Property & Construction Sector Roundtables: Can Malaysia Achieve Net Zero Carbon by 2050?
Roundtable 2: Reducing Operational Carbon in the Built Environment
The recording of the session is available here.
If you have any recommendations we should consider, do submit them to us online via this Google Form.
On 16 July 2021, CGM and CEO Action Network convened the second Property & Construction roundtable session on net zero pathways for Malaysia. The session focused on strategies to reduce operational carbon in the built environment.
The session was moderated by Ar. Serina Hijjas, Malaysia Green Building Council (MalaysiaGBC). The panellists for the session included:
1. Zulkiflee Umar, Deputy Director, Suruhanjaya Tenaga
2. Ar. Zulkifli Zahari, President, Malaysia Association of Energy Service Companies (MAESCO)
3. Davis Chong, President, Malaysian Photovoltaic Industry Association (MPIA)
4. Ong Pang Yen, Group Executive Director, Sunway Group
38% of total global CO2 emissions comes from the building and construction sector. Of this, 28% is operational carbon which is needed to light up, cool down and energize homes, workplace, hospitals, stations, airports, factories and city infrastructure. Energy efficiency and renewable energy balance is the way forward in shifting from business as usual in terms of operational carbon to what will become the new norm in terms of net zero targets.
Ar. Serina of MGBC kicked off the session by highlighting the 3 guiding principles for achieving net zero operational carbon in the built environment:
1. Lowering energy use through energy efficiency
2. Measurement and verification
3. Low carbon energy supply in terms of in-site and off-site renewable energy generation
Zulkiflee Umar pointed out that the Energy Commission in Malaysia has implemented several measures to ensure energy efficiency already such as monitoring energy performance standards of appliances that are in use in Malaysia, which has resulted in saving 4937 GWh of electricity between 2013 to 2017. With increasing number of appliances that are being monitored in the coming years, more energy savings are expected.
New building should be designed such that there is optimum energy efficiency to ensure low operating cost over the building’s lifetime. For existing buildings, the focus should be on large complexes with long operating hours – these should be retrofitted to achieve maximum allowable Building Energy Intensity (BEI). Policy should promote the adoption of mandatory building performance standards and codes and also focus on boosting the numbers and quality of energy efficient retrofits.
In order to ensure incorporation of energy efficiency considerations, there needs to be stricter enforcement of existing regulations, together with stronger and streamlined policy. The most important aspect is to enact the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act. Government should also focus on building capacity through improved monitoring systems, data collection and conducting frequent energy audits of large energy consumers. Funding mechanisms to encourage the development of projects that are focused on energy efficiency is also required.
Ar. Zulkifli Zahari estimated that there is 70% loss of energy in transmission and distribution alone. Inefficiencies of appliances and other factors results in a further 20% loss and eventually, the end-consumer realises only 9.5 units of output for 100 units of power generated. Therefore, reducing even one unit of energy consumed will have manifold savings in terms of fuel needed for generation. In Malaysia, since more than 50% of energy supply relies on coal and over 30% on gas, focusing on energy efficiency becomes even more important until there is a large scale transition to cleaner sources of electricity generation.
Davis Chong pointed out that in terms of energy transition, Australia with 25 million population has more than 2 million rooftops with solar while Malaysia with a population of 32 million has less than 20,000 buildings with rooftop solar systems. Potential for buildings that could adopt solar rooftop solutions in Malaysia include: 3.2 million residential houses, 450,000 shop houses, 110,000 factories, 1000 shopping malls and 5000 government buildings.
“As a nation, we need to move to large scale solar farms – it has an important role to play going forward.” - Ong Pang Yen, Sunway Group.
Ong Pang Yen also opined that low carbon cities that incorporate aspects of energy reduction, substitution with clean energy and carbon sequestration are going to play a significant role in dealing with operational carbon going forward.
Malaysia will need to adopt a rational approach in its bid for achieving net zero. Being mindful of the fact that there is an affordable housing crisis already, Malaysia should recognize its strengths which lies in the large existing carbon sinks (forests) and focus on tackling areas that have the maximum impact such as energy generation and transportation.
Feedback from the Audience
A short poll conducted the start of the session showed an overwhelming majority felt that Malaysia should set a net zero emissions target by 2050 while a clear majority felt that there needs to be fiscal incentives for energy efficiency in buildings.
Meanwhile, the poll conducted at the end of the session saw 73% supporting a 50% energy efficiency target for 2030 while 64% felt that mandatory regulations will be required to advance net zero operational energy in buildings, followed by economic incentives which was supported by 26% of attendees.
Presentation Decks by:
1. Zulkiflee Umar, Suruhanjaya Tenaga
2. Ar. Zulkifli Zahari, Malaysia Association of Energy Service Companies (MAESCO)
3. Davis Chong, Malaysian Photovoltaic Industry Association (MPIA)
4. Ong Pang Yen, Sunway Group
5. Ar. Serina Hijjas, Malaysia Green Building Council (MalaysiaGBC)