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Hospital's green features to mitigate rising healthcare costs

By the first quarter of 2014, Malaysia will have its first Green Building Index-certified purpose-built green hospital up and running in the northern state of Kedah. The sustainability features of Amanjaya Specialist Centre Sdn Bhd (ASC) in Sg Petani are expected to help reduce its CO2 emissions by about 20% and the operating costs by 15–20%.

The building, which measures 100,000 sq feet on a 1.01 ha site, will incorporate green technology and design in its construction and operation. With construction work currently at 30% completion, the new multi-disciplinary hospital will be ready for operations in 2014, says hospital managing director Dr Tan Chiang Hooi (pic below), who is also a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist (O&G) at ASC.

Green financing

The project investment of RM50 million, including the cost of the land, is being largely financed by SME Bank, with RM30 million secured from the bank, including RM9 million through the government’s Green Technology Financing Scheme (GTFS). The remaining project costs are borne by the hospital.

Dr Tan hopes that the hospital will achieve a return on investment within five to seven years. “The commercial banks have been reluctant to assist but we’re glad SME Bank was willing to take this up,” he says.

The hospital, which currently operates at another site in Bandar Amanjaya, specialises in O&G but will soon become a 108-bed multi-disciplinary medical hospital that will provide affordable specialist care and promote medical tourism in the northern region.

Making healthcare affordable

“We hope to eventually set up a regional chain of green hospitals in towns in the northern states including Butterworth, Kulim, Alor Setar and Kangar,” he says adding that the hospital is aimed to cater to middle-income patients.

“I am convinced the days of cheap energy and even water will come to end. When that happens, running a hospital is going to be very costly. Hospitals operate 24 hours. It consumes three times more energy compared to a commercial building. Hence, it only makes sense for hospital to be the prime target for green design,” says Dr Tan, who is also the medical planner and project director for the development project.

The three-storey building development project is among the five projects listed under the government’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) healthcare National Key Economic Area (NKEA) aimed at promoting Malaysia as a popular healthcare tourism destination in the region.

Aside from a number of energy efficiency features and technologies, notable green features of the project include Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) Control, a water recycling system for haemodialysis (of the reject water only) and a central garden courtyard.

Patient comfort

“Studies have also shown that patients suffer less pain, sleep better and have better moods if placed in a ward with a view of nature compared to a ward with no window,” says Dr Tan.

As air-conditioning is one of the highest energy guzzlers for a hospital, translating to high utility charges, the windows of patients’ rooms will be installed with contactors that automatically turn off the air-conditioning if the patient opts to open the window for fresh air.

The hospital is investing in Mitsubishi’s varied refrigerant flow (VRF) air-conditioning system, which allows for distributed airflow and independent control of indoor units, especially at the hospital’s varying occupancy rate.

Green vehicles will also be given priority at the hospital. Parking bays equipped with power outlets for electric or hybrid vehicles will be available on the premises.

For their rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system, the hospital has engaged a Singaporean solar PV integrator and supplier who will installing panels with 40 kW capacity, and will soon be applying to join the government feed-in tariff (FiT) programme.

Read our April 2011 case study on another green hospital in the region – the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Singapore.

 Project Consultants

Architect:                        SCFC Architect

M&E Engineer:            TAFA Perunding Sdn Bhd

C&E Engineer:            Perunding THD Sdn Bhd

GBI Facilitator:            Greenscapes Sdn Bhd

Quantity Surveyor:             JUB Mutiara

Interior Designer:            Target Style Sdn Bhd

Landscape Architect:            Environmental Design Architects


  • Orientation of building
  • Use of low-E glass (Ecoglass)
  • Photovoltaic solar panel
  • Heat-reflective Paint
  • T5/ LED Lights
  • Light zoning
  • Electrical sub-metering
  • VRF air-conditioning
  • Electronic high frequency ballast
  • Motion and photo sensors
  • Solar hot water


  • Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) control
  • Low-VOC paints
  • Blinds and curtains for glare control


  • Green vehicle priority
  • High SRI (solar reflectance index) roofing materials
  • Roof insulation
  • Use of grasscrete for landscape


  • Storage & collection of recyclables


  • Water harvesting & recycling
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Water recycling (for haemodialysis)
  • Water-efficient landscape and fittings
  • Metering & leak detection


  • Heat pipe at operating theatre
  • Condensate recovery from air-conditioning system
  • Green vehicle ready power supply bay
  • Turbine ventilator for central courtyard



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