International school in KL receives highest green building accolade

International school in KL receives highest green building accolade

A private school has shown that it walks the talk when it comes to sustainable design.

The International School Kuala Lumpur’s (ISKL) new 10.5ha campus in Ampang Hilir won Gold in the Education category at the Malaysian Institute of Architects (Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia, or PAM) Awards 2019 held in June.

It is also a Green Building Index (GBI) platinum-rated building in Malaysia, the first international school in the country to receive this accolade.

Designed by global architects HOK in collaboration with Malaysian architectural partner Veritas Design Group, the project adhered to green sustainable construction processes as well as the the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The school’s ecological garden and main building block.

“The concept design proposal seeks to create an educational environment that reflects the global vision and aspirations of the school, while rooting it in the Malaysian context.

“It maximises the opportunities of the site for sports, recreation and socialisation, and provides an environmentally sustainable, high quality place to teach, learn and play,” says Megat Arzuan Abas, senior project architect, Veritas Architect.

Green and sustainable initiatives were in place from the start. Construction waste materials were segregated into landfill and recyclable categories.

A third-party recycler collected the recyclables from the construction site and sold them off to recycling centres to reduce landfill impact. This promotes a circular economy as well as creates a lesser environmental impact in terms of raw material production and harvesting.

The campus is designed to reduce heat gain by avoiding direct East and West sun-facing directions and incorporating glazed windows.

During the design and construction, the use of environmentally friendly products – that were locally sourced and produced – was practised to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from transportation involved.

Materials with recyclable content were also used, such as green cement with fly-ash content and recycled content steel bars to reduce CO2 emission from raw material harvesting and production.

Energy-efficient air-conditioning systems as well as active and passive initiatives are in place to reduce the school’s energy consumption. The building is also designed to reduce heat gain by avoiding direct East and West sun-facing directions and incorporating glazed windows.

Grey water recycling and rainwater harvesting are carried out for toilet and landscape irrigation purposes respectively.


The school is landscaped in ways that promote the native biodiversity of the surrounding areas.

Local adaptive and native flowers and trees are planted to promote a natural ecosystem and biodiversity. Incorporated into the student’s outdoor learning activities are urban farming concepts, as well as the natural processes of the ecosystem and biodiversity.

The school is designed to incorporate renewable energy sources on the roof of the building, as well.

The school’s intention is to use solar panels to produce at least 5% of the total power consumption of the building, with plans to install more panels in the future to increase the renewable energy to at least 10% of total power consumption.

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