Malaysia is aiming for a 45 percent reduction in its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity of GDP by the year 2030. GHG emissions intensity, measured as CO2, is the amount of energy consumed per unit of GDP. While Malaysia and other developing countries are more at risk of high levels of emissions—owing to their ongoing (and sometimes rapid and unsustainable) economic advancements—industrial activities in countries around the world contribute to increasing levels of CO2 emissions and face the same risks of climate change.
The economic impact of climate change, called the social cost—defined by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as "an estimate of the economic damages associated with a small increase in CO2 emissions, conventionally one metric tonne, in a given year," with a dollar figure of US$220 (RM885) per tonne of CO2 emitted—is massive and far-reaching. These include damages to various socio-economic sectors, from declining agricultural yields to low productivity of workers.
Buildings and Global Goals
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) pointed out that "more than 30 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are buildings-related, and emissions could double by 2050 if we carry on business as usual." The rapid urbanisation of developing and industrialised nations would only accelerate the risks, impact and vulnerability.
International governments reached an agreement in December 2015 at the historic United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21 or CMP 11) in Paris to mitigate global emission levels. The Paris Agreement involved 195 participating countries that consented to reduce their carbon footprint as soon as possible to keep global warming well below a permitted 2 degrees C.
In Malaysia, the government has spent around RM2.6 billion to fund 200 green technology projects around the country, with another RM2.3 billion allocated for green projects under the 11th Malaysia Plan. Even as measures have been implemented and opportunities exist to mitigate CO2 emissions, some challenges—such as technological costs, and implementing and managing green projects and processes—remain.
According to the Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the country is well on its way to cutting carbon emissions intensity by 40 percent by 2020, with 33 percent carbon emission intensity achieved this year. Even so, more needs to be done.
To this end, Malaysian consulting and engineering company BLUE SNOW has created a number of energy-efficient mechanical and electrical solutions for more than 20 commercial building, plants and industries across the country. The company was established in 2006 to, among others, assist and enable an increasingly environment-conscious society while tackling the challenges in achieving energy efficiency.
Using some of the latest technology such as the Hourly Analysis Program (HAP) and IES Virtual Environment, BLUE SNOW Consulting and Engineering undertakes building energy modelling in unique energy-intensive environments. It is also managing the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Green Building Index (GBI) certifications for 15 green projects in some of Malaysia's leading infrastructure including KL Sentral, SHELL Malaysia Corporate Headquarters and the PJ Sentral Garden City—one of the country's first ever green townships.
Climate change has far-reaching and disastrous consequences evidenced by the increase in natural disasters and unpredictable weather spells. Over the next decade, populations are projected to rise, which translates into increased demand for housing and buildings, and a subsequent growth in CO2 emissions unless significant changes are implemented now.