New Straits Times, 19th November 2015:
SUSTAINABLE INFRASTRUCTURE : Initiatives to include waste water management, energy and cooling utilisation
Recognising the importance of a solid, sustainable infrastructure to attract world-class businesses, Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) is investing in green facilities like wastewater management, energy and cooling utilisation, digital infrastructure and public spaces to create a truly sustainable international financial district.
It recently appointed Grant Associates, a landscape architectural firm known for creating distinctive and sustainable landscapes globally, including Gardens by The Bay in Singapore, to design the public realm and streetscape of TRX.
The company’s design will include a central urban park that will create a new destination for the city.
“We like the idea of a large space where people can come and gather, one that creates a sense of openness in a dense city like Kuala Lumpur. The identity of the project will largely be drawn by the quality of the environment that can be created between the buildings,” said Andrew Grant, founder and director of Grant Associates.
In recent years, multinational corporations, often seen as standardbearers for global best practices, are compelled to uphold a certain level of commitment towards being more environmentally responsible, as awareness of conservation issues begin to rise worldwide.
They include leading banks and marquee financial institutions that have their own internal standards that are often tied to their corporate image and corporate responsibility programmes.
“Blue-chip companies will be looking at developments which display good sustainable green credentials that would allow them to provide brand enhancements of themselves,” said Andrew Comer, partner and director of the Cities Group at Buro Happold Engineering.
One of the advantages for TRX is that apart from having buildings that need to meet a required level of sustainability, large infrastructure outfitted at the district level will allow businesses and residents to be greener.
“In TRX, our green initiatives will not just be for the buildings; it will be implemented site-wide,” said Datuk Azmar Talib, chief executive officer of 1MDB Real Estate, the master developer for the project.
“We are working with our partners to ensure that TRX meets the sustainable development target that we’re trying to achieve, from wastewater management and energy utilisation, to digital infrastructure and public spaces.”
TRX’s sustainability aspirations are in line with the aim of KL City Plan 2020, a blueprint for achieving world-class city status. TRX has received provisional LEED recognition for Neighbourhood Development at Gold and GBI Township Platinum certification based on its masterplan.
One of the district’s KPIs is to reduce potable water consumption by half. It has signed a 20-year concession agreement with Veolia Water Technologies Southeast Asia for wastewater treatment and recycled water supply.
‘With a development such as TRX, where it is prime land, and where the land is expensive, it is important to utilise the technology to achieve its sustainable targets,” said Veolia Water Technologies SEA managing director Mohamed Akhir Ahmad.
Veolia’s technologies are estimated to recover more than 80 per cent of wastewater generated with a plant that will be three times smaller than a conventional water treatment plant. It can remove more than 95 per cent of pollutants with a peak capacity to treat 553 cubic metres of waste per hour.
“This is equivalent to treating an average person’s annual waste in nine minutes.”
A pedestrian-friendly development, TRX is designed to have limited vehicles at the ground level, prioritising walking over driving. With two MRT lines passing through the TRX interchange station, more than half the daily arrivals to the district are expected to be via MRT.
The central urban park, which connects the various quarters of TRX, will be the proverbial jewel in the crown.
“From and operational and maintenance viewpoint, sustainable developments have been proven to be cost-effective. In that sense, TRX is a very attractive project as it is a commercially, socially and environmentally-sustainable development,” said Burro Huppold’s Comer.