.  GAIA is the tool to facilitate and guide the market to green pathways as IRDA moves towards achieving our target of 70% new buildings to be green certified by 2025.

“GAIA serves as a soft incentive scheme to recognise and honour the market players in contributing towards green building design and green built environment, and at the same time to reduce greenhouse gases emissions (GHG).

“The uniqueness of GAIA is it adopts the Comprehensive Assessment System for Built Environment Efficiency (CASBEE) as a rating criterion in its assessment. In short, GAIA assesses the Environmental Quality of the built environment, for instance, the indoor environment, quality of services and outdoor environment, and set these against the building’s or area’s Environmental Load such as the environmental impacts of that development on its surroundings,” Datuk Ismail added.

Also, kicked-off at the same event is the capacity-building workshop under the Building Energy Monitoring and Reporting System (BEMRS), which is funded by a UNDP Project for Malaysia called “Green Technology Application for the Development of Low Carbon Cities (GTALCC)”.

Iskandar Malaysia is one of the five cities in Malaysia selected under this 5-year national programme, which is carried out by SEDA Malaysia. Stated under Iskandar Malaysia (given as one city) are the five local authorities namely Johor Bahru City Council (MBJB), Iskandar Puteri City Council (MBIP), Kulai Municipal Council (MPKu), Pasir Gudang Municipal Council (MPPG) and Pontian District Council (MDP).

BEMRS is a tool for measuring building energy performance as well as to track and monitor the GHG emission through achievements of the building energy-saving programme. It is part of the on-going implementation programme under Actions 3 (Low Carbon Urban Governance) and 4 (Green Building and Construction) of the Low Carbon Society Blueprint for Iskandar Malaysia 2025 (LCSBPIM).

BEMRS also serves as a potential carbon trading mechanism and future platform between cities around the world, which is similar to the Cap and Trade System as practised by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG).  The development of BEMRS in Iskandar Malaysia is through a collaboration between the TMG, Mizuho Research Institute, Japan Energy Institute and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES).  This collaboration includes the transfer of Japanese expertise, knowledge and best practices to the five Local Authorities and IRDA.

BEMRS assessment template developed for Iskandar Malaysia was the outcome of workshops and capacity-building events held between Iskandar Malaysia and Japan in the past two years. It is expected to give building owners and others a better understanding of energy usage pattern, building energy index (BEI) and a no-cost quick win countermeasure to save building energy and utility bills.

BEMRS template will also be incorporated for the first time as one of the requirements in the GAIA 2018/2019 participation requirement for categories covering commercial buildings, industrial premises and individual properties. This initiative will be tested in Iskandar Malaysia and with guidance from Tokyo’s expertise, and BEMRS has the potential to be expanded to the whole of Johor.

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