With the COVID-19 pandemic slowly fading into the rear-view mirror, both developers and buyers are recalibrating respective concepts of what makes good real estate. And sustainability is thankfully topping the agendas of both parties.
Once again, the climate crisis and its impacts are driving investment decisions, and the industry is responding, heeding the case for incorporating environmental, social, and governance factors into operations.
The World Commission on Environment and Development defines environmental sustainability as “a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development, and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations.” And the building and construction industries must be part of this “process of change.”
Sustainability is an increasingly important part of the real estate industry and a vital jigsaw piece in the puzzle of global climate change.
Indeed, the emissions footprint of the global building sector hit a record high in 2019, where it was responsible for 38 percent of total global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.
In Malaysia, many developers are revolutionising how the sector operates and adapts to the crisis. Here are three of the country’s most forward-thinking companies trailblazing ambitious—yet viable—routes to a greener future.
Binastra Land Sdn Bhd
Picking up the Special Recognition in Sustainable Design and Construction award – and a Highly Commended in the Best Lifestyle Developer category – at last year’s PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Malaysia), the Klang Valley-based boutique developer has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2005.
Completed projects to date range from residential housing to commercial centres and shop offices to high-end condominiums and industrial buildings to hotels.
Its latest eye-catching, eco-friendly development, Trion 2 @ KL, comprises two towers housing 600 serviced apartments with three different dual-key unit types. But the emphasis is firmly placed on a healthy and communal lifestyle.
The eco-deck, for instance, is designed to promote ‘Zen living’ and features a Jacuzzi, kids pool, floating pavilions, and elevated jogging paths surrounded by greenery. Other unconventional features include a rock climbing area, theatre, and a designated kick-boxing room. The roof-top sky pools, meanwhile, offer stunning views of the KL skyline.
The sprawling freehold project also received the stamp of approval from the 2021 Awards’ judging panel, winning a Highly Commended accolade in the Best Condo/Apartment Architectural Design category.
Ideal Property Group
One of the most established names in Malaysia’s real estate industry, Ideal Property Group made its name developing high-quality, low-cost homes in Penang. In recent years, however, the decade-old firm has extended its reach and operations to benefit local communities.
Through a series of eco-initiatives such as the “I Go Green” environmental programme, the Best Affordable Homes Developer winner has promoted a reduction in car dependency, ensuring daily necessities are within walking distance of its developments.
It also invested in cycling lanes around the island and replanted trees and shrubs around each project.
The group recently introduced a raft of sustainably-orientated amenities at Havana Beach Residences, Ideal’s latest affordable project on the Pearl of the Orient. Amongst the facilities is an adult swimming pool, jacuzzi, children’s pool, recreational park, a barbeque pit area, gymnasium, a yoga room, and multipurpose hall.
But arguably the biggest lure for investors at the 1,342-unit condo project — awarded Best Mass Market Condo/Apartment Development (Northern) — is the easy access to lifestyle options in the nearby Bayan Lepas neighbourhood.
Putrajaya Holdings Sdn Bhd
Putrajaya Holdings is a sustainability star with a shining commitment to solar farming initiatives. The Green Building Index certified developer has introduced the programme, in addition to rainwater harvesting and designs that harness airflow, at its latest landmark projects.
Environmental programmes are at the company’s core, which also bagged Best Developer (Central Malaysia) in 2021. Across its latest developments, construction management control ensures the construction waste in landfills is appropriately maintained.
Arborists, meanwhile, manage tree selection, and partnerships with local authorities have resulted in the upkeep of Putrajaya Lake, Parks, and Gardens. The firm also encourages staff to recycle through the 3R and E-waste programme with waste bins provided at corporate offices.
Finally, it facilitates sustainable development at a community level via ‘Galactic Greenovators’ and ‘Green Fingers’ programmes imparting knowledge through education and engagement with Putrajaya youth, as well as working with the community to carry out urban farming on undeveloped lands.