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3 METHODOLOGY

Methodology

3.1 Introduction

Figure 3.1 An overall diagram of the research process

In their book Architectural Research Methods, Groat and Wang discuss the
use of a diagrammatic structure which places the literature review in relation
to the overall research process.89Figure 3.1 illustrates the research process
that forms this thesis. The diagrammatic described by Groat and Wang is as
follows:

“The researcher looks in two directions. On one hand there is the question
being pursued; on the other there is the audience that must ultimately receive
the research results. The research question is accessed by means of
research strategies and tactics. The arrows drawn from the literature to the
various junctures of the research process indicate literature review; it is
evident that literature review contributes to every aspect of the process. The
research result relates to the literature by expanding it. The process is a
dynamic one: The relationship between the topic of inquiry, the actions taken
to access it, and the researcher’s own thinking is an ever-changing reality.”90

89
Groat, L & Wang, D 2002, Architectural Research Methods, John Wiley & Sons, USA, pp.47-48.
90
Ibid.

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Methodology

Figure 3.2 outlines the research methodology derived from the research
process shown in Figure 3.1. The scope of data studied for this project was
sourced from various documents and publications, as well as some empirical
observations. In order to address the problem statement more efficiently, it
was intended for the selected research methods to contribute towards the
gaps of knowledge in regards to the reasons behind the lack of
environmentally sustainable elements in Malaysia’s terraced housing
developments. The study is focused on housing developments completed or
scheduled for completion between 2006 and 2010.

Figure 3.2 Outline of research methodology

The following methodologies employ a qualitative and quantitative approach,


to suit the range of gathered data:
a) A questionnaire was created to obtain personal opinions and
perceptions of the participants on the topic of terraced housing design
in Malaysia with a focus on environmental sustainability. Further
details are available in section 3.2.

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Methodology

b) Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the willing participants


in the form of further discussions on the responses given in the
questionnaire. Further details are available in section 3.3.
c) Categories of case studies were formed to group the various housing
projects that were looked at in order to examine the terraced housing
in Malaysia. The categories consist of typical terraced housing
developments, terraced housing developments purporting to adopt
environmentally sustainable elements and alternatives to the current
form of terraced housing. Further details are available in section 3.4.

The questionnaire and interviews are a qualitative approach as the outcome


consists of identifying values and perspectives of the participants which are
subjective and would not be possible via a quantitative approach. However,
the statistics compiled from the questionnaire responses are quantifiable, and
a quantitative approach is also used to analyse images and diagrams which
are a key element of the case studies. The research outcome is the result of
a combined analysis of the data obtained from using both qualitative and
quantitative methods.

The use of both a qualitative and quantitative approach via the data collection
and analysis process involving the literature review, questionnaire, interviews
and case studies, develops a triangulation in the method. Defined as data
collection using multiple methods such as observation, interviewing and
record review, and subsequent examination of the data for congruence
across methods, triangulation is a technique used to achieve
comprehensiveness in data collection.91 Fellows and Liu state that as
triangulated studies employ two or more research techniques, qualitative and
quantitative approaches may be employed to reduce the disadvantages of
each individual approach, whilst gaining the advantages of each as well as
the combination which provides a multi-dimensional view of the subject.92

91
Downs, F 1999, Readings in Research Methodology, 2nd edn, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, pp.55.
92
Fellows, R & Liu, A 2008, Research Methods for Construction, 3rd edn, Wiley-Blackwell, United Kingdom, pp.28.

47
Methodology

3.2 Questionnaire

The questionnaire was developed based on the research aim, which is to


determine the feasibility of successfully introducing environmentally
sustainable attributes into future housing developments for Malaysia’s
masses. This questionnaire was constructed upon reference to a
questionnaire on sustainable building, design and construction, by
M.Landman, as the format was suitable and time constraints prevented the
development of a better suited format93.

The Plain Language Statement and Consent Form94 for the participants
stated that the purpose of the questionnaire was to summarise the current
significance of environmentally sustainable design in Malaysian mass
residential development. The participants were informed that they were
invited to participate as their views on environmentally sustainable design in
relation to Malaysia’s terraced houses would aid in drawing a conclusion on
the feasibility of introducing the green factor into housing for the masses.

The process of completing the questionnaire involved reading a Fact Sheet


attached at the beginning, briefly defining sustainable building and
highlighting the status of the terraced house in the Malaysian residential
statistical context. A complete questionnaire set provided to all participants,
including the Fact Sheet is attached as Appendix 3.

The participants of this questionnaire were identified solely by their


profession or status in relation to Malaysia’s housing scene. The three main
target groups were developers, architects and home owners. A letter of
invitation to participate in the questionnaire and interview was sent out to
individuals from the various target groups.95

93
Landman,M, Questionnaire on Sustainable Building Design, retrieved 13 November 2007,
<http://www.egret.net/sbquestionnaire.htm>
94
Refer to Appendix 3 for Plain Language Statement & Consent Form.
95
Refer to Appendix 4 for Letter of Invitation.

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Methodology

Target Groups No. of individuals No. of responses


contacted
Developers 7 2
Architects / Interior 10 7
Architects
Home Owners 10 7
Others 8 2
Total 35 18

Table 3.1 Questionnaire target groups and number of responses received96

8 of the 17 participants filled in the questionnaire in the author’s presence.


The remaining 9 participants submitted their responses via mail and e-mail.

Other Developer
12% 6%

Home Owner
Architect 41%
41%

Figure 3.3 Percentage breakdown of participants

The participants are all Malaysians, mainly from Kuala Lumpur. The Architect
category also includes Interior Architects. The industry professionals
contacted were identified based on their involvement with residential projects.
The intention was to obtain a similar number of participants representing
each category.

Home Owners and Architects were easiest to access, each representing 41%
of the participants. 12% of the participants are represented by Others, which
consist of individuals related to the construction industry via an academic
background. Developers are least represented, taking up only 6%.

96
Due to unforeseen circumstances prior to the questionnaire responses being tabled, a questionnaire from one
developer was lost and unable to be replaced, resulting in a total of 17 responses.

49
Methodology

Question 1 aimed to gauge the level of familiarity of the participants on the


subject of environmentally sustainable design prior to reading the attached
Fact Sheet. This question would aid in identifying the current significance of
sustainable building issues in the context of Malaysian housing.

Question 2 aimed to obtain the participants’ viewpoint on the importance of


having housing estates adopt environmentally sustainable principles into the
design and construction phase.

Question 3’s intention was to obtain some insight on the mindset of the
participants on the factors that influenced the adoption of sustainable
principles.

Questions 4 to 6 sought a response on the issue in relation to higher


authority. These questions would help identify the role of guidelines and laws
affecting the environmentally sustainable elements of housing.

Question 7 allowed for the participants to rate the current housing estates,
enabling a conclusion to be made on the factors that appear to be controlling
the outcomes of the present housing developments.

Questions 8 to 11 aimed to identify the significance of the various groups


involved in Malaysia’s housing scene, in relation to the adoption of
environmentally sustainable attributes into future housing developments for
the masses.

With this research task, a quantitative approach is applied to the data


collection and analysis of the questionnaire which involves making
measurements.97 Interval data and ordinal data, both quantitative in nature
are obtained from parts of the questionnaire. Interval data involves the
measurement of variables on an independent scale with equal units of

97
Fellows, R & Liu, A 2008, Research Methods for Construction, 3rd edn, Wiley-Blackwell, United Kingdom, pp.97.

50
Methodology

measurement98, as reflected in the questionnaire by Question 8. Ordinal data


is used as a means of assigning order or ranks to a set of data99, as reflected
in the questionnaire by Question 3.

3.3 Interviews

The interview involved the participants expressing their thoughts and


opinions on the areas covered by the questionnaire. The semi-structured
nature of this interview section resulted in participants occasionally getting
side tracked with the content of their responses. Notes were taken by the
author documenting the responses from the participants.

From the range of the participants who responded to the questionnaire, those
who were willing to continue with the semi-structured interviews were all
architects. From the 8 respondents who filled in the questionnaires in the
author’s presence, only 3 proceeded with the interview.

3.4 Case Studies

Robert Yin defines a case study as “an empirical inquiry that investigates a
contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context especially when the
boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident.”100 The
selection of the following case studies was driven by the content of the
literature review:

Category 1 – Typical terraced housing


Case Study 1 - Bukit Prima Pelangi 2 Storey Terraced Houses
Case Study 2 - Opal 2 Storey Terraced Houses
Case Study 3 - Studio M 2 Storey Terraced Houses

98
Holt, G 1998, A guide to successful dissertation study for students of the built environment, 2nd edn, The Built
Environment Research Unit, United Kingdom, pp.101.
99
Ibid.
100
Yin, RK 2003, Case Study Research, 3rd edn, Sage Publications, United Kingdom, pp.13.

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Methodology

Category 2 – Connecting with the environment


Case Study 4 - 20 Trees 3 Storey Terraced Houses

Category 3 – Alternative Options


Case Study 5 - Affordable ‘Idaman’ Homes – Honeycomb Housing Concept
Case Study 6 - The Raised Floor Prototype

All the case studies, with an exception of Case Study 6 have been completed
or are scheduled for completion in this 5 year bracket : 2006 – 2010.
Category 1 represents a range of typical double storey terraced houses
catering for the lower and higher ends of the Malaysian housing market.
Category 2 represents a housing development promoting a connection of the
house with the surrounding natural environment. Category 3 represents
alternative housing concepts, breaking away from the existing Malaysian
terraced house typology, while matching its density levels.

The information obtained for these case studies is what is made available to
the general public via published media, sections sourced from the architect or
developer and/or developers show units.

Case Study Data Sources


1 Site Visit, Home Owners Drawings, Developer’s website
2 Developer’s website, Other websites
3 Developer’s website, Other websites
Site Visit, Developer’s Sales Brochure, Developer’s website, Other websites,
4
Newspaper articles
Interview with Architect, Architect’s website, Developer’s website, Other
5
websites, Newspaper articles
6 Published papers, Websites, Newspaper articles

Table 3.2 Data sources for case studies

The case studies are of a linear-analytic structure and are partly descriptive
and partly explanatory.101 The key question the case studies will try to answer

101
Yin, RK 2003, Case Study Research, 3rd edn, Sage Publications, United Kingdom, pp.152.

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Methodology

are how the design of the house / housing development affects the end-user
and environment.

3.5 Analysis of Data

With the questionnaires, the tabled responses are analysed based on the
content of the response, quantities of responses as well as the type of
participant. Several questions use itemised rating scales to obtain a
measurement of attitudes.102 These rating scales provide interval data as
numbers are allocated to each response, allowing for an easy and versatile
analysis of the data.103

The interview responses have been edited and omitted where they
overlapped with the responses given in the questionnaire, resulting in a
summary of key points made by the 3 participants. This summary
supplements the results obtained from the questionnaire responses.

The case studies fall within the general framework of correlational research
as causal-comparative studies. Causal-comparative studies define the case
studies as comparable physical environments have been selected prior to the
collection of data on a variety of relevant variables.104 Groat and Wang state
that “the purpose of selecting comparable examples is to isolate the factor(s)
that could reveal a ‘cause’ for significant differences in the levels of measure
variables.”105 The data representing each house put forward as a case study
has been analysed under the following sections:

Greenery
Areas in Malaysia which are generally turned into housing developments vary
from natural rainforests and wetlands to agricultural plantations and former

102
Brace, I 2004, Questionnaire Design, Kogan Page, United Kingdom, pp.79.
103
Ibid.
104
Groat, L & Wang, D 2002, Architectural Research Methods, John Wiley & Sons, USA, pp.215.
105
Ibid.

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Methodology

mining grounds. This section looks at the condition of the natural


environment before and after the site has been developed.

Spatial Organisation
Said, Shaminan and Salleh from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s Department
of Architecture, point out in the their paper on terraced housing that terraced
houses are generally single or double storey, but a high demand for such
housing has brought about 2 and a half and three storey versions since
1991.106 The case studies are mostly double storey terraced houses.

These houses generally comprise 5 rooms, 3 bathrooms, a living area, dining


area, kitchen, front yard and back yard. The front yard typically contains a car
porch and a garden. The back yard is typically used for laundry, outdoor
storage and in most cases an extension of the kitchen. This section of the
analysis examines the spatial allocations and adjacencies of each house
from a utilitarian perspective.

Thermal Comfort
“Thermal comfort is subjective. It is said to exist where 80% of those persons
exposed to an environment indicate that it is ‘comfortable’ on the following
scale : cold – cool – comfortable – warm – hot.”107 M.P Davis, a visiting
scientist at the Universiti Putra Malaysia, concludes that the thermal comfort
zone for Malaysia is within 24 to 28 degrees Celcius, based on simple
experiments conducted on the university grounds.108 This section of the
analysis estimates how the design and building materials of the houses affect
the levels of thermal comfort in the interior spaces.

Energy Consumption
M.P.Davis states that the ceiling fan commonly used in all terraced houses,
does not cool a room but creates an artificial wind which makes us feel 2

106
Said, I, Shahminan, R & Salleh, R, Reintroduction of Ventilation Components for Terrace Houses in Malaysia,
Department of Architecture, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, retrieved 14 August 2008,
<http://www.arch.hawaii.edu/site/Events/Symposia/EW99/pdfs/said.pdf >
107
Davis, MP, Ghazali, M & Nordin, NA 2006, Thermal Comfort Honeycomb Housing, Universiti Putra Malaysia,
Kuala Lumpur, pp.27.
108
Ibid.

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Methodology

degrees Celcius cooler by evaporating moisture on the skin, thus enabling


tolerance towards a 30 degree Celcius room temperature.109 With a large
number of the general urban population working in indoor environments, the
daily exposure to air-conditioned interiors has caused the reliance on air-
conditioned interiors to increase. This is possibly a main reason behind the
increasing presence of air-conditioning units in terraced houses.

The ceiling fan generally consumes 1/10th of a wall-mounted air-conditioning


units wattage (depending on the models). Reducing the need for air-
conditioning units and maximising the use of available natural light in a house
will significantly reduce levels of energy consumption. This section of the
analysis estimates how the design and building materials of the houses affect
the energy consumption levels of the occupants in regards to cooling and
lighting.

The following chapter presents the results of the data analysis.

109
Davis, MP, Ghazali, M & Nordin, NA 2006, Thermal Comfort Honeycomb Housing, Universiti Putra Malaysia,
Kuala Lumpur, pp.30.

55
4 RESULTS
Results

4.1 Results : Questionnaire

1. How familiar were you on the subject of environmentally sustainable design prior to
reading the attached fact sheet?

Very Somewhat Barely Not at all

Developer 1 - - -

Home Owner 1 4 2 -

Architect 1 5 1 -

Other 1 1 - -

Number of
4 10 3 0
Participants

Table 4.1 Response to Question 1

Barely Not at all


Very
18% 0%
24%

Somewhat
58%

Figure 4.1 Percentage breakdown of response to Question 1

58% of the participants claim to be somewhat familiar. With 41% of the


participants represented by Architects, this outcome is a fairly predictable
one. There was however one architect who responded with being barely
familiar. The percentage of participants who are very familiar and barely
familiar with the subject only differ by 6%.

Having an equal number of participants represent each category would have


allowed for a comparison to be done based on the participants profession.
With no participants claiming to know nothing at all on the subject, I believe
an issue which could potentially affect the accuracy of the responses is that

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Results

the participants may have responded based on what they think they should
know, as opposed to what they actually know.

2. Should future housing estates aimed at the masses, adopt environmentally


sustainable principles into the design and construction phase?

Yes No

Developer (D) 1 -

Architect (A) 7 -

Home Owner (H) 7 -

Other (O) 2 -

Number of
17 0
Participants

Why? 1. To help to play a part in the world to A


minimise global warming

2. We should adopt a more responsible


response to the environment in order to A
safeguard the future of our livelihood on this
planet.

3. With climatic changes (due to global


warming), there is an increase of energy A
used to cool houses down. More clients are
looking for alternatives to save electricity
costs.

4. Being an architect who is involved in hill


A
development, I view environmental
resources very seriously or the lack of care
given to the environment currently.

5. A considerably large amount of homes built


in the country are designed for the masses A
and have a large impact on the land in the
country.

6. Adopting sustainable environmental


conscious ideas and materializing it in A
general are appropriate for most massing
project development not only specifically for
housing estate alone. A development is
ought to consume less energy, however in
most circumstances, in order to attain a
complete self-sustainable development, the
upfront cost tends to be on the high-side.

7. They are the greatest contributors to either A

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Results

sustainable or non-sustainable practices,


which gives the largest impact in terms of
volume. D

8. Housing for the masses need enormous


amounts of resources and use up a lot of
land which will have a great impacts on all
environmental issues (whether negatively or H
positively) and eventually affect the well-
being of the whole country.

9. Our environment is depleting by the day. H


We must do our part to sustain livability on
Earth.

10. We need to be cognisant of the


environmental impact on our lives & take H
care of it.

11. Play their part in protecting the environment.


H
12. It will mark a permanent departure from the
traditional design methods which are not
environmentally friendly & for the betterment
H
of future generations.

13. Reduce global warming. H

14. Reduce environmental impact such as


H
encouraging public transport use and
reducing power usage for cooling/heating.

15. N/A

16. Environmental sustainability may be new to


Malaysia, but the concept has been
O
practiced widely in many countries such as
UK, US and I believe Australia has their
share in improving their construction in
terms of better sustainability. Malaysia
should not be left behind in this global
interest. Apart from protecting the
environment, sustainable principles will
benefit the social and economic as well, in
longer term.

17. Rapid depletion of natural resources due to


factors like greedy developers; at the O
expense of environment.

Table 4.2 Response to Question 2

The accuracy of the responses to this question may be affected as the


participants may have been obliged to answer ‘Yes’ based on the nature of

59
Results

this questionnaire. The aim of the second half of this question was to
discourage biased responses.

The various responses do have a slight overlay which can be summarized


with the following:
(i) the need to protect and be responsible towards the condition of the
environment.
- though generic, this response represents 46% of the participants.
(ii) reducing the impact of global warming.
- though this does not relate directly to the question, it is a
response given by one Architect and one Home Owner.
(iii) reducing levels of energy consumption.
- this response is given by 2 Architects and 1 Home Owner,
representing 18% of the participants.
(iv) acknowledging that the scale of housing estates for the masses will
significantly contribute to the condition of the environment.
- this response is given by 2 Architects and 1 Developer,
representing 18% of the participants.

3. Based on the question above (Q2), rank the influence of the following factors:
Construction Costs, End-user comfort, Aesthetics, Maintenance Costs.

Factors Scale Frequency Analysis Rank

1 2 3 4 < 2.5 > 2.5

Number of Participants % %

Construction Costs 10 2 2 3 71 29 1

End-user comfort 6 5 5 1 65 35 2

Maintenance Costs 0 8 5 4 47 53 3

Aesthetics 1 2 5 9 18 82 4

Table 4.3 Response to Question 3

The ranking results represent the influence of the factors on the adoption of
environmentally sustainable principles into the design and construction phase
of future housing estates for the general public. Based on Table 4.3,

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Results

Construction Costs is the most influential factor and Aesthetics is the least
influential factor.

Construction Costs ranked as Aesthetics ranked as Least


Most Influential factor Influential factor

Developer 1 -

Architect 2 5

Home Owner 5 4

Other 2 -

Number of
10 9
Participants

Table 4.4 Further Breakdown of Response to Question 3

The majority of participants who nominated Construction Costs as the most


influential factor are Home Owners. A total of 5 out of 7 participants from the
Architect category, and 4 out of 7 participants from the Home Owner
category nominated Aesthetics as the least influential factor.

4. Would you support the incorporation of environmentally sustainable principles for


residential buildings into the current Uniform Building By-Laws?

Yes No

Developer
1 -
(D)

Architect
6 1
(A)

Home
7 -
Owner (H)

Other (O) 2 -

Number of
Participant 16 1
s

Percentage 94% 6%

Why? 1. It is a topic I would want the Malaysian 17. Will prefer a A


by-laws to consider and enforce. There A different set of
is a lot of talk about it, but nothing has documents which

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Results

been pushed forward. acts as a


guideline only.
2. To force change. A Not a set of laws.
3. Inclusion of this in the UBBL (Uniform As environmental
Building By-laws) will make owners, sustainable
principles should
architects and developers contribute
towards creating a sustainable also be flexible to
A enable creativity,
environment. Perhaps the local
not inflexible like
authority/government can encourage
developers by giving tax exemptions if a set of laws.
they adopt green building concepts,
hence creating more awareness among
the public.

4. Because the environmentally sustainable


principles would protect the environment A
as the current by-laws only protect the
users.

5. Regulate and govern the use of the term


and control the use of the types of
A
materials used.

6. Responsibility and sense of right and


wrong. A
7. This will force all developers, designers
& builders to conform to sustainable
principles in the interest of the whole D
community.

8. We have to play our part as home


owners if we are to see viable changes
in restoring our environment. Home H
owners are the first port of call to make
this happen.

9. Put your money where your mouth is.

10. Personal contribution towards the H


environments protection.
H
11. Because people are expected to follow
the laws & thus change mind-sets. H

12. Can implement objectives.

13. To make it mandatory for developers to H


incorporate said principles in their H
projects.

14. This can make sure all new application


of building approval fulfill the H
environmental sustainable requirements.

15. The lack of enforcement is the major

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Results

setback for sustainable construction


implementation. By incorporating this
principle in the by-laws, it will make it
regulatory for the builders to incorporate O
this principle in their projects.

16. Currently there exist; eg. public hearing.


But very minimal. Should also
incorporate into construction to ensure
developers follow. O

Table 4.5 Response to Question 4

The accuracy of the responses to this question may be affected as the


participants may have been obliged to answer ‘Yes’ based on the nature of
this questionnaire. The aim of the second half of this question was to
discourage biased responses.

The 94% of ‘Yes’ responses do have a slight overlay which is the perception
that laws would enforce change that was necessary in regards to
environmental sustainability. This perception is shared by 69% of the
participants who answered ‘Yes’, with the majority represented by the
Architect category.

The 1 participant who responded with a ‘No’ is an architect who feels that
laws are restrictive and would be more comfortable with an official set of
guidelines.

5. Would you support a local Green Building Council which had a mission to promote
the adoption of environmentally sustainable principles into mainstream design,
construction and operation of buildings?

Yes No

Developer
1 -
(D)

Architect (A) 7 -

Home
6 1
Owner (H)

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Results

Other (O) 2 -

Number of
16 1
Participants

Percentage 94% 6%

Why? 1. Putting theory into action. A 1. Can be H


incorporated in
2. To benefit the environment and the A existing framework.
population.

3. Having guidelines would allow


architects who want to design green A
buildings have a model or prototype as a
reference.
A
4. Because you need a group who can
constantly re-interpret the protections &
measures needed for our ever changing
environment.

5. There is a need for a strong body to A


work with relevant bodies such as PAM
on this matter.
A
6. Responsibility and sense of right and
wrong. To be able to share my opinion
too.
A
7. Only if qualified people are on the
council, and their decision shall not be
final. Check and balances are essential.
D
8. People first need to be educated on
environmentally sustainable principles,
and a Green Building Council lends
credibility and emphasizes the urgency
for their application. H

9. The council acts as the middle man


between the home owners &
government, therefore their role is of H
utmost importance.

10. Becomes part and parcel of H


development. As the unleaded fuel
campaign has achieved its aims.

11. Personal contribution towards the H


environments protection.
H
12. To secure environmental
consciousness at decision making levels.

13. As a form of education. H


14. The current ministry department in

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Results

charge should be more proactive not only


at policy level but also at implementation
level.

15. The lack of enforcement is the major O


setback for sustainable construction
implementation. By incorporating this
principle in the by-laws, it will make it
regulatory for the builders to incorporate
this principle in their projects. O

16. A comprehensive adoption will


increase the rate of success. Citizens will
benefit better living with reduced impact
to the environment.

Table 4.6 Response to Question 5

The accuracy of the responses to this question may be affected as the


participants may have been obliged to answer ‘Yes’ based on the nature of
this questionnaire. The aim of the second half of this question was to
discourage biased responses.The 94% of ‘Yes’ responses do have a slight
overlay which can be summarised with the following:
(i) the presence of the council would provide a sense of guidance and
authority in a positive manner.
- this response, with the majority from the Architect category
represents 37.5% of the participants who answered ‘Yes’.
(ii) the council would aid in contributing towards the protection and
preservation of the environment.
- this response represents 25% of the participants who answered
‘Yes’.
(iii) the role of an educator on the subject of environmental
sustainability would be created for professionals and the general
public.
- this response is given by 1 Developer and 1 Home Owner,
representing 12.5% of the participants who answered ‘Yes’.

The 1 participant who responded with a ‘No’ is a home owner who feels that
a green building council should be part of the existing local government
authorities.

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Results

6. Based on the questions above(Q4+Q5), rank the following factors in order of


importance: A Healthy Surrounding Environment, Building Aesthetics, Health of
Building Occupant, Comfort of Building Occupant, Preservation of the Environment
for Future Generations.

Factors Scale Frequency Rank


Analysis

1 2 3 4 5 < +3 > +3

Number of % %
Participants

Health of Building Occupant 8 3 6 0 0 100 0 1

A Healthy Surrounding 5 7 4 1 0 94 29 2
Environment

Preservation of the Environment 3 5 3 5 1 65 53 3


for

Future Generations

Comfort of Building Occupant 1 2 4 9 1 41 82 4

Building Aesthetics 0 0 0 2 15 0 100 5

Table 4.7 Response to Question 6

The ranking results represent the importance of the listed factors in relation
to the adoption of environmentally sustainable principles into the design and
construction phase of future buildings via authoritative bodies. Based on
Table 4.7, Health of Building Occupant is seen as the most important factor
and Building Aesthetics is seen as the least important factor. The Health of
Building Occupant factor in this question is meant to represent physical
health.

Health of Building Occupant


Building Aesthetics ranked as
ranked as Most Important
Least Important factor
factor

Developer 1 -

Architect 3 6

Home Owner 3 7

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Results

Other 1 2

Number of
8 15
Participants

Table 4.8 Further Breakdown of Response to Question 6

7. Based on current housing estates, how would you rank the following factors in
order of importance : Construction Costs, Aesthetics, Thermal Comfort, Efficient
space utilisation.

Factors Scale Frequency Analysis Rank

1 2 3 4 < 2.5 > 2.5

Number of Participants % %

Efficient Space Utilisation 5 8 4 0 76 24 1

Construction Costs 9 3 5 0 71 29 2

Thermal Comfort 1 5 4 7 35 65 3

Aesthetics 2 1 4 10 18 82 4

Table 4.9 Response to Question 7

The ranking results represent the importance of the listed factors based on
the participants’ perception of current housing estates. Based on Table 4.9,
Efficient Space Utilisation is ranked as the most important factor and
Aesthetics is ranked as the least important factor.

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Results

Construction
Aesthetics
Efficient Space Utilisation ranked Costs ranked as
ranked as Least
as Most Important factor Most Important
Important factor
factor

Developer - - - -

Architect 2 3 4 4

Home
3 3 3 5
Owner

Other - 2 2 1

Number of 5 8 9 10
Participants ( scale rank: 1) ( scale rank: 2) ( scale rank: 1) ( scale rank: 4)

Table 4.10 Further Breakdown of Response to Question 7

There is another interpretation that would make Construction Costs the most
important factor. This interpretation is derived by comparing the responses
under ranking number 1, whereby the most amount of responses, totaling at
9, fall under the Construction Costs factor. In terms of the least important
factor, this method still tallies with the result of Table 4.10 as the most
amount of responses under ranking number 4 fall under the Aesthetics factor.

The Home Owner category represents the majority of participants who


nominated Efficient Space Utilisation as the most important factor, and the
Architect category represents the majority of participants who nominated
Construction Costs as the most important factor.

The accuracy of the responses to questions 8-10 may be affected as the


participants may have been obliged to answer at the higher end of the scale
based on the nature of this questionnaire.

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8. How important do you think it is for us to reduce our impact on the environment
and live more sustainably?
Question Scale Frequency
Analysis

1 2 3 4 5 <3 >3

Number of % %
Participants

How important do you think it is for us to reduce 0 0 0 2 15 0 100


our impact on the environment and live more
sustainably?

Note : 1 = Not important 5 = Very important

Table 4.11 Response to Question 8

On the scale of 1 to 5 with 1 representing ‘Not important’ and 5 representing


‘Very important’, the Frequency Analysis shows that the majority of the
participants acknowledge the importance of reducing our impact on the
environment and adopting a more sustainable lifestyle. Another interpretation
of Table 4.11 shows that 88% of the participants nominated number 5 and
12% nominated number 4.The 2 who ranked ‘4’ consisted of 1 Architect and
1 Home Owner.

9. How viable is it to adopt environmentally sustainable principles into the design and
construction phase of new homes, where:
Question Scale Frequency Rank
Analysis

1 2 3 4 5 <3 >3

Number of % %
Participants

(a) the materials, fixtures and fittings 0 1 3 6 7 6 76 2


have positive environmental
outcomes

(b) the ongoing maintenance and 0 0 7 6 4 0 59 3


operating costs are minimised

(c) the energy costs are reduced 0 0 3 8 6 0 82 1

Note : 1 = Not viable 5 = Very viable

Table 4.12 Response to Question 9

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Question 9 (a) Question 9 (b) Question 9 (c)

Developer - 1 1

Architect 3 3 3

Home Owner 3 3 3

Other 1 - 1

Number of
7 7 8
Participants

Majority
scale rank: 5 scale rank: 3 scale rank: 4
preference

Table 4.13 Further Breakdown of Response to Question 9

For Question 9a, on the scale of 1 to 5 with 1 representing ‘Not viable’ and 5
representing ‘Very viable’, 41% of the participants nominated 5, 35%
nominated 4, 18% nominated 3 and 6% nominated 2. The Frequency
Analysis column indicates that 76% of the participants deem it viable for
materials, fixtures and fittings with positive environmental outcomes to be
specified in future homes.

For Question 9b, 24% of the participants nominated 5, 35% nominated 4 and
41% nominated 3. The Frequency Analysis column indicates that 59% of the
participants deem it viable for environmentally sustainable principles to be
adopted into the design and construction phase of new homes, where it
results in minimising the ongoing maintenance and operating costs of the
homes.

For question 9c, 35% of the participants nominated 5, 47% nominated 4 and
18% nominated 3. The Frequency Analysis column indicates that 82% of the
participants deem it viable for environmentally sustainable principles to be
adopted into the design and construction phase of new homes, where it
results in minimising the energy consumption costs of the homes.

Based on the final ranking column, the most viable factor of the three
presented is the reduction of energy costs.

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10. How significant is a developer’s role in shaping the market demands for the
future?
Question Scale Frequency
Analysis

1 2 3 4 5 <3 >3

Number of % %
Participants

How significant is a developer’s role in shaping the 0 0 1 5 11 0 94


market demands for the future?

Note : 1 = Not significant 5 = Very significant

Table 4.14 Response to Question 10

On the scale of 1 to 5 with 1 representing ‘Not significant’ and 5 representing


‘Very significant’, 65% of the participants nominated 5, 29% nominated 4 and
6% nominated 3. The Frequency Analysis column indicates that 94% of the
participants believe that developers play a significant role in shaping the
market demands for the future.

Scale Rank: 3 Scale Rank: 4 Scale Rank: 5

Developer - - 1

Architect - 2 5

Home Owner 1 3 3

Other - - 2

Number of
1 5 11
Participants

Table 4.15 Breakdown of Response to Question 10

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11. What are the key factors that would encourage the adoption of environmentally
sustainable principles into the design and construction phase of homes?

Factors Number of Participants Percentage

i. An increased level of awareness 13 76%


among clients on the subject

ii. An increased level of awareness 11 65%


among industry professionals on
the subject

iii. Easily accessible/affordable 5 29%


training/education in sustainable
design/construction

iv. Support from government 14 82%


bodies

[ linked to Q11(a) ]

v. Other: 1. Increasing awareness from the public & A


suppliers on environmentally sustainable
principles.

2. An increased level of awareness among the


end-users who will eventually dictate the
D
marketability of the houses/housing which are
environmentally sustainable.

Note : A = Architect D = Developer

Table 4.16 Response to Question 11

11 - i 11 - ii 11 - iii 11 - iv 11 - v

Developer 1 1 1 1 1

Architect 5 4 2 5 1

Home 5 4 1 6 -
Owner

Other 2 2 1 2 -

Number of
13 11 5 14 2
Participants

Table 4.17 Further Breakdown of Response to Question 11

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The factors that would encourage the adoption of environmentally


sustainable principles into the design and construction phase of homes
ranked in order of popularity are:
1. Support from government bodies.
2. An increased level of awareness among clients on the subject.
3. An increased level of awareness among industry professionals on the
subject.
4. Easily accessible/affordable training/education in sustainable
design/construction.
5. Other factors:
i. Increasing the awareness of the public and product/service suppliers for the
construction industry.
ii. Increasing the awareness of the end-users who will eventually dictate the
marketability of environmentally sustainable housing.

11. (a) What form of support should the government provide?

1. A Provide booklets, research and training to architects and designers.

2. A -Formal government body to protect the interests of the environment.

-Financial incentives for those who incorporate green principles in their work.

3. A -More support like the ‘Suria 1000’ government project, where subsidies are given
to home owners who install solar panels for electricity.

-Tax exemptions for using certain materials.

-Impose a law to have each house fitted with rainwater storage for the garden and
car wash.

- Provide more ‘green’ products. Limited range currently available.

4. A -PR-informative messages from the government.

-Financial & tax incentives

-Using government projects to illustrate environmentally sustainable principles.

5. A Financial support, approvals and rebates on land and design matters.

6. D Promote and educate the pubic on the merits of sustainability issues and on how
their lives will be afftected by them, and at the same time provide planning
concessions/some form of economic incentives to developers who incorporate
sustainability principles in their development.

7. H Green the earth in every housing development.

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8. H Tax concessions.

9. H -Facilitating approvals/legislation

-Raising awareness

-Tax incentives

10. H -Effective legislation & proper governance plus enforcement

-Creating the need and awareness

- Licensing of responsible developers

11. H Master plan & enforcement

12. H Subsidies and provision/support for training needs.

13. O Incentives to developers. Or the incorporation of this principles in the building by-
laws.

14. O Adoption and enforcement of laws regarding the matter and subsidy of
architectural / sustainable elements; e.g. Solar panels.

Note : A = Architect D = Developer H = Home Owner O = Other

Table 4.18 Response to Question 11(a)

The 82% of participants who nominated ‘Support from government bodies’ as


a key factor in encouraging the adoption of environmentally sustainable
principles into the design and construction phase of homes, listed their
suggestions in Table 4.18, on the form of support which should be provided
by the government.

The responses have a slight overlay which can be summarized with the
following:
(i) Providing financial incentives (e.g. subsidies, tax rebates).
- this response, with the majority from the Architect category,
represents 71% of the 82% of participants who nominated
‘Support from government bodies’.
(ii) Promoting and providing information on the subject
- this response represents 29% of the 82% of participants who
nominated ‘Support from government bodies’.

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(iii) Setting up and enforcing laws relating to the subject.


- this response, with the majority from the Home Owner category,
represents 43% of the 82% of participants who nominated
‘Support from government bodies’.

4.2 Results : Interviews

The main content of the interviews were reiterations of views presented in the
questionnaire. This outcome was anticipated as the participants were asked
to elaborate on issues related to the content of the questionnaire. The key
points extracted and summarized from the interview sessions are as follows:

1. Malaysia’s general public lacks awareness on the importance and


relevance of environmental sustainability.

2. Upcoming government housing projects should adopt environmentally


sustainable elements. The Industrialised Building System promoting the
use of prefabricated components covered in the Ninth Malaysia Plan
should be developed and implemented by the government.

3. The construction industry is capable of pursuing an environmentally


sustainable path; it just requires a push from the right direction, with the
implementation of standards and regulations by the government.

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Results

4.3 Results : Case Studies

4.3.1 Category 1 : Typical Terraced Housing

Case Study 1 : Bukit Prima Pelangi 2 Storey Terraced Houses


Development : Bukit Prima Pelangi ( Prima Pelangi Hill )
Mixed Development – Terraced Houses &
Condominiums
Developer : Harmony Property Sdn(Pty) Bhd(Ltd)
- a Brem Holding Bhd(Ltd) sudsidiary
Location : This housing development is located adjacent to the
northern suburbs of Kuala Lumpur.
Tenure : Freehold
Approving authority : Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur City
Hall)
Selling Price : RM 488 000 – RM 748 500

Figure 4.2 Site Plan – Bukit Prima Pelangi 2 Storey Terraced Houses
Source : Home Owner

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Figure 4.3 Location Map – Bukit Prima Pelangi 2 Storey Terraced Houses
Source : Google Maps, retrieved 13 June 2008, <http://maps.google.com>

Greenery
Figures 4.3 and 4.4 indicate the extent of the natural rainforest that has been
destroyed with a cut and fill process of the hilly land to make way for the
housing development. The surrounding greenery diminishes with such
developments. Looking at the streetscape, there is hardly any greenery
provided by the developer to compensate for what was destroyed to allow for
the development.

Figure 4.4 Streetscape – Bukit Prima Pelangi 2 Storey Terraced Houses


Source : S.Jayapalasingam’s photograph - 2008

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Figure 4.5 Intermediate Lot Layout Plan – Bukit Prima Pelangi


2 Storey Terraced Houses
Source : Home Owner

Spatial Organisation
This 22’ x 75’ (6.7 x 21.3m) plot, on the ground floor, has a car porch, front
garden, an open living and dining area, a guest room, a bathroom, and a
kitchen which opens out to the backyard. The first floor has a family area, a
master bedroom with an en-suite bathroom, wardrobe area and balcony, and
two bedrooms which share an en-suite bathroom.

The narrow backyard is not an effective use of space. Figure 4.6 shows how
2 houses have extended the kitchen and guest room on the ground floor into
the backyard. The layout provided by the developer does not provide the

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occupants with a suitable laundry area. This will result in the occupants
having to utilise the front porch as a drying yard. A possible solution would
have been to have one wall in the center of the back lane, dividing the 2 rows
of houses, providing the occupants with a functional back yard.

Figure 4.6 Rear of houses and back lane – Bukit Prima Pelangi
2 Storey Terraced Houses
Source : S.Jayapalasingam’s photograph - 2008

Figure 4.7 This adjacent housing development, by the same developer


shows how the occupants use the front porch as a drying yard due to
the inefficient allocation of space in the backyard.
Source : S.Jayapalasingam’s photograph - 2008

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In the case of this house being occupied by a family of four, the guest room
on the ground floor will end up being used as a store room or utility area
which may have to accommodate a live-in domestic helper. The option for a
separate study or home office which could function as a guest room exists
only in a situation where only 1 room is used to accommodate the children.
The master bedroom balcony is more of a decorative architectural element,
as the area is insufficient to be uitlised by the occupants for any household
activity. The second house from the left corner in Figure 4.8 shows how the
balcony area has been closed up to increase the bedroom area.

Figure 4.8 Streetscape – Bukit Prima Pelangi 2 Storey Terraced Houses


Source : S.Jayapalasingam’s photograph – 2008

Figure 4.9 Intermediate Lot Elevations – Bukit Prima Pelangi


2 Storey Terraced Houses
Source : Home Owner

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Thermal Comfort
The standard construction methods and materials do not provide the end-
user with a suitable level of thermal comfort in this equatorial climate. There
are louvered glass windows above the staircase to accommodate the release
of hot air that has risen. This element does not provide a significant change
to the level of thermal comfort in the house as the remaining areas do not
have sufficient natural ventilation. The air-conditioned interiors are
considered the norm in this development as the developer does provide
electrical points for air conditioning units.

Energy Consumption
The absence of effective natural ventilation will encourage the constant use
of fans as well as air conditioning. The design does not maximise the use of
the available natural light, therefore artificial light will be utilized for longer
periods of time.

Figure 4.10 Intermediate Lot Cross Section – Bukit Prima Pelangi


2 Storey Terraced Houses
Source : Home Owner

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Case Study 2 : Opal 2 Storey Terraced Houses


Development : Bandar Saujana Putra ( Saujana Putra Town )
Mixed Development – Terraced Houses & Apartments
Developer : LBS Bina Group Berhad (Limited)
Location : This self-contained township is located in the Petaling
district of Selangor in the vicinity of Puchong and UEP
Subang Jaya.
Tenure : Leasehold
Selling Price : From RM 135 315

Figure 4.11 Location Map – Opal 2 Storey Terraced Houses


Source : Google Maps, retrieved 13 June 2008, <http://maps.google.com>

Greenery
This brownfield development is in the vicinity of a former tin mining area. Built
on previously cleared land, the developer has not significantly decreased the
amount of greenery in the area as compared to Case Study 1. A portion of a
former mining pool is visible at the bottom-left corner of Figure 4.11. Minimal
planting of new trees are a part of the streetscape as shown in Figure 4.12.

Spatial Organisation
This 20’ x 60’ (6.1 x 18.3m) plot, on the ground floor, has a car porch and
front garden. An open plan links the living and dining area with the kitchen
that opens out to the backyard. There also is a utility room and a bathroom

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on the ground floor. The first floor has a master bedroom with an en-suite
bathroom, and two bedrooms which share an en-suite bathroom.

Figure 4.12 Streetscape – Opal 2 Storey Terraced Houses


Source : For Sale In Malaysia, retrieved 27 June 2008, < http://for-sale-in-
malaysia.blogspot.com/2007/06/terrace-house-corner-lot-saujana-putra.html>

Figure 4.13 Intermediate Lot Layout Plan – Opal 2 Storey Terraced Houses
Source : For Sale In Malaysia, retrieved 27 June 2008, < http://for-sale-in-
malaysia.blogspot.com/2007/06/terrace-house-corner-lot-saujana-putra.html>

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In the common case of this house being occupied by a family of four, the
utility room on the ground floor will end up being used as a store room which
may have to accommodate a live-in domestic helper. The option for a
separate study or home office which could function as a guest room exists
only in a situation where only 1 room is used to accommodate the children.
The living and dining area on the ground floor are the only areas for the
family to socialise together. Though this house has a smaller plot area
compared to Case Study 1, the area allocated for the back yard makes it
more functional and the back lane does not exist in this development.

Figure 4.14 Front Facade – Opal 2 Storey Terraced Houses


Source : For Sale In Malaysia, retrieved 27 June 2008, < http://for-sale-in-
malaysia.blogspot.com/2007/06/terrace-house-corner-lot-saujana-putra.html>

Figure 4.15 Rear of houses – Opal 2 Storey Terraced Houses


Source : For Sale In Malaysia, retrieved 27 June 2008, < http://for-sale-in-
malaysia.blogspot.com/2007/06/terrace-house-corner-lot-saujana-putra.html>

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Thermal Comfort
The standard construction methods and materials do not provide the end-
user with a suitable level of thermal comfort in this equatorial climate. The
interiors will have to be air-conditioned to achieve a comfortable level of
thermal comfort. The developer does not provide electrical points for air
conditioning units. Case Study 1 is better of with levels of thermal comfort
which is part of the reason why it costs more.

Energy Consumption
The absence of effective natural ventilation will encourage the constant use
of fans as well as air conditioning. The design does not maximise the use of
the available natural light, therefore artificial light will be utilized for longer
periods of time.

Case Study 3 : Studio M 2 Storey Terraced Houses


Development : Crescentia Park
Mixed Development – Residences : Terraced Houses,
Semi-detached Houses, Bungalows & Condominiums
Developer : Abad Naluri Sdn Bhd
-an Equine Capital Bhd associate company
Location : This housing development is a part of Bandar Cassia,
a new self contained township being developed in
Penang.
Tenure : Leasehold
Approving authority : Majlis Perbandaran Seberang Perai (Seberang Perai
City Council)
Selling Price : Approx. RM 75 000

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Figure 4.16 Location Map – Studio M 2 Storey Terraced Houses


Source : Google Maps, retrieved 20 October 2008, <http://maps.google.com>

Greenery
The exact location of this development has not been indentified. Based on
the show unit location photos, the development appears to be located at a
former palm oil plantation. Being a medium low cost development, the
developer will plant minimal amounts of greenery along the streetscape.

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Figure 4.17 Intermediate Lot Layout Plan – Studio M 2 Storey Terraced


Houses
Source : Equine Capital, retrieved 20 October 2008,
<http://www.equine.com.my/crescentiaPark/residential/studioM/details_studioM.html>

Spatial Organisation
Due to the medium low cost bracket which this house falls under, the built-up
area is not as generous as the previous two projects. This 16’ x 58’ (4.9 x
17.7m) plot, on the ground floor, has a car porch and front yard. The living
area is open to the dining and kitchen area. The kitchen opens out to the
back yard. The bedroom on the ground floor prevents a direct visual
connection between the living area and kitchen. It is most likely that this room
on the ground floor will end up being used as a store room or utility area. The
first floor has a master bedroom and another bedroom. The only bathroom in
this house is located on this level.

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Figure 4.18 Show Unit Front Facade –


Studio M 2 Storey Terraced Houses
Source : Equine Capital, retrieved 20 October
2008,
<http://www.equine.com.my/crescentiaPark/re
sidential/studioM/details_studioM.html>

Thermal Comfort
The standard construction methods and materials do not provide the end-
user with a suitable level of thermal comfort in this equatorial climate. The
interiors will have to be air-conditioned to achieve a comfortable level of
thermal comfort. The developer does not provide electrical points for air
conditioning units, however the show unit interiors are air-conditioned.

Figure 4.19 Show unit interior – Studio M 2 Storey Terraced Houses


Source : Equine Capital, retrieved 20 October 2008,
<http://www.equine.com.my/crescentiaPark/residential/studioM/details_studioM.html>

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Energy Consumption
The absence of effective natural ventilation will encourage the constant use
of fans as well as air conditioning. The design does not maximise the use of
the available natural light, therefore artificial light will be utilized for longer
periods of time. The corner unit will have higher levels of natural light in the
dining area as indicated in the show unit. (Figure 4.19)

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