News Straits Times, 16th October 2015:
A SOLID sustainability infrastructure is a must for developments today to attract world-class businesses, as green credentials have increasingly become necessary corporate requirements for multinational corporations (MNCs).
Recognising this, Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) is investing in green facilities covering waste water management, energy and cooling utilisation, digital infrastructure and public spaces to create a truly sustainable international financial district.
In recent years, MNCs, often seen as standard bearers for global best practices, are compelled to uphold a certain level of commitment towards being more environmentally responsible, as awareness surrounding conservation issues rose worldwide.
This includes leading global banks and marquee financial institutions, which have their own internal sustainable standards often tied to their corporate image and corporate responsibility programmes.
“Blue-chip companies will be looking at developments that would allow them to provide brand enhancements of themselves, and that display very good sustainable green credentials,” said Andrew Comer, partner and director of the Cities Group at BuroHappold 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 partners to ensure that TRX can meet the sustainable development target that we’re trying to achieve, from waste water 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 water waste, with a plant that will be three times smaller than a conventional water treatment plant. It can remove over 95 per cent of the pollutants, with a peak capacity to treat 553m3waste per hour.
“This is equivalent to treating an average person’s annual waste in nine minutes.”
Recycled water produced by the plant will be channeled back for toilet flushing, district cooling usage and landscaping upkeep, reducing the district demand for potable water by more than 50 per cent. The treatment plant will be designed to blend well with the district facade and will operate under negative pressure and use an odour removal technology that eliminates foul smells.
This is essential in preserving the atmosphere of TRX as a lush urban park.
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 of the daily arrivals to the district are expected to be via MRT.
Its central urban park, which connects the various quarters of the district, will be the proverbial jewel in the crown.
“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 landscape architectural firm Grant Associates.
This involves aspects such as the pavements, the various types of plants populating the park, and lighting as a way of holding the entire project together through its open spaces.
Another key conservation feature for TRX is its district cooling system, where supply of energy for air conditioning will be produced by a centralised plant, and distributed via pipelines to user locations.
The TRX district cooling system will be offered to its commercial tenants, said Azmar.
Due to the economies of scale made available by the centralised chiller, district cooling offers significantly more energy-efficient air conditioning system compared with individual air conditioning systems, cutting energy usage by up to a third.
“From an 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.