Currently, most of the highrise buildings in Malaysia are using fully air conditioning systems which ducted mechanical systems with heating, cooling and humidity control. Some of them are using zoned type of mixed mode ventilation, but the air conditioned areas are much greater than areas using natural ventilation. Therefore, this scenario leads to high capital and high operating cost for the buildings.
There are also a few examples of high rise office buildings in Malaysia that using partly natural ventilation system such as UMNO Tower in Penang and Mesiniaga Tower in Kuala Lumpur. There are also high-rise condominium towers such as TTDI Plaza, TTDI Residence & Idamen Residence in Kuala Lumpur that were designed to be naturally ventilated. Not forgetting, hundreds of high rise social housing throughout the country that are supposed to be naturally ventilated. However, most of these buildings were transformed to be fully air conditioned either for the whole building or whole unit or individual rooms by building or unit owners due to thermal comfort issue. The main problem contributes to this scenario is by poor façade design that is not reflected and not compliant to Malaysia’s climate condition.
This study is vital to resolve the high rise design problem that occurs in Malaysia’s building construction. Moreover, there is no design guidelines or best practice documents that describe in detail the appropriate façade design for naturally ventilated high rise buildings in Malaysia. The absence of these documents makes the problems prolonged without awareness initiatives.
Referring to above statement, most of the people who live in high-rise high density social housing are people who categorised as low income group. They are not affordable to install air conditioning system in their houses. This group is the most affected by the poor designed building compare to others. Therefore, this study is so significant to change the unwanted normality as to provide a better housing for them.
This study contributes to social development by providing a proper place to live for the low income families. As the electricity tariff getting higher each year, this design solution could give a better option for them to live in comfortable house like others. The savings derived from reduced dependence on air conditioning could be spent on the social development of children in the future.
In terms of economic development, hundreds of millions could be saved by Malaysian government on electricity bills each year by reducing the dependency on air conditioning. At the moment, hundreds of standard (medium rise) government offices are using mixed mode ‘zoned type’ ventilation and only small area of services is using natural ventilation. However, the current trend for government buildings are built in compact high rise form which totally air conditioned. This scenario contributes to waste of government money to be spent each year for excessive electricity bills. Previous study has mentioned that government of Malaysia has spent 1.5 billions for electricity bills each year. If this sum can be saved, it could be very useful to be used in developing the country’s economy in the future.
It is undeniable that this study has a massive impact on social and economic development of Malaysia in the future. As one of tropical countries that sitting near the equator line, Malaysia can not avoid the problem of global warming. It is about the time to create a better built environment for the people as well as the country’s economic viability.
Written by Firrbudi aka Lensahijau : 30th June 2015