Obviously in Indonesia, the Greenest buildings by material life cycle and operational energy per occupant can be found in remote villages. That is where residents enjoy—or do not enjoy—agrarian lifestyles with limited access to electricity, a mobile phone and perhaps a motorbike. But as these villages modernise and their cradle-to-cradle technologies are left behind in favour of consumerism, construction materials shift from locally crafted brick, tile, bamboo and timber towards cement, steel, glass and factory-made brick and tile. Operational energy per occupant rises rapidly in village buildings as air-conditioners, refrigerators, sewing machines, blenders, entertainment systems and other appliances find their way inside. Shaping or limiting, in some way, the environmental impact of this colossal shift towards urbanism is the challenge facing Green builders in Southeast Asia’s largest construction market.
It should be no surprise, then, that the Green Building Council Indonesia (GBC Indonesia) bestowed its first two Platinum Greenship certificates to the headquarters of BCA and Dahana explosives. These top-ranking certificates can be read as both helping to reform and excuse the banking and blasting industries, which are as integral to modernity as they are to the saying “get a bang for your buck”. There is an awareness of this dual reading in Indonesia, evident in Kompas newspaper’s recent report on US news coverage of excessive energy consumption in the LEED Platinum-certified Bank of America tower in New York. This is a concern for Green building practitioners who want positive evidence for developers rather than negative reports of a certified building’s performance, said Tiyok Prasetyoadi who is Managing Director of PWD Architects. But criticism can lead to improvement, said Tiyok, a founding member of GBC Indonesia: “We have an opportunity to amend the certification process”.