UTM team builds energy-saving home

UTM team builds energy-saving home

JOHOR BARU: In an effort to help save the environment, a group of 20 researchers from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) has built an environmental friendly house at the Skudai campus here.

The members consist of undergraduates and postgraduates who took almost a year to complete the eco-home project with the focus on energy-saving.

UTM’s Institute for Smart Infrastructure and Innovative Construction (ISIIC) senior director Prof Dr Muhd Zaimi Abd Majid, the team leader, said the house featured several eco-friendly designs such as having more glass windows instead of a brick wall.

“By having more glass windows, there will be more savings on electricity, especially during the day,” he said at the opening ceremony of the house.

The event was launched by Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Zaini Ujang yesterday.

Dr Muhd Zaimi said the house had a smart home automation system, where all electrical components such as fans, lights, air conditioner units and others could be controlled via a software in a smartphone.

“This software is suitable for those who are busy and often forget to switch off lights, as the system can be used when one is out of the house,” he said.

However, he said the software was only compatible with Android-based smartphones.

He added that the single-storey bungalow standing on a 0.0135ha land was built using low carbon and eco-friendly materials, and was built using the fast track wall system, which led to a 15% saving on construction costs and cut construction time by 50%.

Dr Muhd Zaimi said the cost of setting up the house was RM500,000 and the funding was allocated from the university’s winning prize during the Solar Decathlon China competition in Datong, China, in 2013.

He said among the companies that sponsored the project were Bluescope Lysaght, Poly Glass, Fiber Insulation, Stagno Tech, Ditrolic Solar Technology and Chee Kong Engineering and Construction Sdn Bhd.

The research team consists of those from UTM’s ISIIC, Construction Research Centre, Centre for the Study of Built Environment in the Malay World and Centre of Electrical Energy Systems.

Earlier in his speech, Dr Zaini said he hoped the university and other institutions would continue to spread the awareness on the need to practise energy-saving.

“Everyone plays an important role in saving the environment,” he said.