So, you’ve done all the research you can about your dream home, and the township you’re about to settle into.
You know where’s the nearest hospital, the best times to avoid congestion on the road, and even which is the best mamak in the area!
But then, you notice that the property you’re living in says it’s "GBI-certified". What does that mean, and how would a GBI-certified development affect your lifestyle?
What is GBI?
Well, first off, the term "GBI" stands for Green Building Index, an environmental rating system for buildings.
It was coined by the Malaysian Institute of Architects (Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia, PAM) and the Association of Consulting Engineers Malaysia (ACEM).
This rating system evaluates the environmental design and performance of buildings based on 6 key criterias:
- Energy Efficiency
- Water Efficiency
- Indoor Environment Quality
- Sustainable Site Planning and Management
- Materials and Resources
Did you know? The first GBI-certified building in Malaysia is the Bangunan Suruhanjaya Tenaga in Putrajaya, shaped like an emerald diamond and home to the headquarters of Energy Commission.
How Is A Township Deemed GBI-Certified?
For a township to be recognised as sustainable, it must be developed on the basis of a balanced approach that addresses environmental, social, and economic issues.
It must also meet its community’s diverse needs, be well-planned, designed, connected, secure, plus, enhance its surrounding environment to offer a greater quality of life for its residents.
The rating helps to achieve the following objectives:
- Promoting a livable neighbourhood and community.
- Promote the protection of the environment and preserve biodiversity.
- Plan and design general facilities that benefit the community.
- Optimise performances and lessen the impact on natural resources.
- Encourage the connectivity of internal and external communities.
- Encourage sustainable townships to balance their ongoing production and consumption (energy, water).
- Develop and assimilate innovative solutions for the present and future.
6 categories determine its GBI score:
- Climate, Energy and Water
- Ecology and Environment
- Community Planning and Design
- Transportation and Connectivity
- Building and Resources
- Business and Innovation
These 6 categories make up a total of 100 points (a final score) and the GBI certification – Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum – depends on the amount of points it has collected.
There are a few townships in Malaysia that are GBI-certified, so we’re about to take a look at a few of them to see who leads the way in green initiatives!
*Editor’s note: The townships on this list are arranged according to their levels, with the top-achiever at the very bottom, so be sure to scroll till the end!
Certified Level (50 – 65 points)
- Size: 1,765 acres
- Types of Property: Townhouses, semi-detached homes, bungalows, villas
- Launch Price: RM480,000 – RM2,350,000
- Estimated GDV: RM550 million
Iskandar Malaysia’s very first GBI-certified development, Leisure Farm is built based on its principle of SEEDS (Sustainability, Energy, Environment, Design, and Security) for the finest eco-living experience.
Its master plan encompasses a captivating mix of the past and present, with a golf and country club nestled in the centre of the township, and natural mangroves, orchards, and creeks at its edges.
2) Eco Horizon @ Bandar Cassia, Penang
- Size: 300 acres
- Types of Property: Terrace homes, bungalows, semi-detached homes, super-link, garden homes
- Launch Price: RM868,000 – RM2.2 million
- Estimated GDV: RM7 billion
Eco Horizon is the first GBI-certified development to be built in Batu Kawan!
Catered to mainland Penangites, it’s poised as an investment opportunity and relatively affordable compared to properties on the island.
Featuring Eco World’s signature ‘Home-In-The-Park’ concept, each precinct has a 20-foot landscaped garden at their perimetres.
The homes also incorporate the design of open, English-style homes with natural ventilation and light.
- Size: 533 acres
- Types of Property: Semi-detached homes, bungalows, link homes, terrace homes, townhouses
- Launch Price: RM870,000 – RM2.4 million
- Estimated GDV: RM8.5 billion
Eco Ardence focuses on stimulating minds through art, culture, and commerce, with many green initiatives under its belt.
Some of these include optimising the design and placement of windows, designated cycling lanes, responsible construction and waste recycling, and even active composting.
A large percentage of the township is dedicated to greenery and bodies of water, like gardens and lakes, to create a visually enhancing and cooling environment.
Residents will also be able to cut down on their electricity bills thanks to energy-efficient electrical and mechanical appliances, plus abundant natural lighting in their homes!
- Size: 1,089 acres
- Types of Property: Apartments, terrace homes, semi-detached homes, cluster homes, bungalows
- Launch Price: RM100,000 – RM645,000
- Estimated GDV: RM11 billion
With beautiful green landscapes all around and various parks, gardens, creeks, and lakes to call your own private retreat, Eco Majestic is a self-sustaining township that puts forth the importance of a lifestyle-focused living environment.
Comprised of 9 distinct precincts, its design and architecture draw inspiration from the Straits era where rustic meets back-to-nature.
Complete with nature-oriented facilities like private gardens and back-lane gardens, the leafy shelters of the Semenyih-Kajang corridor put Eco Majestic in an optimum location.
- Size: 60 acres
- Types of Property: Condominiums, pool villas, double-storey terrace houses, commercial
- Launch Price: RM420,000 – RM590,000
- Estimated GDV: RM500 million
Built for comfort and an energy-efficient lifestyle, Ken Rimba incorporates many of KEN’s philosophies – such as a breathable roof system and strategic wind-flow orientation to maximise the use of natural resources.
Aside from being GBI-certified, Ken Rimba’s other achievements include the BCA Green Mark Gold Award and FIABCI Malaysia Property Award 2014: Sustainable Development Category.
They’ve also bagged the GreenRE Platinum Award (Provisional); thus granting it the title of Malaysia’s 1st Multiple Award-Winning Green Township!
- Size: 25 acres
- Types of Property: Serviced apartments, office towers, retail and hotel
- Launch Price: Average of RM1500 psf (Gross Price)
- Estimated GDV: RM7 billion
As one of the most advanced integrated developments in Malaysia, KL Eco City positions itself as ‘The City of Tomorrow’ with environmental, economic and commercial sustainability in mind.
It offers three corporate towers (with one tower that achieved a Silver level, and another with a Gold level), three phases of luxury residential towers, a five-storey niche retail podium, as well as boutique offices.
It is the first integrated green development that meets the criteria of Malaysia’s Green Building Index (GBI).
The development is also built with Integrated Building Management System, High Indoor Environmental Quality, water efficiency, CO2 sensors, controlled LED lighting, green car parks and electric vehicle charging stations.
- Size: 23.38 acres
- Types of Property: Linked villas, semi-detached homes and bungalow
- Launch Price: From RM1.2 million
- Estimated GDV: RM271 million
Completed in 2016, Setia Marina 2 in Setia Eco Glades, Cyberjaya is an amalgamation of three island phases – the Charms of Nusantara, Sanctuary of Western Heritage and Sanctuary of Eastern Heritage. Making up 23.38 acres of the township, each phase is carefully curated to portray the beauty and heritage of different cultures.
The first phase to launch in 2012, Charms of Nusantara exudes Balinese heritage with its tastefully designed linked villas (30 units), semi-dees (34 units) and bungalows (11 units) using traditional building materials like stones and plastered walls.
Nestled in S P Setia’s Eco-series township Setia Eco Glades, Setia Marina 2 itself contributes to 5.86 acres of green area.
The township offers a total 40 acres of parks and gardens and 40 acres of water bodies with 8 unique fountains, creating and sustaining mini-ecosystems for native flora and fauna.
Silver Level (66 – 75 points)
- Size: 810 acres
- Types of Property: Terraced homes, serviced apartments, linked semi-detached homes, superlink terraced homes, Rumah Selangorku apartments
- Launch Price: RM180,000 – RM1.23 million
- Estimated GDV: RM10.1 billion
A comprehensive township that has it all, the thoughtfully-planned Gamuda Gardens combines work, play, life, and business together to create a town that meets country living, all coexisting in harmony.
Given its expansive size, Gamuda Garden promises the convenience of a modern city alongside a nature lover’s wonderland.
There’s a 50-acre park that offers 5 lakes and a waterfall, a pet-friendly park, well-crafted landscapes, a garden arena and pavilion, and more!
- Size: 1,879 acres
- Types of Property: Double-storey terrace homes, semi-detached homes, apartments, serviced apartments, shop lots
- Launch Price: N/A
- Estimated GDV: RM11 billion
From security to facilities, everything is designed to be as nature-friendly as possible in Bandar Rimbayu.
Utilising the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles to keep the community safe, the township’s award-winning social hub has its own green roof deck and football field and has served as a host for community activities and events.
The homes are environmentally-designed with solar-powered water heaters, rain harvesting systems, and adequate indoor ventilation to maintain its eco-friendly standards.
Along with wide, open green spaces and tranquil lakes, Bandar Rimbayu presents its community with the gift of nature’s touch.
- Size: 808 acres
- Types of Property: Condominiums, office towers, hotels, Sunway Pyramid shopping mall and convention centre, Sunway Lagoon attraction, hospitals, educational institutions
- Launch Price: N/A
- Estimated GDV: RM13.1 billion
Sunway City is an international development favoured by many, with multiple facilities and amenities catered to the convenience of its community; from healthcare, leisure, and lifestyle, to business and education.
Among some of its GBI achievements are shaded footpaths and public spaces (spanning over 50%!), recycled water for irrigation and general usage, handicap and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, ongoing recycling practices and facilities, as well as limiting manufacturing processes to within a 500km radius to reduce carbon emission through transport.
4) Sunway City Iskandar Puteri
- Size: 1,800 acres
- Types of Property: Condominiums, link and courtyard homes, garden villas, link semi-D, semi-detached homes, townhouses, link clusters, international schools, hotels, theme parks, retail shops, commercial lots, healthcare facilities, offices
- Launch Price: N/A
- Estimated GDV: Over RM30 billion
Drawing from their wealth of experience in creating two successfully iconic townships, Sunway City Kuala Lumpur and Sunway City Ipoh, this sustainable development was also created to world-class standards.
This masterplan has integrated 700 acres of equatorial rainforest into the township (part of the 40% greenspace), allowing residents and visitors alike to marvel at the natural elements – the emerald lake, mangrove forest, 7km Pendas River, and Straits of Johor.
In line with their Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Sunway City Iskandar Puteri has deployed solar photovoltaic (PV) technology throughout, as well as pledged to replant a new tree for each one that was removed during the building process.
Currently, the development’s nursery holds over 12,000 trees
, which is part of their commitment towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals 13 and 15.
Gold Level (76 – 85 points)
1) Gamuda Cove Core Business District @ Dengkil, Selangor
- Size: 372 acres (Business district)
- Types of Property: Shoplots, office blocks
- Launch Price: Begins from RM680,000 (residential)
- Estimated GDV: RM20 billion (entire township)
Gamuda Cove’s eco-friendliness isn’t restricted to just its business sector, but throughout the township with a central theme of water, a 60-acre Central Park, 50-acre Discover Park, natural wetlands, and even a theme park slated to open in 2022.
The business district utilises eco-friendly building materials with low carbon footprints, incorporates the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), and even uses low-energy resources.
Green transportation alternatives are available too, in the form of a smart traffic and parking system, trams, shuttle buses, and car-sharing services.
- Size: 19.4 acres
- Types of Property: Office towers, residential suites, a hotel and shopping mall,
- Launch Price: N/A
- Estimated GDV: RM8.7 billion
Set to be the city’s newest landmark, the Bukit Bintang City Centre (BBCC) is home to Malaysia’s soon-to-be tallest building, the PNB 188 skyscraper.
An integrated development that’s strategically located and connected, green lungs can be found throughout in the form of gardens, open spaces, playing fields, and a rooftop park atop the mall.
Its greenery is not just limited to the outdoors, but plays a part in architecture by extending into its interiors to enhance the ambience and aesthetics, optimise energy efficiency, and granting benefits for both personal health and the environment.
- Size: 16 acres
- Types of Property: Semi-detached homes, bungalows, cluster homes, townhouses, condominiums
- Launch Price: N/A
- Estimated GDV: RM800 million
Marvelane introduces M360, a unique and holistic approach to build ideal homes for everyone, encompassing key values such as high quality and standards, fair value and competitive prices, and convenient access to amenities and lifestyle facilities.
Its green initiatives are focused on reducing pollution and carbon footprints, encouraging the growth of nature around its landmark lake, and homes designed to reduce interior heat using insulation, low-energy glass, natural ventilation, and solar PV cells to generate solar energy.
Platinum Level (86 – 100 points)
- Size: 70 acres
- Types of Property: Offices, serviced residences, The Exchange Mall, Kuala Lumpur’s new Central Business District (CBD)
- Launch Price: RM1.44 million – RM2.48 million (serviced residences)
- Estimated GDV: RM40 billion
A new face in Kuala Lumpur’s city skyline, the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) is the one and only township in Malaysia that’s been awarded the Platinum GBI-certification.
With an estimated GDV of RM40 billion and expected to increase in the near future, the TRX will be home to KL’s new Central Business District and Malaysia’s International Financial District.
Additional accolades for the TRX include the provisional LEED recognition for Neighbourhood Development at Gold.
The Tun Razak Exchange has invested heavily in sustainable and eco-friendly initiatives site-wide, such as proper waste water management, pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, energy and cooling utilisation.
Best of all, there’s a 10-acre City Park at its heart with an open green space, sports and play facilities, as well as venue spaces!
Plainly put, a GBI-certified township brings with it the wealth of nature and the environment to create a balanced lifestyle.
Both residents and visitors not only come away rejuvenated and refreshed, but green initiatives are implemented to keep natural resources manageable and renewable.
As eco-friendliness gains popularity in all industries, here’s to hoping that more townships and buildings earn their GBI badge!