Mandatory green buildings aim to save on energy costs

16 February 2019

For metropolitan Jakarta, a green building is no longer a mere concept. With a gubernatorial regulation on “green” buildings issued in 2012, the administration set mandatory requirements for buildings to be built based on eco-friendly principals that can lower their environmental impacts.

The regulation, the first green building code in the country, stipulates that any developer who wants to construct a new building must make it energy efficient and water efficient. As well, indoor air quality, waste and spatial management and construction must comply with green standards. Otherwise, developers would not be given construction permits.

To support the regulation, the city implemented an international standard for green buildings called Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (Edge) in 2015. By 2018, 339 new buildings in the capital were certified with Edge, said Sandra Pranto, the leader of the Indonesian Green Building Program at the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

“The potential energy cost saving is up to US$90 million,” Sandra said on Wednesday.

The city now wants to expand the reach of the regulation. It currently applies to buildings that cover an area of more than 50,000 square meters, but the city plans to soon revise that to 20,000 sq m, according to Oswar Mungkasa, the Jakarta governor’s special staff member for spatial and environmental affairs.

“We are currently revising the regulation and planning to complete it in a few weeks,” he told The Jakarta Post.

The buildings include offices, apartments, shopping centers, hotels, hospitals and schools.

In order to help developers, the city established the website to provide guidelines for building plans to meet the requirements.

Oswar mentioned the Jakarta 30:30 Commitment, by which the administration plans to reduce energy consumption, carbon emissions and water consumption, each by 30 percent, by 2030 through green building measures.

In the future, Oswar said the city would establish a special team to supervise the construction of green buildings. The city also aimed to help existing buildings operate more sustainably.

Sandra from the IFC — which has been assisting the city’s green building initiative, admitted that campaigning for green building concepts in Indonesia is not easy. Even though the Public Works and Housing Ministry issued a ministerial regulation in 2015 on green buildings, many issues remained to be tackled.

It takes all parties to fully support green buildings, she said. Not only should the developers realize the importance of sustainable construction, the banks must support them with green financing. Moreover, Sandra said there should be greater general knowledge in the market about the differences between regular and green buildings since green buildings are more expensive to put up.

“Constructing new buildings with a green concept might increase costs by 2 to 10 percent, but later the building owners would experience cost savings for energy and water of up to 20 percent because of the green concept,” Sandra said.

There has been much research, Sandra added, indicating that green buildings are also more comfortable places to work or live.

Among the developers that have implemented green standards in their buildings is Asia Green Real Estate, which operates mostly in Indonesia and China and has built several green buildings across the city, both independently and through partnerships with private Indonesian developers.

Asia Green Real Estate partner Alex Buechi said that, despite the urgency, the green building movement in Indonesia is mostly driven by a very small number of developers.

“It’s hard for green buildings to make sense [to people]. Hence, they have to be mandatory,” he said.

He explained that something had to ensure developers that they would get benefits from constructing green buildings and home buyers or tenants that they would be more comfortable in them.

Source: Jakarta Post, 16 February 2019