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Thailand’s green material Industry and the green building trend

Green buildings in Thailand lack support from the government, in contrast to green buildings in the US where projects are supported by tax benefits and other government incentives.

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  • Although the costs of green buildings are higher than conventional buildings, the benefits from energy-related cost reduction and higher rents have seen both the number of green structures and green construction areas grow significantly over the past several years.
  • Most building material manufacturers design and develop their products to meet LEED and TREES standards. However, only a few companies communicate to customers that their products are green and can be used in green building projects.
  • Green buildings in Thailand lack support from the government, in contrast to green buildings in the US where projects are supported by tax benefits and other government incentives.

 

Author: Kanit Umsakul

In the midst of today’s environmental movement, green buildings (buildings designed to be environmentally friendly through more efficient use of resources) are popping up more and more in Thailand.

Using data from green building credentialing bodies like the U.S. Green Business Council (USGBC), which developed the Leading in Energy & Environment Design (LEED), and the Thai Green Building Institute (TGBI), which developed Thailand’s Rating of Energy and Environment Sustainability (TREES), EIC found that the number of certified green buildings and buildings in the process of accreditation in Thailand has risen substantially, increasing from six buildings in 2007 to 243 buildings in 2015.

With EIC’s estimate of 294 green buildings in 2016, the average annual growth rate for green buildings in Thailand is 54%. Thailand’s green building area increased from 40 thousand square meters in 2007 to 4.3 million square meters in 2015, and it is estimated that it will reach 5.0 million square meters by the end of 2016, pushing average growth to 71% per year (Figure 1).

Green buildings in Thailand consist of office buildings (around 40%), retail stores and shops (around 30%), and other structures such as factories, residential buildings, hotels, and schools (around 30%) (Figure 2).

 

Although the costs of building green are higher than construction costs for conventional buildings, it is the benefits they offer that are responsible for the expansion of green structures today.

The average cost of building green in Thailand is 20,700 baht per square meter, which is about 5.2% higher than the average conventional building cost of 19,700 baht per square meter (Figure 3).

This is because building green involves more restrictions in choosing materials and in designing building systems, as well as additional fees for obtaining LEED or TREES credentials. However, owners can gain both monetary and non-monetary advantages from green buildings. Monetary benefits include a decrease in building management expenses like electricity and water costs that can be reduced by 10% or around 90 baht per square meter per year, and up to about 21% or 180 baht per square meter per year by the fifth year after the completion of the project (Figure 4). These numbers are comparable to the decrease in energy costs of  well-known green building Energy Complex.

The Energy Complex building contains 192 thousand square meters of utility space and has reduced building management costs per year by about 28 million baht, or about 146 baht per square meter per year.  Another monetary advantage for green building owners is increased rents. Rents for green buildings are around 30% higher than those of conventional buildings in the same area, or about 230 baht per square meter per month (Figure 4). Non-monetary benefits include significantly higher worker productivity in green buildings compared to conventional buildings, deduced from sick day records and illnesses caused by sick building syndrome.

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