All my friends know that i’m deeply into being environmentally friendly. I think about what food i buy and consume to reduce my carbon footprint as much as possible. I recycle every scrap of aluminum, paper, plastic and glass that goes through my house (it’s amazing how much i lug to the recycling centre! I cry inside thinking of the millions who don’t). I just love our earth. Truly. Sometimes i even feel guilty about being a consumer and all the things i own and what will happen to it one day when i’m no longer here. -_- My dad used to attend global conferences to learn about new technologies other countries have, and i would listen to all these new inventions like they were precious bedtime stories and wish our government would invest in them too.
So it wasn’t out of ordinary for me to be really excited when i was invited to take a tour around the most environmentally friendly residential project in Malaysia, topped off with a scrumptious French meal in their penthouse at the end of the day. (Those pictures come at the end of this post!)
KEN Bangsar is a luxury serviced high-rise residence on Jalan Kapas (off Jalan Ara) that focuses on environment-sensitive features throughout its entire structure. It was developed by KEN Holdings Bhd – also responsible for KEN Damansara 1, 2, and 3 that some of us are more familiar with. The company is known for their efforts of diverting a river behind the Ken 2 apartments, so they could save a really old huge tree that’s home to a variety of migratory birds. That’s just one of many stories i have read/heard of them.
Because of the numerous green initiatives that have been incorporated into its design philosophy, KEN Bangsar obtained an award that is a first for a Malaysian company – the Green Mark GoldPLUS Award. KEN Bangsar also won:
- the Malaysia Green Building Index (GBI) Gold Award
- the Edge’s PAM Green Excellence Award 2010
- the FIABCI Malaysia Property Award 2011 (Sustainable Development Category)
In 2010, its company KEN Holdings was awarded Best Green Developer by the NST.
Besides many awards KEN Holdings has under their reputation, i am so impressed that they have a Carbon Neutral Certificate… A CNC is awarded when a company invests in projects that offset their current carbon footprint (look, it’s a property developer… there’s going to be A LOT they have to do to pay back Mother Nature!) KEN Holdings has invested in a wind turbine project and a hydro station in China, where ‘dirty’ coal-generated energy is replaced with clean electricity; and a charcoal stove project in Ghana. I must add that this makes them one of the first carbon neutral companies in Malaysia.
Back to KEN Bangsar – there are four design styles and layouts to choose from, with 76 apartments and 4 penthouses.
We were shown around by Sam Tan (Executive Director of KEN Holdings) who is the younger half of the father+son team that heads the company. Having done his civil engineering course in London and worked at Arup and Partners (one of the top engineering consultancy firms in the world), Sam returned to Malaysia with his engineering expertise to work towards building better homes. I didn’t guess his status in the company at first because he’s just so down to earth. He reminds me of Kenny Sia (haha seriously!) in the way he talks and annunciates; and i could clearly see the passion beaming from him as he spoke about his desire to change human behaviour by educating others about efficient energy and power.
The resort-style lobby
An innovative CHEEL system in the lobby conditions and recycles condensate water into an evaporative feature wall. This helps lower the temperature in the lobby while fresh air blows in via wind traps and wind tunnels have been cleverly created. Sam brought us to one of the the wind tunnels where residents can chill out at, and the wind was so strong (as it was built facing its direction) that even my mega short hair was flapping away!
This is made of wenge, an African wood that’s good and costly. Sam said the veneer is very thin, like truffles Leftover veneer is also used to create the front desk (picture earlier).
The stones and black granite on the walls are cut off from leftovers of the apartment units to reduce wastage of new material, and the same building concept it used in the bathroom downstairs (i didn’t take a picture) but it’s got a boutique hotel feel to it.
Gym. Shower facilities in KEN Bangsar are special because hot water is produced by a heat pump that harvests warm air from the air conditioning compressors so no additional energy is needed.
In the picture below, you can see some greenery which the KEN Bangsar grew to cover the unsightly reservoir. Having to understand plant characteristics to plan the best coverage, Eugenia (which grows low) is planted in front and at the bottom whereas bamboo is used to grown to cover the higher portion.
The whole residence uses thick, sound-proof laminated Low-E glass panels that cut off heat, sound and 100% UV rays; yet let in all sunlight to avoid usage of bulbs and lamps.
Lift lobby is sweet. Air in the lift hole (the shaft in which the lift moves up and down) is air-conditioned, and a small spaces designed in the lift allows cold air to circulate in the lift itself as it moves. Also great for people who are claustrophobic about getting stuck in a lift – you are ensured you won’t suffocate if it ever happens!
We worked our way up the building, visiting and viewing different apartment layouts. All the walls use Bio-Fine low volatile components paint for a healthier indoor lifestyle. And of course, energy-efficient lights, central air conditioners with multi-split inverters, and hot water system throughout whole building.
I never knew how important windows like these were until Sam told me they let breeze in, but not rain, which is so true.
You get a view of Damansara Heights, KL Tower and Twin Towers, and even far off Genting on a clear day.
A large study corridor (you can see the main door is open at the end)
One of the bedrooms
Sam said the bottom of the pool is glinting cos real gold has been embedded into its floor and i was like, “Whattttt!”
Another apartment layout:
Hallway. At the end is the bedroom which was pictured earlier. On the left is a small room and bathroom which can be used as a wardrobe or extra bedroom.
And the most impressive unit of all – the triplex penthouse! This is the main living room, dining area at the back, with island kitchen, and wet kitchen further in on the left.
Pool, and big bar behind me while taking this picture. I stepped in here and thought one word – Partayyyyy
Karaoke room – Partayyy #2
One of the many bedrooms
Downstairs (lowest floor)
Second living room. Because… the main living room can be too big and empty to hang out by yourself to read you know? I would so turn this into a library!
All the WCs in the building have eco-friendly and water-efficient built-in bidet seat covers. In the penthouse however, the toilets have the world’s most technologically advanced cyclone flushing system which i actually noticed when i used it – Hmm it flushes differently from mine at home…
Master bedroom and tub in bathroom
In the master bedroom, there is a study area behind the bed…
And in the study behind the desk, there’s an area for the man to keep his clothes
This. This is where the woman keeps her clothes.
All her clothes. Oh i spent some time alone in there, plotting where i would keep certain things, and how i’d change it to all white so i can view my fashion items better.
When i walked out of the room, i involuntarily made a sound that was something in between a sigh and a wail to myself. I didn’t know anyone was around and startled this girl with my big loud ‘HUHM!’ I apologized, “Sorry! … That was a sound of envy!”
This is how KEN Bangsar looks from the outside.
Isn’t that just such a marvelous building?! No wonder they won so many awards…
If you’re interested in their other projects – there is Malaysia’s first green township, KEN RIMBA in Shah Alam. Having achieved the Green Building Index Award, the its Legian Residences project has 328 units of terrace homes that are designed to be extraordinary and sustainable. If you’re interested, KEN RIMBA Jimbaran Residences launch is taking place next month.
(psst… if you’d like to stalk Sam, you can do so on his *twitter*)