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A 900% Reason to Grasp Green!

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Global green home demand is expected to grow 900% in the next 5 years!

Text: Lawrence Julius

Living in a world where everyone is striving for development, advancement, innovation, progression and such, we forget something very important, Mother Earth herself. What should’ve been a responsibility from the get go, is a growing trend today. Finally it’s either get on the boat or get left behind. For those thinking that it is unprofitable and a hassle to build green buildings (shame on you), it is now safe to say that developing a green establishment may be more beneficial and profitable than you initially thought.

Charting the Green Path

The main hindrance when constructing green buildings is of course the cost of materials. No doubt that green concrete, wood, paint etc are a tad bit more expensive than conventional ones but these are the ingredients that make your buildings green, not just the color on the walls. And logic provides that as demand for materials rises and as they become mass produced, prices too shall eventually drop. So do not shriek at the initial costs for these materials.

Consider too about attaining green certification by the Green Building Index (GBI), Malaysia’s green benchmarking system, and think long term instead. Registering with GBI for certification requires a fee ranging from RM5,000 to RM45,000 depending on size.

Matthias Gelber is no foreigner when it comes to green solutions. Speaking at the “Going Green and Making Money from It” workshop, he says developers can expect costs to be slightly higher than conventional buildings, but expect a good return. The average premium of building green developments is around 2% but returns may be ten times more.

“There are a lot of green events going on but there is no action on the ground,” says Matthias as he explained that going green is still new and alien to developers who dare not step out of their safe zone, wary of the risks.

How to profit from it?

Value of Going Green

Today’s young generation has grown to be environmentally aware and conscious. And as they move up in the world, these young professionals will be in the market for green buildings, keeping the market open, encourage the green path and making the green demand very prominent indeed. So, getting your building certified, even if it’s by our very new GBI isn’t such a bad idea after all. As greenest man Matthias puts it, “The mindset will change. These young professionals will be more green sensitive.”

So even though there are still skeptics, the shift towards green is becoming more prevalent. This may be due to the fact that when a standard building is compared to a green one, the latter rewards more down the road in terms of value while the former may degrade and deplete even with maintenance.

Another drawing factor can be the prospect of a lifestyle pattern that advocates for a healthy community living, through the fast expanding and increasingly popular green theme called Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS). It has been proven that there is a huge demand for such thematic lifestyle, an idea which began in the United States (see LOHAS Coming to Our Shores).

But why all the fuss about green and sustenance? Perhaps the glaring discovery from the Global Journal of Health Science about the Petronas Twin Towers drives home the point. According to Matthias, the Journal revealed that 68.8% of the workers at the Twin Towers showed signs of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) due to the quality of its indoor air. Surprised? An iconic building of such stature would never have raised any eyebrow but this research published in October 2009 is evidence that a worrying trend has emerged and people have started to acknowledge it.

Now imagine your home or office being a sustainable one with natural lighting, green appliances and a healthy environment, one that requires less energy, saves on electricity bills and maintenance costs through green alternatives such as floor insulation to keep everyone cool minus the expensive bill and harmful carbon emitted from air-conditioning; and the rainwater harvesting and water recycling system to be used for cleaning common areas. Now wouldn’t that be nice?

From Al Gore to DiCaprio’s call for a greener world, Mother Earth has been in a dire state and needs help, our help. While it was once hard to convince people to green just based on environmental issues alone, a movement like the Workshop and LOHAS are fortunately already in motion today; a movement that justifies going green, one that can save and even make you money. All these come as a 900% reason to go green, for you, for Charlie, for me and the planet we call home!