The city of Bangkok has recently approved the final draft of the new city plan named “Bangkok, the Green City”, effective from May 15th 2013. This project aims is to promote environment-friendly buildings in line with the guidelines of the Thai Green Building Institute (TGBI).
In order to establish new standards in the construction industry, the TGBI came up with TREES – the Thai’s Rating of Energy and Environment Sustainability – which assesses the “greenness” of a building. It covers eight key construction and environmental factors:
- building management,
- site and landscape,
- water conservation,
- energy and atmosphere,
- materials and resources,
- indoor environmental quality,
- environmental protection,
- Green innovation.
Each of these factors corresponds to a specific requisition from the cabinet like the waste-water treatment system, reduction of CO2 released in the atmosphere, etc. After submitting the building project to the TREES test, it will be attributed a score depending on the mentioned criteria and representing the efficiency of the building in terms of sustainability.
If a building fulfills those eight requirements, the developer will be allowed to increase the floor-area ratios over and above the current limits. The Floor Area Ratio (FAR) is the total surface of a building divided by the total surface of the lot. It measures the density of an area. Even if the reward can benefit the constructor, the average cost will be increased by 20 to 30% in the short term. However, they achieve marked long-term savings in the form of reduced energy costs.
Living in an eco-friendly house or building can also benefit a person in an economical way like considerably reducing energy usage, saving water and regulating temperature. This results in decreasing the cost of house maintenance.
The Indonesian capital of Jakarta recently made green building measures mandatory for new high rise buildings while Dubai is set to do the same for all new buildings with several laws that will come into effect next year.
Developers will now have to compare the benefits from increasing floor-area ratios with the higher construction costs before deciding whether the green route is more profitable and feasible for a particular project.
Article written by Juliette Vidailhet