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Panel Discussion: From Green Building to Green Ideas

Date: 1 December 2019
Time: 2:00PM – 4:00PM
Venue: REXKL

iNYALA was proud to host the panel discussion on sustainable architecture and ecological designs with great minds like ​Huat Lim​, Architect and Managing Director of ZLG Design; Chris Wong​, Architect and Director of C’arch Architecture + Design Sdn Bhd; and ​Sutapa Bhattacharya​, General Manager of Corporate Strategic Communications of Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB). The discussion, organised in collaboration with the UCSI School of Architecture & Built Environment, was moderated by ​Low Ngai Yuen​, President of KakiSeni.

Kicking off the day was Huat Lim, who talked about what it means to be green. Huat stated that everyone has their own perception of green living and that ‘there is no such protocol or framework to be green’. It is truly up to us to take responsibility and initiative to change how we can achieve a better understanding and attitude towards green-living and sustainability.

Huat asserted that ”It is an attitude thing and not at all about how to fix the problem. Why don’t we try ​not​ to create the problem?”.

During his talk, Huat also broached more effective ways to eliminate wastes such as the circular economy and better rating tools for buildings with the WELL rating which should be the only tool to determine whether your product is green. As an architect, Huat also emphasised the importance of working around nature and its environment rather than cutting and pasting a landscape into a project. “We cannot disturb nature’s essences as it is a continuum,” he affirmed.

Huat encourages us to pay more attention to humanity and relate our work to improving the landscape of our well-being. Drawing inspiration from paintings from ​Pieter Brughel the Elder’s Children’s Games and A.J. Rahman’s The Kampung, Huat emphasised on how we should encourage the notion of togetherness and how we should live closer to each other without such thing as plot ratio or gated community where it creates a distance between people.

The renowned architect ended his talk with an inspiring quote by the distinguished software engineer, Jerome Scheuring: “It is perhaps, not so great a leap. Ultimately, software must be implemented in the same physical world as houses, towns and nations, for the use of the same human beings that inhabit them.”

Next up was Chris Wong, who emphasised the power of education in order for people of all ages to understand what it means to maintain a sustainable lifestyle. He fully supports local social enterprises and NGOs such as Dignity for Children, which provides better education to underprivileged children.

In his talk, Chris raised the issues of how the current local low-cost housing scheme is in a bad shape and the problems in homeownership for citizens. He also noted that both citizens and government stigmatise low-cost housing and it shouldn’t be this way at all.

Chris mentioned that recently he had the privilege to design and work on a piece of 260-acre land in Cyberjaya, in which he is trying to create a low-cost to affordable housing development. In his works for this project, his team came up with ‘a scheme that is dignified, hopeful, humane and motivated’ for residents within this self-sustained botanical township.

Chris also hopes to provide a living space for residents to connect with each other closely, echoing togetherness as Huat mentioned in his talk earlier. In line with this, he designed town centres within the neighbourhood to provide more sharing spaces for the residents.

An issue that Chris brought up in developing a township is transportation. While he understands that most of us are owners of vehicles, he would like to design a township that could eliminate parking spaces by half by providing simple shuttle service and safe and shaded pedestrian walkways. By eliminating parking spaces and cars by half, we are looking at reducing a lot of carbon footprint, and save up to RM239 million.

Chris completed his talk by citing the importance of education and its role in sustainability. “​For me, education connect all of us. This is one quality to hold sustainability together,” he noted.

Lastly, Sutapa took on the panel by stating that sustainability is the core of everything that TNB does. She also cited some cold hard facts that Malaysia has the highest energy consumption and the second-highest contributor of carbon dioxide in the region.

As the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) has set a target of achieving the 20% true renewable energy efficiency by 2030, TNB strives to launch multiple programs and processes that can be sustained and create a positive impact for all. This includes efficient and eco-friendly initiatives such as the Manjung 5 power plant, Tree for Tree programme and Kampung Kuantan Firefly Preservation Project.

Sutapa also mentioned about TNB’s maiden foray into the onshore wind in the UK with the acquisition of an 80% interest in two renewable energy companies there. This is on top of the portfolio of 24 solar photovoltaic farms and other renewable energy assets in TNB’s gained power portfolio in Turkey and India.

On top of that, Sutapa noted that TNB has taken on large-scale solar projects since last year and has reduced carbon emissions since. TNB is also working on their second large-scale solar project and working closely with GSPARX Sdn Bhd to provide solar panels packages to commercial and industrial customers.

Echoing Chris’ sentiment on the importance of education in sustainability, Sutapa commented that one of TNB’s CSR pillars is Education, alongside Economic & Social (Community) and Environment. TNB provides a special scholarship through Yayasan Tenaga

Nasional called My Brighter Future. The scholarship offers exclusive sponsorships for students from lower-income families (B40) who have secured placements in STEM and TVET courses in Malaysian public universities.

“We are proud to sponsor 945 students last year and this year, we have about 4000 students, even extending a helping hand to those who are in Polytechnic and Community colleges,” said Sutapa.

Sutapa concluded her talk by reminding all attendees that we all play a huge part in sustainability, no matter big or small. “Whether it’s simply saying ‘no’ to straws or eliminating plastic bottles in our daily lives, whatever we do will make a difference for our brighter future.”

iNYALA hopes that everyone who attended the panel discussion that day left REXKL with a better understanding of how sustainability now plays a huge part in our designs for the future. ​We would like to thank our partners REXKL, FNL PRJCT and Rubix and our sponsors Tenaga Nasional Berhad, AirAsia, Yayasan Sime Darby and Passionation.

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