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Energy-efficient measures can reduce power bills by as much as 25%SOME of the earliest shophouses in Melaka were built in the late 18th century. The traditional shoplots used to house businesses on the ground floor while the family lived on the upper floor.

The architects of old constructed the buildings in such a way that they not only offered protection from rain, but could cope with the humid weather and scorching tropical heat.

Long before recycling and renewable energy became trendy, olden-day builders already knew how to make the most out of natural resources, conserve energy and be more fuel-efficient.

The ceilings were extra high, not only to give the perception of spaciousness, but to let in more natural light and ventilation.

Air wells were introduced to brighten and cool the interior, and was an avenue for the heat to dissipate.

Combed doors and louvred windows provided natural ventilation, while terracotta tiles on lime concrete bare floors allowed the ground moisture to rise and cool the room.

Fast forward to the 21st century when urbanisation is progressing at a rapid pace and smart cities are looked upon as a solution for better use of resources and a more sustainable environment; architects today might well take a page from the past.

Building sustainable smart cities

The United Nations predict that two thirds of the world population will be living in cities by 2050 – which means there will be a huge strain on resources and higher consumption of energy.

It makes sense then to develop a smart city vision and focus on more energy-efficient and sustainable buildings, especially considering how the building sector accounts for about 40% of primary energy usage.

In the long run, green buildings are projected to give better economic savings in terms of energy, maintenance and operational cost savings.

Energy-efficient buildings follow a bioclimatic architectural approach in which the shape, direction and in-built functions all work synergistically to improve energy consumption and maximise the building’s energy performance.

By employing smart energy-efficient measures and renewable energy as a source of power, energy bills can be reduced as much as 25%.

Smart city solutions are also about intelligent town planning and management, and improving connectivity and quality of life for the residents.

This means incorporating sustainable infrastructure, environmental conservation and waste management to combat climate change and air pollution.

What is energy efficiency?

Efficient use of energy means using less energy to power the same equipment or services, and eliminating energy waste.

While it may seem like the same thing, there is a difference between energy conservation and energy efficiency.


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