Potential Retrofitting of Existing Campus Buildings to Green Buildings

Potential Retrofitting of Existing Campus Buildings to Green Buildings

Potential Retrofitting of Existing Campus Buildings to Green Buildings

R Zakaria1,a,K. S. Foo1,b, R Mohamad Zin1,c, J. Yang2,d, Samaneh Zolfagharian1,e

1Construction Technology and Management Centre (CTMC), Faculty of Civil Engineering, Universiti of Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 Skudai, Malaysia

2School of Urban Development, Queensland University of Technology, GPO Box 2434
Brisbane QLD 4001,Australia

, b ,, ,

Keywords: Retrofitting, Campus, Existing Buildings, Green Buildings

Abstract: Green building is building that the focus is to maximize the energy efficiency and resources used. While, retrofitting is the process of renovate or refurnish the existing building. Therefore by retrofit existing buildings that complywith green building requirement, it improves the environmental attributesof the buildings. In Malaysia, existing buildings and its communities contribute over 40% of green house gases to the environment. This paper describesa study that exploresthe potential to retrofit existing campus buildings that response to sustainable green building standard. A validation survey was carried out and the data collected was analysedusing SPSS in order to confirm the significance of retrofitting Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)buildings toward green building initiative.The results show that all the twenty eightidentified green elements recorded average index of higher than 3.5 which meansthat there is significant needs to retrofit the existing buildings to green buildings.This study concludes that it is urgently need for thecampus to response to green building requirements in order to achieve higher energy effeciency and this can be done through effective etrofitting of existing buildings.


Green building has many benefits, such as efficiency use of building resources, increased workplace productivity and significant operational savings. Malaysia appears to be one of the highest growth developing countries in the world, and the problem like pollutant emissions and energy consumption has rise up significantly in recent years[1].According to the statement as reported by The Star newspaper in 2010, the existing buildings in Malaysia and its communities had contributes over 40% of green house gases to the environment [2]. This shows that there is a need to redesign or retrofit the existing buildings based on green building assessment requirements,in order to reduce the negative impact to the environment [3].

In order to achieve the above requirement in Malaysia, arating system calledGreen Building Index-Non Resident Existing Building (GBI- NREB) has been established to encourage existing buildings construction responsive to green building. The establishment of GBI- NREB in Malaysia had rise the awareness among all the party involve in building and also the public about environmental issues impact from building construction [4]. In Malaysia the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) adopted a movement toward sustainability.The community in universities and publics givinggreater concerns on the environmental pollution and degradation caused by the consumptions of materials and energy in universities. Thus, there are efforts in managing the ecosystems and this can be done by adopting systems based on integrated approach and design towards sustainable campus. Besides, the physical environment of the university like its greenery landscape, buildingsmust also support and enhance the excellence of its academic programs[5].

Green Building Index and Building Retrofittings

Green building is agreen solution in the life cycle of buildings which involve examines of the interaction between design, construction, operations and demolition in order to optimize the energy and environmental performance of the project[6].Retrofitting of existing buildings presents by far the largest potential for the incorporation of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures into buildings.At oversea, there are many research related to the building retrofitting had been done. For example, there is research state that older existing buildings willsee more energy savings with the addition of a green roof if compare to newbuildings[7]. Besides, available energy efficient and renewable energy technologies can also contribute to a reduction in the energy use in high-energy use office buildings.

GBI- NREB is comprehensive green building rating system for buildings which developed specifically for the Malaysian. The rating system is used to promote sustainability in the built environment and raise awareness among the industries practitioners like developers, architects, designers, engineers, planners, contractors, sub- contractors and also the public about the environmental issues and our responsibility to the future generations [4].Currently, in Malaysia, the increasing cost of energy has set the pace for the establishment of conservation policies. The government of Malaysia is also continuously reviewing its energy policy in order to ensure sustainability of the energy resources. Currently (until July 2011) there are 27 GBI certified buildings as listed in the website of GBI organization. In these listed buildings, only BangunanPerdana Putra is from building categories of Non-Residential Existing Building (NREB)[4]. This show that many existing building still not response to proceed with GBI assessment. High and increasing cost of campus utilities, operation and maintenance indicate that UTM is practicing unsustainable living conditions [8]. Thus, recent year, UTM had establishedcomprehensive campus sustainable policies which also promote the potential retrofitting of UTM existing building to Green building. Besides, research shown that there is good correlation and relationship between Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) and learning performance in university teaching rooms [9]. Therefore it becomes a need to retrofit the existing building to green building.

Research Methodology

The methods used to achieve the objectives of the study consists of three phases from start to the end. The first phase wasidentified the research problem, determination of research title, background of problem, problem statement, objectives and scope. The issuesof focusedwere on potential retrofitting of UTM existing building to green building. The second phase wasstudied the design concept and procedure used in GBI- NRED and then identify all the data or input needed for questionnaire preparation. The questionnaire method was usedfrom a list of given alternatives (agreement level) for each questions and distributes to 101 respondents whoseinvolve in UTM building development and also point of view of UTM academicians and students that have building related expert.Finally wasthe third phase which includes analysis, discussion, conclusion and recommendation. The data collected from the questionnaire paper was analysed using frequency method and the finding wasdiscussed in conclusion, limitation and recommendation on further retrofitting in UTM campus.

The Important Criteria in Retrofitting Existing Building to Green Building

Figure 1 shows that all thecriteria weresignificant in retrofitting existing building to green building because the mean index exceededscore 3.5. “Installation of solar thermal technology” has the highest mean index scoredat 4.11which show that it wasthe major important criteria.

Figure 1: The Important Elements in Retrofitting Existing Building to Green Building.

There were 82 respondents (81.2%) who agreedandstrongly agreedthat by using the solar technology in example solar thermal technology which harnessing solar energy for thermal energy (heat) wasconsider sustainable and also one of the most important criteria in green building. The solar thermal energy stated above wasalso one type of renewable energy which had been applied to green building. Solar thermal technology can be used to heat swimming pools, heating water or air for residential and commercial use, and for electric power production.

The Significant Criteria to be Used on Retrofitting UTM Existing Building

Average Index value on the significant criteria to be used on retrofitting UTM existing building was shown in Figure 2. The results shows that “Use of renewable energy technologies” was the major important criteria with the highest mean index scored at 4.09. Others criteria also very significant because from the analysis, the average index values of all these criteria wereexceeded 3.5 which mean that it is significant and acceptable results for our study.

Figure 2: The Significant Elements to be used on Retrofitting UTM Existing Building.

Total of 82 respondents (82.8%) were agreedand strongly agreed that the use of renewable energy technologies is important in the aspect of significant criteria to be used on retrofitting UTM existing building. This shows that the renewable energy is important in Malaysia and in UTM campus. The renewable energy technologies that can be apply is like the solar thermal energy plate and solar plate. These are the renewable energy technologies that are very relevant to the weather condition of equator in Malaysia and same conditions to UTM campus.


In this study, the potential retrofit that response to sustainable green building in Malaysia specifically to UTM had been identified. The results showed significant elements that guide to buildings retrofit that responseto detail assessment criteria in NREB.Installation of solar technology in the operation of building is the most priority step in retrofitting existing building to green building among others. In Malaysia, solar technology that normally apply in building is the solar thermal that utilisedtoheating water for bath and commonly used in residential area. Thisat least had save some electricity energy used and save cost.The study also identified that the use of renewable energy technologies is the most significant criteria in the potential of UTM building toward green building initiative. This shows that the renewable energy is important in UTM campus. The example renewable energy technologies that can be applied is like the solar thermal energy plate, and solar plate. Whilst for water management, technology of rain water harvesting can be used to reycle and reuse the rain water.


This work was financially supported by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia short grant (Vot no:XXXX), Research Management Centre, and research team members from Construction Technology Management Centre.


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