Interview with Ir. Ashwin, COO of GreenRE

Interview with Ir. Ashwin, COO of GreenRE

We recently spoke with Ir. Ashwin, COO of GreenRE Sdn Bhd, who shared his views about GreenRE and Indoor Air Quality.

Ir. Ashwin Thurairajah (MEng, PEng (BEM), PMP, GREM, GBIF)

  • Ir. Ashwin Thurairajah is a Professional Engineer and Chief Operating Officer of GreenRE Sdn Bhd. He holds a Masters Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Imperial College, London and has more than 14 years of experience in the building engineering sector.
  • Ir. Ashwin Thurairajah has contributed to research papers pertaining to renewable energy solutions in buildings and speaks frequently in seminars on the topics of green development and low carbon design.

1. What is GreenRE all about?

GreenRE (Green Real Estate) was set up by the Real Estate Housing Developers Association (REHDA) back in 2013 to drive sustainability in Malaysia’s real estate industry.GreenRE’s mission includes;

  • To drive the real estate industry towards sustainable development
  • To establish an objective standard of measurement for high-performance green buildings
  • To promote efficient use of resources such as energy, water and other building materials
  • To lower the carbon footprint of the built environment
  • To improve the health and social well-being of building occupants

GreenRE is fully supported and recognised by the Malaysian Government and several Local Authorities including DBKL, MBPJ, MBSA, MBSJ and the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA). Certified projects qualify for Income Tax Allowances and Incentives under the Green Tax Incentive Scheme of MIDA and Ministry of Finance (MOF). Currently, GreenRE has a portfolio of projects covering more than 200 million square feet across Malaysia.

2. Why is GreenRE different from the rest?

The main advantage of GreenRE is that it is an industry specific tool designed specifically to suit the Malaysian climate and environment. The tool was developed by the property development industry for the industry where the views of all the relevant stakeholders were taken into consideration in its development. GreenRE has been benchmarked to Singapore BCA’s Greenmark certification which is the leading tropical centric rating system in the region.The GreenRE tool is an affordable, performance-based tool that is not product nor brand-specific. The certification process is flexible to suit the unique design constraints of various building types in Malaysia thereby encouraging building designers to incorporate more green features. Improved active design through reduced heat transfer into a building and higher efficiency air-conditioning and lightings system are mandated. Buildings that incorporate more natural ventilation, daylighting and renewable energy will score a lot of points in the rating system. Furthermore, water efficiency, use of sustainable products and incorporation of greenery in a project are highly encouraged.

3. How does GreenRE help with ESG?

GreenRE’s standards and certification process are in line with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and World Green Building Council’s commitment towards achieving a net zero future.A green building inherently has a low carbon footprint, reduces environmental impact and enhances the indoor environment, which improves the social well-being of the occupants. In other words, it is a quality building with higher standards that will perform better over its life cycle.

4. Does GreenRE emphasize indoor air quality improvement?

Yes, this is one of the major considerations for a green building. A green building does not just have a lower impact to the external environment but also ensures an improved indoor environment for occupant wellbeing. The use of low VOC paints, low formaldehyde adhesives and non-chemical cleaning agents are specified in our standards. Use of green certified products are recommended for use in operation and maintenance of buildings.  Indoor air quality audits and an effective indoor air quality management plan through regular maintenance and cleaning of all indoor cooling / ventilation systems is required. This will ensure the indoor environment is free from harmful pollutants.

5. What is the vision of GreenRE?

To be Malaysia’s leading green building certification body offering a science-based, progressive and affordable approach to sustainable development.

6. What is your wish for GreenRE?

Less than 1% of the building stock in Malaysia is currently green certified – unlike Singapore and London which are approaching 40% to 50% – despite having certification standards around for more than 10 years. The biggest hurdle has been the impression that green buildings are expensive, which is something that GreenRE is trying to dispel.Working together with all the relevant stakeholders on both sides of the “push and pull divide”, we hope to spur demand for green development in Malaysia.

Thank you Ir Ashwin for your invaluable sharing! With that in mind, I can safely say that Airestec fulfills all that is required to be a contributor / partner to green certified buildings including those certified by GreenRE as our products are certified Bio, Eco-label and Green.  Apart from that, our Nano verified BMED coil cleaner ensures deep cleaning that will improve IAQ greatly by eliminating biofilms comprising of bacteria, mould, fungus and algae without corroding substrates as it is pH neutral and non-corrosive, thereby, extending the lifespan of equipment.  This in turn leads to ‘’Sustainable Cooling’’ while improving energy efficiency.

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