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Malaysia to host its first carbon-free conference

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will be holding its first carbon-neutral conference next week.

The conference on Sustainable Buildings South-East Asia (SB10SEA), which is taking place at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from May 4 to 6, 2010, is the first carbon-neutral event to be held in the country and is organised under the auspices of the UN.

Issues to be discussed include the challenges and opportunities related to green building technology, said Malaysia Green Building Confederation’s (MGBC) president Von Kok Leong at a press conference on Wednesday, April 28.

“We have obtained approval from the Malaysian Book of Records for our moment in history,” Von said, adding that the conference would be officiated by Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Peter Chin.

In estimating the amount of carbon emission from the conference, the event organizers have taken into account all activities that would be held during the conference to determine the baseline carbon footprint. According to sustainable projects consultant C2C Project Manager, the data was sent to The CarbonNeutral Company in the UK for verification and accreditation.

C2C’s director, B K Sinha said approximately 110 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent would be emitted into the environment from the SB10SEA.

“We will offset the estimated carbon emission to ensure that minimal pollution will take place during the conference,” Von said, explaining that a carbon offset is an innovative financial instrument aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emission.

Instead of giving out the normal printed booklets and presentations or bottled drinking water, the organisers will provide conference-related information on thumb drives, while drinking water will be available from water dispensers.

“Even the name tags would be made from recycled paper,” Von added.

Among the speakers who would be present are Noel Isherwood, the coordinator for the Poundbury Series at the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment as well as Dr Arab Hoballah, the chief of sustainable consumption and production from the UN Environment Programme.

Von added that at the end of the conference, participants would have the opportunity to visit one of two certified green buildings in Malaysia -- the GTower in Kuala Lumpur or the Pusat Tenaga Malaysia Green Energy Office Building in Bangi, Selangor.

Conference participation fee is RM1,300 per person. The closing date for registration is on May 3. About 200 individuals have already signed up Von said, adding an exhibition is also open to the public.

Von also urged Malaysian engineers and developers to step up their green building initiatives or they would find themselves far behind countries like Singapore and China. There is also pressure from corporations that would only locate their offices in green-rated buildings.
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