Green Building

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Project of the Month


Sonnenbaum choice of project for September is total green concept which focuses on sustainability for a manufacturing factory located in Klang. The green and sustainability concept involves creating a structure and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource efficient throughout a building life cycle, taking into a count all phases of a building’s life, including material production, transportation to site, construction process as well as the operation of the building up to the final stage of deconstruction or demolition.



One of the solutions to ensure the sustainability is through the usage of steel as the foundation for the building, rather than the traditional method of concrete. Modern day construction steel is made primarily of recyclable steel saving 70% of the resources. On top of this, using recyclable material such as steel for construction ensures energy savings in terms of material production, hence contributing towards a reduction in carbon emission. In fact, buildings made from steel are so popular nowadays that huge company has started focusing on steel construction saving up to 20% of CO2 emission. Steel construction is also known to have a low waste generation, with minimal usage of wood for the concrete casting. One primarily good advantage of steel construction is the high recycling rate. As such, Sonnenbaum suggested that the factory be made of steel structure.


Construction phase


One of the primary benefits of steel construction is the nature of the construction whereby it can be prefabricated at an offsite manufacturing plant, ensuring quality as well optimizing site resources as well as space. This in time reduces lead time as well as transportation and neighbourhood nuisance. Steel, being 30% lighter, means lesser foundation requirement, ensuring the construction speed with less wastage without compromising quality. Steel construction utilizes a concept of “prefabrication at the factory, assemble at site” and as such ensuring the wastage of material, as well as the environmental effect of what normal construction material impose.



The design stage is the most vital part of a “green building” concept. With proper design, wastage can be achieved at a maximum scale. With steel construction, material consumption is greatly reduces, with conventional material such as outer wooding frame for the concrete not being utilize at all. As such, the less foundation is required saving natural resources up to 70% with the same quality. This also ensures lower energy consumption. Steel has the capacity to be modified over time adapting to comfort as well as space, adding to the ease of maintenance and most importantly reduce wastage through full material and space utilization. Steel is also known to have the highest strength to weight ratio of all structural materials, hence ensuring the strength of the buildings and the life span it carries with it.



The operation stage is amongst the vital part of the life cycle being the longest duration. As such, this stage has to be taken with great consideration. For this, Sonnenbaum proposes the usage of the new technology electrodeless discharge lamps. The lamp bulbs gives out light stimulated by electromagnetic induction and as such light is generated via a gas discharge through simple magnetism. The unusual shape of the lamps maximizes the efficiently of the fields that are generated. The electrodeless discharge lamps have a higher luminent capacity when compared to normal lamps with filament and as such, on top of consuming less energy, the number of light can also be greatly reduced. With these lamps, the factory was design by Sonnenbaum to contain only 80 of these light, when compared to the conventional lamps, of which 150 was required. This provides economical advantage for the factory while at the same reducing the carbon footprint.



Although the deconstruction process has yet to begin in a significant number of years of operation, the deconstruction process has to be taken into account when designing a green concept building. Steel is known to possess a reusability criteria ensuring minimal wastage. On top of all of this, steel has 100% recyclable properties (steel is the most recycled material in the world) without compromising the quality of the material.


The value in recycling steel is also seen in the use of only 25% of the energy required to create new steel from raw materials when mining, manufacturing, and transportation are all part of the equation. Each ton of recycled steel saves twenty five hundred pounds of iron ore, one thousand pounds of coal, and forty pounds of limestone.

With all the measures taken, Sonnenbaum managed to ensure that the factory saves 80% of energy with 50% of the cost.


This article was written by Mohammad Faeez Mohamad Fadhlillah, Managing Director of Sonnenbaum. 


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