Taking a closer look at the business case for green building

Not just for eco warriors: this event showed how going green is now highly prudent and lucrative

Green building is a fast growing industry. Image: ponsulak/Shutterstock

Green building has never been so important or so exciting. According to SCB’s Economic Intelligence Center, there are now more than five million square metres of green buildings in Thailand, which represent a 54 percent average annual growth rate. Globally, green buildings continue to double every three years.

The business case for going green was examined last week in Bangkok at The Green Real Estate, an exclusive event dedicated to green real estate developments in Thailand and the ASEAN.

The intimate, invite-only conference, hosted by Green Building Engineering and Consulting, was held at Anantara Sathorn hotel and attended by many of Bangkok’s leading green and smart building specialists.

The event opened with a keynote speech from Dr. Supachai Tantikom, chief resilience officer for the City of Bangkok under the 100 Resilient Cities program initiated by the Rockefeller Foundation.

“We need to start planning for the future,” he told the room. “Building sustainable cities is the start but businesses need to find ways to create more jobs for people living in the area. Instead of building expensive housing at low cost value, we should focus on green cities that work for everyone.”

Three tech talks then formed the first half of the afternoon speaking sessions, each examining an aspect of green real estate.

Armelle Le Bihan, founder and CEO of Green Building Engineering and Consulting, led the charge by delving into design in her session ‘From concept to blueprint: sustainability is designed before experienced’.

“There is a link between our buildings and the health of our planet and society. There is a correlation between our walls and the air we breathe; between our windows and our stress levels; between our building systems and our climate,” she said.

This was followed by Olivier Gibert, general manager of Somfy Thailand, speaking about ‘Embedding wellbeing through technology: the subtle balance between visual and thermal comfort’, and Sompun Leelapunyaporn, Product Group Manager for Gyproc Saint Gobain, who spoke about ‘Healthy foundations: the material component of healthy indoor environments’.

Two longer sessions ended the afternoon, starting with a showcase of LEED- and WELL-certified development The PARQ and interview with Anthony Arundell and Dan Tantisunthorn of developer Frasers Property Holdings Thailand. “It’s key for us to invest in people for a return on investment,” said Arundell of the company’s philosophy which is becoming increasingly geared towards people-friendly buildings. “Truly intelligent buildings learn and adapt in real time, constantly optimising not only energy performance but also the occupant experience.”

A panel discussion with Andrew Gulbrandson, head of research and consulting for JLL in Thailand and Myanmar, and Audray Souche, managing director and partner at DFDL, ended the day. Moderated by PropertyGuru Property Report’s digital editor Pippa Woodhead, the discussion examined the market trends, green financing, and legal aspects supporting the adoption of green commercial development.

View photos from The Green Real Estate here: