The country's first green building institution has been established to certify and rate environmentally friendly housing and workplaces.
The Green Building Council of Indonesia (GBCI), is currently making comparative studies on international best practices and plans to launch its first-ever rating system early next year.
GBCI currently has 64 members comprising academics, property industry players and professionals and is applying for membership in the World Green Building Council.
"GBCI will set a framework for green facilities management, which will generate various benefits for all -- companies and society," Tondy O. Lubis, one of the founders of GBCI, told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
The concept of green buildings emphasizes increased efficiency in the use of electricity, water and building materials, from the design stage and construction through to maintenance.
Lubis said demand for green buildings had grown tremendously in Asia with Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Korea and India among those that already have green building councils. They issue certificates to building owners rating the environmental sustainability of their buildings.
Tondy said that in Indonesia, such a council would issue certificates with four levels certified, silver, gold and platinum -- depending on how they met the required measures.
"But obtaining the certificates is voluntary," said Tondy, who is also the director for facility management services at Indonesia's Colliers International, a global real estate management firm.
According to Colliers, the 2008 Green Building Market Report found that most Indonesian companies were interested in making their buildings green because they believed it would not only benefit the environment and employees but also increase company profitability.
"Now, Indonesian companies have realized that green buildings will mean they can reduce operating costs," Tondy said, adding that multinational companies in Indonesia such as Citibank and BHP Billiton were among those interestrd in green buildings.
Tondy said the cost of a green building would be two to four percent higher than a conventional building. However, over 20 years, its financial return could be 10 times higher as a green building could reduce energy consumption by as much as 30 percent.
"That's why a well-conceived plan is very important and a thorough survey must first be conducted before constructing a green building," Tondy said.(dia)