June 01, 2014 00:00 By Achara Deboonme The Nation 7,793 Viewed
This sustainable complex proves it does not cost that much more to be eco-friendly
By opening the “SCG 100th Year Building” at its headquarters in Bang Sue, Siam Cement Group is introducing affordable green practices to other Thai companies that are committed to sustainable growth.
Awarded the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for building design and construction, the SCG complex comes has two structures – a 37,000-square metre office building that houses some offices for its chemical and paper businesses and a 38,000-sqm multipurpose building that houses an auditorium and parking space. Providing office space for some 1,700 employees, the Bt3.3-billion complex boasts new technology that helps save energy and water consumption, cuts down on commuting time and provides a hygienic environment for all. The final aim is to make the world greener.
“This is in line with our goal to be a leader in sustainability,” said Roongrote Rangsiyopash, president of SCG Paper and chairman of SCG Sustainable Development Committee. “We want to set an example for Thai society that our design and construction practices can be carried out in a way that minimises impacts on the environment and the ecosystem.”
At a glance, the SCG building is no different from any of the newly completed structures in Bangkok, with glass panels and green space. But to make it a truly sustainable building, SCG planned at the designing stage to incorporate environment-friendly products. Recycled materials have been incorporated along with careful construction planning and waste management.
In a tour led by one of the five SCG Green Solution experts, reporters were shown the toilets that have sanitaryware and fittings that promise to save 70 per cent of water consumption or about 6 million litres per annum compared to other buildings of the same size. Though the glass walls allowed us to look outside and enjoy the large trees around the buildings, we learned that the glass had thermal insulation and the windows were double-glazed, which helped limit incoming heat.
Along the way, there are signboards showing that the buildings had been completed with low VOCs (volatile organic compounds) emitting materials. Also, the building only uses LED light bulbs and the tiles under our feet were produced with 60 per cent recycled materials. Wood fittings contain over 50 per cent of wood certified by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), to ensure no illegal logging.
Instead of blocking sunlight and breeze with concrete walls, the parking space let in a free flow of are. Special parking is provided for environment-friendly cars as well bicycle-parking ramps.
We also learnt that the water-management scheme in place returns 100 per cent of the used and treated water as well as rainwater for sanitation and gardening. The building is equipped with three teleconferencing rooms for cross-border meetings, without requiring employees stationed overseas to travel to Bangkok.
Making employees happy is also a key focus. A jogging track and an air-conditioned fitness centre has been provided on the roof of the multipurpose building. On an elevated layer, solar panels that can generate 99,000 kilowatts of electricity per hour have been lined up. The entrance is equipped with dust-trapping carpets, to minimise the proliferation of dust and diseases. With few small particles circulating in the air, the company believes that the condition of the air will limit health problems. Phone cubicles have also been installed for employees in case they want to have a private conversation.
“In the designing process, we took into consideration employees’ life-styles,” Roongrote said. “We want to turn this into a landmark, that can blend well with the ecosystem.”
He went on to say that SCG was happy to share these practices with everyone – and the one assurance is that a the construction of an eco-friendly building like this is comparative to that of buildings that pay less attention to energy and water-saving issues.
SCG Green Solution was set up with some five experts certified by the US Green Building Council, to provide advice for external organisation on green and sustainable building as well as materials and services.
Roongrote noted that the highest LEED achievement (LEED BD+C Platinum), recognised worldwide as the hallmark of the environmental rating for buildings, reflects the company’s serious commitment to social responsibility and environmentally sound business practices.
“This has become a part of a new business that develops a true sustainable architecture that fits better in the changing social and economic environment of the country and builds a larger network of environmentally conscious businesses for a greener future,” he noted.