By Somluck Srimalee
Magnolia Quality Development Corporation Ltd (MQDC) set up the Research and Innovation for Sustainable Centre last year with a budget of Bt200 million to research and develop innovative technology under the concept of “wellbeing innovation”.
The 15 researchers, investigate all aspects of residential and commercial building standards for healthy and environmentally sensitive buildings, including offices, retail, and hospitality, said Singh Intrachooto, chief adviser to the Centre, in an interview with The Nation recently.
The researchers are compiling best practices for buildings to improve the quality of life for residents and workers, while also assisting property firms that develop residential and commercial buildings in Thailand, he said.
The 1,000squaremetre Centre will official opening on December 25, this year on the fourth floor of Magnolias Ratchadamri Boulevard, on Ratchadamri Road.
Property firms and others interested in green technologies can check out their ecomaterial library to help them decide on materials to use in their projects, said Singh.
In its first months, the centre has enjoyed some success in helping condominium projects innovate, such as a CO2 sensor system, co-developed with Obotron, for MQDC’s project at Whizdom RatchadaThapra. The CO2 sensor kicks into action when it detects the gas at over 1,000 parts per million (PPM). It opens a window automatically and changes to red the room’s colour until the gas is restored below 1,000PPM, the standard for “living well”, at which point the windows are shut and the colour returns to normal. The technology was researched by the centre’s team, said Singh.
The Centre also researched helping people get better sleep and found that mobile phones should be kept at least 1.5 metres from a person’s head. An electric outlet for phonecharging near the head of the bed is a potential source of sleep disruption.
“We are also studying how developers could reduce ecological impacts when building in Bangkok or the provinces. This is part of creating an environment that provides a quality of life for people living in condominiums or other buildings.”
The Centre can boast 15 researchers studying ecomaterials, environmental design, innovative design, and related solutions, and is planning to double the number of researchers over the next year. Staff are from Thailand. The overseas staff from the UK, South Korea, China, and Belgium are under MQDC. The research will provide innovative ideas and knowhow for all MQDC buildings in Thailand and overseas. “Our goal is to be a global research centre to create development standards for the wellbeing of all people,” said Singh.
“We have a programme to exchange our research with international networks of people who study and research standards of healthy living, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT, Harvard University, and Baycrest Research Centre in Toronto. We share knowledge and innovate together,” Singh said. The main challenge for Thailand’s developers until now is they could not conduct the research by themselves. Most brought in technology from overseas, but it sometimes did not suit the local environment.
“When we conduct our own research [in Thailand], we will find the technology to match the country’s environment, and create our own technology,” he said.
“This is the new era for developers to do sustainable business for the long term. The Centre will not support only MQDC projects but will open up to all developers to improve their designs to create wellbeing design for all of the people in the country,” he said.
MQDC also plans to open another research centre, this time focused on design concepts and innovations. That facility will require more space than is still available in the Ratchadamri Road facility and so would be located on Bangna Trad Road. It would open next year, according to Singh.
“I believe this is not a trendy thing, but [instead] a mustdo for all developers, so people living in their residential developments have a longterm high quality of life.”
MQDC is the property development arm within the DT Group of Companies (DTGO), tracing its oriฌgins to the founding of Town & Country Development Co Ltd in 1994. That company became MQDC in 2006, when it resumed investments after weathering the storm of Thailand’s 1997 economic crisis.
The company currently encompasses more than 16 completed or ongoing projects containing more than 4,500 units, and is valued at almost Bt70 billion. They operate under the brands Magnolias, Whizdom, and ICONSIAM Magnolias Waterfront Residences.