Commercial property, specifically office buildings in the central business district of Bangkok, offers the best demand potential for U.S. green building exports. There are some 345 buildings in Bangkok’s central business district. Most of these buildings were built in the 1980s and 1990s in response to the peak demand for office space that resulted from the economic boom of the early 1990s. These buildings are now requiring renovation to maintain their value. Many owners of these high-valued properties are expected to include environmentally sustainable features in their renovations. Green features are becoming necessary components to attract a growing number of global businesses in Thailand that are adopting green credentials as one of their critical CSR components.
Industry surveys indicate that Bangkok has 1,600 buildings with floor space greater than 2,000 square meters. These buildings include hospitals, educational institutions, offices, condominiums, hotels, cinemas, and shopping complexes. These commercial and residential properties will increasingly employ energy efficient products and technologies in their properties as their energy costs increase. Thus, the projection for the medium and long-term markets for green building products and technologies is positive.
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certificate, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the green building standard most sought after among owners of commercial property in the premium segment of the market in Thailand. Large businesses competing in international market are leading the LEED trend in Thailand. For example, the Energy Complex (ENCO) is the first and largest commercial property which was designed to be energy efficient under the LEED system. The complex, owned by Thailand’s largest energy corporation, PTT PLC, was awarded a platinum certificate in 2010. A major branch of Kasikorn Bank, Thailand’s leading commercial bank, is gold LEED certified. Six Senses, a resort and spa management and development company, has one of its villa suits at Soneva Kiri, a high-end resort in Thailand’s Kood islands developed under the LEED certification system.
Experts anticipate increasing numbers of global companies to incorporate LEED certified offices as one element of their CSR on environmental responsibilities. LEED certificates are becoming an increasingly desired quality in office buildings targeting high-end tenants. Owners of existing properties will look to retrofit their buildings to be LEED certified to enhance their ability to maintain and attract their targeted tenants. Similarly, new developments will seek design and construction that will qualify their new properties under the LEED certification systems. At present, approximately 30 buildings in Bangkok have applied for the LEED certification. For example, Park Venture, Bangkok’s latest premium commercial complex, is the city’s second building to receive the LEED Platinum certification.
In the long term, an increasing number of property owners is expected to place greater importance on green buildings. The Thai Green Building Institute (TGBI) is expected to launch Thailand’s own green building standards by the third quarter of this year. Developed based on the LEED certification system, Thailand’s green building certification system is expected to increase awareness for energy-efficient building among a wider group of audiences, especially among property owners focused on the local market. Prior to the founding of TGBI, the Association of Siamese Architects, under the Royal Patronage (ASA), created ASA Green Awards to promote the importance of environmentally responsible buildings to the Thai public. These awards were presented to nine buildings, ranging from commercial buildings to a Buddhist temple. ASA’s criteria included energy-efficiency, water-conservation, and designs that improve environmental quality.
Additionally, the Thai government’s policy on energy efficiency development includes the promotion of energy efficient buildings. These promotions are expected to create public awareness of green building over the long term. The Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency under the Ministry of Energy announced ministerial regulations on energy efficient building codes in 2009. The regulations apply to buildings with floor spaces greater than 2,000 square meters. They set minimum required standards on five components of the buildings, including: thermal performance of building exteriors also known as "envelop," lighting, airconditioning systems, boilers, and uses of renewable energy.
Almost all green projects need overseas consultants and foreign products, according to industry experts. Thus, Thailand offers opportunities for green building design, technologies, products, and maintenance solutions. Best prospects include:
Architectural Design and Engineering Service
Energy Saving HVAC Systems
Energy Saving Lighting Systems
Waste Water Technologies
Building Management Systems
Innovative Building Products with LEED Certification