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BLOG: Malaysia's first 'carbon neutral' residence

Ross O. Storey | March 28, 2011
A prototype sustainable dwelling for future tropical living.

For me, it was a bit like taking a step three years into the future, when (hopefully) house designers will have really focused on creating environment-friendly homes.

 Imagine your house actually generating its own electricity back into the public grid, even when it was embedded with various collaboration, video and mobility technologies such as Internet Protocol telephony, Wi-Fi, video enhanced security, digital signage, Cisco TelePresence and smart building management systems.

 Even with these latest connectivity systems (the like of which are produced by networking giant Cisco) what if your solar-energy house could earn you money by selling energy back to the power company - even with air conditioning consumption included? And, how would you like your house to recycle 97 per cent of its water, and to be specially constructed to enjoy natural light and cool breezes?

 There is such a home, which is a prototype, at Shah Alam, about 40 minutes from Kuala Lumpur, and it's called Sime Darby's Idea House. It's claimed to be Malaysia's very first 'carbon-neutral residence'.

 Modern-day Kampung

 Sime Darby Idea House (aerial)

The structure, which draws its heritage from the traditional Malay Kampung house, is the result of serious brainstorming and pushing the innovation envelope, by a small group of young Sime Darby and Broadway Malyan architects, designers, engineers and conservationists. It is long and relatively narrow, following the flow of the land and is placed with its smallest walls to the east and west, to minimize direct sunshine.

 In Sime Darby Property's words, the Sime Darby Idea House is "a socially, economically, and environmentally responsive prototype dwelling that provides an insight into future tropical living".

I came to visit this marvelous structure to host the latest event for the unique CIOciety, a networking and professional development group sponsored by networking giant Cisco and supported by CIO Asia magazine. Cisco helped create the CIOciety to provide its clients with very special outings, visits and thought leadership discussions.

Cisco and Sime Darby Property (SDP) have partnered to showcase the integration of a complete range of ICT solutions and services, provided by Cisco and Mesiniaga, for SDP's current and future projects. The projects, which include the Sime Darby Idea House and Sime Healthcare, will build on Cisco Smart+Connected Communities solutions.


 The Idea House has been developed by Sime Darby Property, in conjunction with major sponsors including Cisco, to precisely measure just what savings are possible if households are deliberately designed to be atuned to the environment.

 Sime Darby Idea House ground level

Cisco says the Sime Darby Idea House is one of the projects which is a test bed for its Smart+Connected Communities solutions and which serves as a model for the network infrastructure required for sustainable city development.


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