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12 March 2015

IMG 6739The first ever refurbished green office space in a Malaysian university will be launched at the University of Malaya by its Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dato’ Dr. Mohd Amin Jalaludin on 12 March 2015.

The main objective of the Green Office is to minimise, or completely avoid negative impacts of ‘regular’ built environments on staff health and the environment. At this site, this was done by ensuring that critical resources are used efficiently and installing equipment that protects occupant health, which in turn improves productivity. A positive side-effect is that waste, pollution and environmental degradation are reduced and the resultant office space is safe, comfortable, healthy and liveable.

Lead by Pn. Ati Rosemary Binti Mohd Ariffin (Lecturer from the Faculty of Built Environment, UM) and assisted by Pn. Sharifah Noor Nazim Syed Yahya (Architect in the Department of Development & Estate Maintaince UM), the green office refurbishment is a collaboration between the University of Malaya and Panasonic Malaysia Sdn Bhd. UMCares mooted this pioneering initiative as part of its efforts in engagement for sustainability and its drive towards sustainable campus status.

A Memorandum of Intent (MoI) will be signed between the University of Malaya and Panasonic by the the Managing Director of Panasonic, Mr. Yosuke Matsunaga and Professor Dato’ Dr. Mohd Amin Jalaludin. The MoI is one of the many Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes by Panasonic Sdn Bhd. 

The total renovation cost amounted to about RM170,000, and the process of refurbishing an existing office space within a regular (non-green) building through regular government procurement systems took 2 years. Panasonic’s sponsorship of about RM90,000 included the donation of a photovoltaic (solar) panel and system, an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) and furniture made from recycled material and electrical appliances. Panasonic will also continue to provide support, advice and guidance on future green office innovations, and have also committed to future collaboration and research with UMCares and the university as a whole. Already on the drawing board is research based on this Green Office, with its occupants (UMCares’ staff) as experimental subjects in a living lab; not unlike a reality show – where the staff will report their office use, levels of comfort and problems (if any) by daily video confessionals.  

To showcase UMCares’ community engagement scope of work, undocumented Chow Kit youth from KL Krash Pad (Yayasan Chow Kit) were invited to take part in a mural drawing competition. The winner’s creation will be replicated on the outside wall of the office; the youth will be presented and awarded during the Green Office Launch.  

The University of Malaya hopes to roll out this Green Office concept to the rest of the campus in due time. Serious effort by the university is underway to move UM to sustainable campus status through myriad ground-up initiatives, coupled with top-down funding and policy changes. The future of UM can only be greener. 

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