Seeing green


PETALING JAYA: Buildings in Malaysia are generally 30% “overweight” in terms of energy efficiency.

This is according to Steven Kang, managing director at Singapore-based Measurement & Verification Pte Ltd (M&V), a company which provides solutions for properties to “optimise” their energy usage.

Drawing a comparison with Singapore, Kang, a seasoned industry player, said most buildings in Malaysia currently consume much more energy than those in the city state.

“This means there is a very big opportunity for us to cut the fat in Malaysia,” he told StarBiz.

To be sure, “cutting the fat” also means that building owners will be taking the environmental factor of minimising carbon footprint more seriously, and will also be able to experience cost savings as a result of being “more green.”

According to a report by the World Green Building Council, buildings are currently responsible for some 39% of global energy related carbon emissions, of which 28% is from operational emissions and the remaining 11% from materials and construction.

Coupled with skyrocketing energy prices and global warming, the subject of energy efficiency has easily been one of the most talked-about topics in recent times.

In fact, many countries including Malaysia and Singapore have even set net-zero targets to be achieved by 2050.

What this essentially means is that these countries are committed to removing as much carbon emissions as they emit, by then.

Nevertheless, for most countries, plans on how to achieve this seemingly ambitious target are not clear at this juncture.

Meanwhile, according to an article published on The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development website, the demand for green buildings is expected to increase “dramatically” over the next decades.

“Projections indicate that the world’s population will surpass eight billion by 2030, with the majority living in urban areas. This will result in considerable growth of the construction and real estate markets,” the article said.

Consequently, it is such demand that will continue to keep companies like M&V busy.

Currently, M&V, which is an indirect subsidiary of Bursa Malaysia-listed PRG Holdings Bhd does work mostly for Singapore companies.

“One of my goals is to succeed in Malaysia, we have projects there now but not big ones,” Kang said.

“If I can do it in Malaysia, then I can tell people, if I can export our engineering expertise to Malaysia, there is no reason why I cannot do it in the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand,” he added.

To this end, Kang has set his eyes on some of Kuala Lumpur’s largest buildings and is in the process of having some discussions set up with the owners.

M&V currently has an order book of around S$50mil (RM162mil) with up to 60% of these jobs expected to be realised this year.

In Singapore, it has done work for some big companies among which is Changi Airport where it recently secured two projects to upgrade the airport’s air conditioning system to make it more energy efficient.

“Energy efficiency is something very special, I don’t need new technology all the time but we can do it anywhere as there are a lot of buildings which are overweight,” Kang said.

Among M&V’s services are supplying facility energy efficiency management systems, conducting energy audits and carrying out energy efficiency designs and consultancy.

Apart from that, it is also involved in the supply and installation of high precision instruments such as temperature sensors, water and air flow meters, power meters, air and water pressure sensors, humidity sensors and refrigerant leak detectors, all with the intention to help buildings increase their energy efficiency levels.

According to Kang, a one-off cost of about RM1mil is needed for the initial upgrading of a standard building’s software system to make it “greener.”

The cost will increase with further upgrades.

“I’m very fired up to do more business, we make profits but at the same time we are also part of the solution to one of the world’s current biggest crises.”

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