Jakarta. Although culturally distinct, Indonesia and Australia share a common challenge: constructing sustainable cities in a harsh tropical environment. Indonesia’s location on the Equator offers a year-long tropical climate, while Australia’s is slightly more varied.
Austrade, the Australian trade commission, hosted the Tropical Green Building Mission 2014 on May 8-9 in Jakarta and Bandung. Australian firms involved in designing environmentally sustainable urban developments and water and waste management solutions were invited to exchange ideas with developers in Jakarta.
Frequent floods paralyze Indonesian cities and cause significant damage every year. The floods have given a renewed impetus to efforts to make Indonesian cities more resilient against mother nature by adopting more environmentally efficient building standards.
Cairns and Darwin, two cities in northern Australia, are similar to Indonesia. “Cairns has a similar rainfall to Jakarta, and we also overcame floods. The hot and humid climate means we have similar issues,” says Emma Thirkell, facilitator of the Tropical Green Building Network (TGBN).
The TGBN is an Australian organization that brings the construction industry, material manufacturers, retailers, local communities, and the government together to develop building designs in the tropics.
“New technology, and experience in applying it successfully, will be the correct solution for both places’ climate and built environments,” adds Thirkell.
Firms who have experience with local government and communities in Australia’s tropical north attended the mission in Jakarta to seek new business opportunities in the vast archipelagic nation.
Water management is a dominant issue in a tropical city like Jakarta, where many streets have open sewers. Chris Tanner, of Brisbane-based civil engineering firm Bligh Tanner, stated the company has “something to offer in innovative water management.”
“There is also an opportunity to support a connection with the city administrations of Cairns and Bandung,” Thirkell told the Globe. “Especially in relation to the planning of urban environments and bringing about solutions for water and waste problems.”
The Green Building Council Indonesia (GBCI) was established in 2009 and helps to enforce new environmental building regulations passed by Jakarta’s provincial government in 2012.
The new building codes went into effect in mid 2013 and aim to increase energy and water efficiency by reducing emissions and waste. The new regulations apply to existing and planned buildings that occupy at least 50,000 square meters.
The GBCI launched a ratings system for environmentally friendly buildings called “Greenship,” similar to Australia’s “Green Star.” The ratings are based on land use, energy efficiency, water conservation, source materials, air quality, and environmental management.