A building is an essential need and even human rights for us. We need it as our living space with family, schools to get an education, worship places to pray, offices to earn a living, and also a place for entertainment. Most of our life aspects depend on building.
The high demand for buildings also causes climate change, an environmental problem. The conversion of agricultural land and forest, the use of non-environmentally friendly building designs and materials, and energy extravagance harm the ecological balance that increases the earth’s temperature. Recently, the Meteorological, Climatological, And Geophysical Agency (Indonesian: BMKG) announced again that the hot temperature will reach 33⁰C-36⁰C in May 2022. Green building comes as a solution to conform to human needs and salvages the environment. What does a truly sustainable green building look like?
Green building is not a new solution to developing sustainable buildings. Green building is a concept of architecture that prioritizes environmental sustainability by developing buildings that consume less energy and water, and emit less greenhouse emissions. The efficiency and wise use of materials and spatial planning must be determined and carefully designed in the development process. In Indonesia, this concept was developed in 1980 by some reputable architects, Heinz Frick, Y.B. Mangun Wijaya, and Eko Prawoto.
There are some standards and requirements in developing green buildings. Indonesia has a standardization system managed by Green Building Council Indonesia (GBC Indonesia). This institution provides several green building certification options. The most remarkable certification is Net Zero Healthy which actually prevents environmental damage. The building has to fulfill the requirements such as energy efficiency, water conservation, development of appropriate locations, use of recycled materials and waste management, good air quality and comfort, and also building environmental management. Those requirements require developers to consider low emission transportation access, availability of green open land, renewable energy sources such as solar panels, management and regulation of water use systems, using environmentally friendly raw materials, measuring air quality, and building maintenance.
There are always pros and cons behind every solution, as happens with the green building concept. While it may be considered a better option for environmental health since it reduces carbon emission and air pollution, applies responsible waste management, uses renewable energy, and energy efficiency, there’s also a catch.
The high cost of development and maintenance, limited knowledge of architects and construction workers, and restricted technology are some stumbling blocks in the wide development of green buildings. Because of those challenges, green building is only applied in industrial buildings rather than houses. Furthermore, a critical point of the green building concept that often gets ignored is what it demolishes in order to build. This concept certainly cannot be truly eco-friendly if its development clears up new land and replaces agricultural land, green fields, and even forests.
There are some buildings in Indonesian big cities that apply green building concepts. Most of them are industrial and governmental buildings. Those buildings are certified by GBCI and other international certifications such as LEED. They are BCA Tower, The Ministry of Public Works and Housing (Indonesian: Kementerian Pekerjaan Umum dan Perumahan Rakyat / PUPR) building, and Mina Bahari IV by the Ministry of Marine Affairs And the Fisheries Republic Of Indonesia. Those buildings get the certification because they save water and electricity by about 30%-70%, saving energy. Comfort, the availability of responsible waste management, and the appropriate land use are also determining factors in obtaining certification.
Even though it is only applied in some areas imperfectly, the direction of Indonesia’s development must follow this concept to develop sustainable cities and villages. The application of this concept is also part of efforts to realize sustainable consumption and production in Indonesia.
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