Green Infrastructure: Sustainable Development in Indonesia


The construction industry is highly energy- and carbon-intensive, producing 25-40% of the world’s total carbon emissions, expected to be exacerbated by an increase in the demand for new buildings. The construction and buildings sector accounts for c.36% of global energy use and c.39% of energy-related CO2e emissions. Developing countries account for c.60% of the global construction sector’s total CO2e emissions. ~80% of the construction industry’s GHG emissions are estimated to be generated from building materials, 5-15% from transportation and mobility sector, and 6-9% from construction activity. However, significant progress has been made in the infrastructure segment in lowering carbon emissions, progressing and modulating on eco-friendly requirements, and executing low-carbon measures in the construction supply chain to meet the Paris Agreement target of limiting global temperature rise to below 2oC.

Indonesia is planning to relocate its capital city from Jakarta to the province of East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. The new capital city is expected to be based on the ‘smart, green, beautiful, and sustainable’ theme and the ‘designing according to natural conditions’ principle, with 75% green space to maintain environmental balance. The government also plans to introduce the criterion of 100% green space replacement (i.e. space to be partially or entirely overlaid with grass, trees or other vegetation including playgrounds and lawn, gardens, and memorial parks) for the construction of institutional, industrial and residential buildings in the new capital. Against this background, it is important to understand various techniques that can be implemented to reduce energy consumption and the role of stakeholders in greening the construction ecosystem.

The construction value chain consists of interlinked processes and stages; there is scope for reducing carbon footprint and energy in each phase. The construction life cycle involves primarily four main stages (see the table below).

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Multiple techniques and methods are available to improve energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of infrastructure including buildings, roads and bridges, and pavements. A few widely used techniques are provided in the table below.

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The implementation of the above techniques in the development of sustainable buildings can lead to several long-term benefits for users including:

  • Affordability
  • Durability and easy maintenance of buildings
  • Energy saving
  • Healthy and safe environment

As the Government of Indonesia is planning to shift its new capital to East Kalimantan, which is based on sustainable infrastructure, green techniques that have a positive impact on the climate and the surrounding environment can be explored. Greening the infrastructures help conserve natural resources, reduces carbon footprint, and improves the quality of life. This would accelerate Indonesia’s progress in line with its pledge under the Paris Agreement.

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