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Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
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Green offices bring a wealth of benefits

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

| Fri, April 25, 2014 | 12:39 pm

The growing demand for office spaces in Jakarta has led to office buildings mushrooming. With green offices cited as being increasingly preferred, many are curious about how property developers or owners are responding to the issue. How green are their buildings? The Jakarta Post'€™s Sudibyo M. Wiradji talks to Nirwono Joga, a specialist in architectural and environmental issues. Here are the excerpts of the interview:

Question: Green buildings have become a central talking point in the property industry. What is your view on this?

Answer: Global warming and the degradation of the environment have had several effects that have made property developers more aware of the importance of building ecologically friendly properties. Environmental awareness among consumers about choosing environmentally friendly properties has also partly driven property players to produce green properties. This includes green building standards, starting from planning and design concepts, construction to maintenance.

Have developers or owners of office buildings in Jakarta applied green building principles?

Only a few buildings have implemented green building principles. According to the Green Building Council Indonesia, only three buildings hold a green building certificate: a new building (the main building of the Public Works Ministry), two existing buildings (Grand Indonesia Office Tower and Sampoerna Strategic Square) and two new building designs (Rasuna Tower and Prasetiya Mulya Business School). Twenty buildings are now in the process of gaining a certificate and 70 buildings have applied for certificates.

Green buildings are both old and new, they are planned and operated by paying attention to environmentally sustainable factors through meeting standards on land use performance, water and energy saving and reducing waste and maintaining air quality inside and outside rooms (Green Building Council Indonesia, 2009).

From a regulatory viewpoint, are there laws spurring the implementation of green building principles?

Yes. There is Law No. 28/2002 on building construction, Jakarta administration bylaw No. 7/2010 on building construction and the city gubernatorial ruling No. 38/2012 on green building construction. With the existing laws, it is high time for developers to implement green building principles in their building projects.

A report has said international clients have taken green aspects into account in choosing the office building to rent. How do you view this?

Building and creating green offices has become a demand, which has been evidenced by the close correlation between a healthy environment and a sound economy.

When did clients start to relate green issues to offices they want to rent?

Since early 2000, the green movement has been promoted in various areas and in 2007 it became a global movement. Almost all working areas carry the green theme as a selling value, including green properties, green buildings, green offices to green lifestyles. Green offices serve as an educational means that inspire employees to establish green habits, which will, at the end of the day, help reduce entire corporate costs.

What green aspects do people need to pay attention to in green offices? Why?

Green offices consist of practical and simple environmental management systems, especially developed for office conditions. The effort is made to help and support office managers'€™ steps to embrace a more environmentally friendly office lifestyle.

Do green offices have a positive or negative effect on business?

Green office targets include reducing the consumption of natural resources through improving the promotion of conservation practices through increasing environmental awareness among employees and promoting mitigation in regard to climate change, via energy saving and the consumption of renewable energy.

What are the challenges facing developers and owners of buildings in terms of implementing green building principles?

Investment in green buildings is higher, 10 to 15 percent higher compared to conventional buildings that adopt a standard building concept. However, in the long-run the implementation of green building principles will conserve the Earth'€™s resources. The government is expected to encourage the banking sector to assist in providing funds or soft loans to ecologically friendly building projects and to green property developers. To support the program, the city government should provide incentives to developers that apply green building principles, such as facilitation related to the granting of building construction permits, the reduction of building tax and the reduction of electricity and water tariffs.

What should be done to raise public awareness of green offices?

We can do many things to support the creation of green offices. It'€™s better for employees to bring food from home and refill bottles to reduce waste from food and mineral water bottles. Use less paper and print paper only when necessary. Switch off the computer when not in use. Switch off the air conditioning when working rooms are not in use. To minimize air pollution and traffic congestion, it'€™s best to encourage employees to use environmentally friendly public transportation vehicles (trains or buses) instead of using their personal cars; drive eco-friendly cars; cycle or walk for short distance trips. It'€™s also advisable for offices to provide a bike parking lot, with a comfortable fitting room.