Green building incentives not eco friendly

Where is the logic when sustainable energy initiatives are rewarded with higher density and non-sustainable developments elsewhere?

It is with incredulity that Penang Forum notes that incentives being offered in the Guidelines for attaining Green Building Index (GBI) certification in Batu Kawan Eco-City include a whopping 20-40 per cent increase in density and plot ratio which can be used by the developer on “projek yang lain dan boleh diguna diseleruhan negeri Pulau Pinang” (any other project throughout the state of Penang)!

Surely any policy-making with any breadth of vision would encompass an overview of the entire State and its direction towards sustainability. These incentives project a vision that is focussed only on a small part of the mainland – a ‘show case’ – while actually encouraging and emboldening the proliferation of massive non-sustainable and non-eco-friendly moves for the rest of the island and mainland.

The Planning Department of MPSP may try to downplay this unacceptable incentive by saying “..dengan syarat saiz pembangunan yang tersebut adalah sama dengan saiz projek yang diberi pengiktirafan” (with the condition that the size of that development must be the same size as the recognized GBI project in Batu Kawan).

It goes on to say that if the new development elsewhere is larger, then the developer can only use the increased density for a portion equivalent to the Batu Kawan GBI project.

Where is the logic if the vision is really to promote ecologically sustainable and planned development throughout Penang?

The State and Local Authorities not only have the right, they have the obligation to require these public amenities and standards for the greater good of the people without the need to provide compensatory incentives that reduce overall sustainability.

The people of Penang look to our leaders to direct planners to think of the people at large first, and not to sectional interests.

Penang Forum Steering Committee
5 July 2015

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