How Green Buildings And Sustainable Business Practices Raise The Quality of Life For All

How Green Buildings And Sustainable Business Practices Raise The Quality of Life For All
How Green Buildings And Sustainable Business Practices Raise The Quality of Life For All

Nowadays, “sustainability” can no longer be used as a buzzword that corporations can simply throw around. Practising sustainability or “going green” has become a legitimate game-changer and disruptor of the status quo across all industries, including real estate, and those who resist could be left behind.

Based on Deloitte Netherlands’ Real Estate Predictions 2022, the value of green buildings is set to rise even further in the coming years. Real estate developers will therefore have to meet the challenges of having to develop more green buildings and upholding sustainable construction practices to future-proof their business. This entails meeting the expectations of different stakeholders and consumers, many of whom are getting increasingly aware of the key role that sustainability plays in improving the quality of life.

Interestingly, developers including the ones mentioned below were commended in the recent PropertyGuru Asia Awards Malaysia 2022 for their commitment to making sustainability a core business principle and integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into their corporate strategies.

What makes a building sustainable?

A green or sustainable building is designed to conserve resources, energy, and materials and has features that contribute to the preservation of the environment where it is built. These are features for energy efficiency, water efficiency, renewable energy generation, and/or waste reduction.

It’s worth noting that buildings produce greenhouse gases and account for a substantial percentage of emissions from electricity generation, with building operations accounting for 27% of the annual CO2 emissions. Thus, the onus to minimise environmental harm is on real estate developers to abide by the principles of sustainable construction.

On the other hand, residential buildings can be said to be sustainably built if, besides having green features, they were also built to protect homeowners’ health and improve their well-being. Fortunately, many developers today are becoming more and more cognizant of this need.

How green is your building? 

In Malaysia, the industry-recognised Green Building Index (GBI) measures how green buildings are, and companies that have GBI-rated projects are acknowledged for their efforts.

A fine example of a developer that participates in the industry’s initiative to create greener communities is Guocoland (Malaysia) (Winner, Best Lifestyle Developer; Special Recognition in ESG). The company’s townships, commercial office buildings, and other developments are known not just for their quality workmanship but also for their sustainability features. For instance, the high-rise Guoco Tower in Damansara City is proudly GBI-rated. Meanwhile, the company is aiming for a GBI rating for its other developments such as the commercial/residential project Emerald 9.

Similarly, Matrix Concepts Holdings Berhad (Special Recognition for CSR, Special Recognition in Sustainable Design and Construction, Best Developer – Southern Malaysia) is recognised industry-wide for its environmental conservation efforts. In constructing livable communities throughout Malaysia, the company incorporates green elements, including energy efficiency, water efficiency, rain harvesting, and solar energy harvesting into its projects.

Caring for the environment is ultimately everyone’s responsibility, but organisations that prioritise incorporating sustainable features into their properties are certainly laudable.

Beyond building green

While most developers’ push for sustainability is undoubtedly praiseworthy, there are developers whose ESG efforts can be seen not only through their sustainable building practices but in the specific, tangible ways they contribute to the communities where they erect structures.

For example, Mah Sing Group Berhad’s (Winner, Best Affordable Homes Developer, Best Developer – Central Malaysia, Developer of the Year, Special Recognition in ESG) shows its ESG commitments by developing affordable housing for Malaysians, primarily through programmes like Home Ownership Make Easy Scheme. The publicly listed company is also admirable for making hefty donations through its Mah Sing Foundation and for dutifully fulfilling its tax-paying responsibilities.

Likewise commendable is Lagenda Properties (Special Recognition for CSR, Special Recognition in ESG), which develops self-sustaining, affordable townships that cater to mid- and lower-income groups in Malaysia. Lagenda’s developments are designed with green features like a rain-harvesting system and locally supplied LED lamps. The company also goes the extra mile with its ESG efforts by promoting and spearheading CSR initiatives such as mangrove planting and food aid box donations.

As these developers show, there’s no single way to reduce environmental damage and raise the quality of life on the planet. Homebuyers, for their part, ought to make eco-friendly choices such as by leaning toward businesses that take sustainability seriously.