In line with global trends, a green-building movement is taking hold in Indonesia. Companies are increasingly looking at the concept. Developers and contractors are taking note and the Green Building Council Indonesia (GCBI), formed in 2009, has published certification guidelines. Among the multiple state-owned building companies, Pembangunan Perumahan has embraced green building, declaring itself Indonesia’s first “green contractor” in 2008. It trumpets eco-friendly projects such as the recently built Austrian Embassy in Jakarta. While the idea of building carbon-neutral and environmentally friendly buildings is beyond the financial reach of most Indonesians and far down the priority list for many, the notion remains an aspiration in the archipelago. “The issue of global warming is no longer just a popular tale, it is an unpleasant fact for us all,” Musyanif, the president director of Pembangunan Perumahan, wrote in a recent company publication. “We hope these steps will help to raise the spirit of the construction world – a world often accused as the main contributor to global environmental damage.’’ FIRST STEPS: Austria’s new diplomatic centre is being billed as the first green building in Jakarta. It was a collaboration between Austrian and Indonesian architects Fritz Oettl and Jatmika Suryabrata and was built by Pembangunan Perumahan. The $1.7m building’s green credentials are found in its mix of local materials, traditional building methods suitable to the climate and modern technology for interior climate control. Pembangunan Perumahan officials told media that energy use was cut almost in half, as the structure relies on a cooling system without air conditioning, instead controlling temperature by extracting heat using shade and other methods. The building also features tanks to collect rainwater for use and construction was environmentally friendly, producing minimal waste. Liquid from concrete mixing was recycled, for example. “The building can serve as a showcase for more sustainable-building practices for Indonesia’s capital city in the future,” said Klaus Wölfer, the Austrian ambassador to Indonesia. While it cost more upfront, Austria expects to save over the long term through reduced energy bills.

MORE PROJECTS: A number of additional projects with major green components are now under way. These include BSD City, a 6000-ha development being built in south-western Jakarta by Sinarmas, a major Indonesian developer, and Alam Sutera, a 700-ha mixed-use project going up in Serpong. A variety of suppliers have also contributed to this effort. “The sanitary and plumbing-related products industry has a lot to offer the GCBI,” said Mardjoeki Atmadiredja, president director of Toto Indonesia. “We can provide new products to help the construction industry improve building standards and reduce the impact of those activities that lead to environmental degradation and global warming.”

STANDARDS: More green buildings are on the way, and GCBI has prepared guidelines to determine who will get a green designation by observing standards across several categories: energy efficiency, water-efficient landscaping, site selection, use of natural light to reduce energy consumption, storm water management and ventilation and infiltration management. “Our rating system was created in cooperation with different stakeholders within the construction industry,” said Naning S Adiningsih Adiwoso, the core founding member and chairperson of the GCBI. “Professionals, industries, government organisations, academics and other organisations have participated in its design, performing what can be considered an exercise of national consensus.”

GCBI, which is a member of the World Green Building Council, has established two sets of criteria – one for new buildings and the other for retrofitting old buildings. Each uses a point system to gauge the “greenness” of buildings, and the system is known as “GREENSHIP”. Regional green building awareness is expected to get a boost from the International Green Building Conference held in Singapore in September 2011. More than 250 firms from 30 countries signed up to display their eco-friendly products and sustainable-design concepts suitable for the region’s weather conditions.