Scholarly article on topic 'Green “Breathing Facades” for Occupants’ Improved Quality of Life'

Green “Breathing Facades” for Occupants’ Improved Quality of Life Academic research paper on "Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries"

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Abstract of research paper on Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, author of scientific article — Faridah Hanim Mohamed Farid, Sabarinah Sh Ahmad, Abu Bakar Abd. Raub, Mariam Felani Shaari

Abstract The application of green facades to improve the built environment's aesthetics and building occupants’ quality of life is relatively new in Malaysia. The paper aims to analyse climate responsive building envelopes that can be considered for a proposed Respiratory Centre in Malaysia. Data were collected through on-site observations and precedent studies and analysed qualitatively. The facades with the most positive impact on the environment and human wellbeing are green, sustainable glazing, and titanium dioxide facades. A good “breathing facade” must be able to provide better air quality to the building occupants.

Academic research paper on topic "Green “Breathing Facades” for Occupants’ Improved Quality of Life"

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ScienceDirect

Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 234 (2016) 173 - 184

ASEAN-Turkey ASLI (Annual Serial Landmark International) Conferences on Quality of Life 2016

AMER International Conference on Quality of Life, AicQoL2016Medan 25 - 27 February 2016, Medan, Indonesia

Green "Breathing Facades" for Occupants' Improved Quality of

Faridah Hanim Mohamed Farid*, Sabarinah Sh Ahmad, Abu Bakar Abd. Raub, Mariam

Felani Shaari

Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Surveying, Universiti TeknologiMARA, 40450 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia

Abstract

The application of green facades to improve the built environment's aesthetics and building occupants' quality of life is relatively new in Malaysia. The paper aims to analyse climate responsive building envelopes that can be considered for a proposed Respiratory Centre in Malaysia. Data were collected through on-site observations and precedent studies and analysed qualitatively. The facades with the most positive impact on the environment and human wellbeing are green, sustainable glazing, and titanium dioxide facades. A good "breathing facade" must be able to provide better air quality to the building occupants.

© 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-reviewunder responsibilityofthe AssociationofMalaysian Environment-BehaviorResearchers, AMER(ABRA malaysia) Keywords: Breathing facade; green facade; respiratory centre; living walls

1. Introduction

Reducing energy use and indoor air pollution are two major challenges faced by the construction industry today. The rapid growth of development and economy has raised the global concern over the adverse impacts to the environment and the depletion of energy resources (Aksamija, 2013). Buildings account for 39% of the total US

»Corresponding author. Tel.: +6017-212-1464; fax: +603-5544-2096. E-mail address: firnem@yahoo.com

1877-0428 © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of the Association of Malaysian Environment-Behavior Researchers, AMER (ABRA malaysia) doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.10.232

(Chen, 2009), and 40% of the European Union's energy consumption (European Commission, 2016). In Malaysia, energy consumed by buildings is about a third of the total end energy use (Chong et al., 2015). Buildings offer the greatest opportunity to conserve energy (Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 2007) and protection of the environment. In recent years, air pollution issues could not be solved using conventional construction and material. Air pollution negatively affects our quality of life and health conditions (Borhan et al., 2011).

The facade is the most noteworthy building element that could impact a building's energy use. New techniques to reduce energy consumption in building while maintaining quality indoor conditions for the users are being explored by researchers (Aksamija, 2013).

How do building facades reduce the CO2 emission of buildings? Does breathing green facade make sense? What are the benefits that would emerge? This paper attempts to address these by analysing the contribution of breathing facades in reducing the CO2 emission and its roles to healing the occupants' environment. This paper analyses the types of facade materials, functions and systems. These aspects are selected in different building types and regions. The selected buildings share similar visions of reducing the air pollution and keeping the occupants healthy.

The research aims to analyse the suitable, functional and responsive building envelopes for the proposed Respiratory Centre. In line with this aim, the objectives are as follows:

• To study the suitability of existing green facades and compare the green facades and other types of sustainable façades

• To compare and analyse the green façade and the sustainable facade material that benefit and the environment the most

• To propose suitable combinations of green and sustainable facade attributes

2. Literature review

2.1. General history of green facade

Graeme (2011) explained that the earliest references to green roof the Hanging Garden of Babylon and other roof gardens on stone temples that were developed 600BC in Mesopotamia; these provide a green, freshening respite from the dry and hot climate of the Middle East. In contrast, in cold northern Europe during the Viking era around 800-1000 AD, sod roofs were implemented, where 'turf, and occasionally seaweed, was used to line the walls and roofs of homes for protection from harsh winds, extreme cold, and rain' (Perk, 2008).

In the early 1900s, Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright, two famous architects, designed rooftop gardens and terraces in some of their projects, which also doubled as outdoor living rooms. Green roofs have been developed with various designs in different countries and green facade is the extension of the new design ideas.

2.2. Defining green facade

Wood (2014) defined the "green wall' or "vegetated facade" as a system wherein plants are grown on vertical surfaces such as a building facades and walls in an organized manner and systematic upkeep. Climbing plants grow naturally on building facades by attaching themselves directly to vertical surfaces using various mechanisms. Self-climbing climbers and self-supporting woody plants can attach themselves directly to the facade surface or grow along the facade without any added support. The main elements of green walls are plants, plants media, structures that support and attach plants to façade and the irrigation system that depends on the design.

2.3. Types of green facade

According to Feng and Hewage (2014), green walls are categorised into green facades and living walls. Green facade can be used as the building envelope, which benefits both human and environment. Climbing plants is commonly used, as they are the simplest and cheapest while the other types require more complex system and

multifunction according to the needs of the design. The systems that support the living and climbing plants are known as the trellis system, the planter box system and the felt layer system.

2.4. Green facade in Malaysia

The execution of green facade or vegetated roof as an instrument to moderate the Urban Heat Island impact is moderately new in Malaysia. Although it has not been tried on an urban scale, numerous buildings have demonstrated that green approaches can help towards improving the natural and aesthetical nature of the built environment. Greening the building envelope with vegetation can be used as a means to restore the environmental conditions of the site. Most of these approaches have been utilized in the latest development but due to lack of knowledge, solutions and skills, these great ideas are not used to its fullest. In a different perspective, the green or sustainable design is a commitment to being environmentally responsive by helping to reduce pollutions and improve the building occupants' well being (Jaafar et al., 2013).

2.5. Problem statement

Air pollution has been affecting many Malaysians' health recently due to the trans-boundary effects of poor agricultural practices and rising amount of CO2 being released from transportation. Respiratory health problems have increased rapidly in recent years. Buildings that are designed to lower the impacts of air pollutions via passive means are much welcomed. Building projects consume a lot of natural resources, thus new and retrofit constructions must address the issues of providing a suitable environment for the occupants, consume less energy and can be sustained greenly (Isnin et al., 2012). Hence, the problem statements are as follows:

• There are few studies on a comprehensive framework of green façade attributes in Malaysia.

• There is also a lack of studies on how to choose the most appropriate function, design and analysis of green facades for the tropical hot and humid climate.

3. Methodology

3.1. Procedure

The study has been conducted using a qualitative method based on onsite observations and resourcing data from the literature that provide a thorough understanding of the concept of the green facade and the benefits for the occupants and surrounding buildings. Notably, a book by Hopkins and Goodwin (2011) on living architecture provided a wealth of information on the latest green technology and living architecture. Another book by Aksamija (2013) titled "Sustainable Facades" provided knowledge on design methods for the high-performance building envelope. The guideline and characteristics of "breathing façade" are from Graeme (2011).

The study started with a review of the functions, design and the maintenance of the green facades by literature analysis. Three building are chosen for the precedent study based on three design approaches of green facades. Then the study continued with data collection from site observations of three buildings. Then a comparative study was conducted to put together all the findings to indicate suitable green façade systems appropriate for a proposed respiratory centre. However, the case study nature of the study, the time constraint as well as the restricted length of this paper set the limitations of the study.

4. Results and findings of precedent studies and site observations

4.1. Literature analysis

Three buildings are analysed based on their unique systems to reduce air pollution and give maximum comfort to the occupants both indoors and outdoors. The aspects of façade materials, design elements and exterior component, irrigation system and ease of maintenance are scrutinised as shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Literature analysis on various sustainable façade materials within the tropical and sub-tropical climate

Project

Climate

Newton Suite, Singapore (District 11)

Tropical Hot and Humid

Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall, Japan

Sub-Tropical

Manuel Gea Gonzales Hospital, Mexico City

Sub-Tropical

Wall type

Integrated Living Wall (V egetated Mat)

Green Façade: Stepped terrace garden (Wall and terraces)

Sustainable Façade: Self-cleaning façade using photocatalytic, air-scrubbing titanium

dioxide (TiO2)

Location of façade

North Façade

South Façade

South Façade

Facade surface area

139m2 (Approx.)

5, 326m2 (Approx.)

2,500m2 (Approx.)

Life span

15-20 years

100 years

5 years

Design elements and exterior component

North facing façade is vegetated by mat living wall, - for aesthetic purposes

Sun- thriving plants are positioned towards the top of the wall and more delicate plants at the bottom

By extending vertically up the stepped building, it doubles the size of the adjacent park.

Create an inclined park using foam filled slopes on top of the structure terraces

Nice façade

Reduces air pollution

When UV beams energise the electrons in 20-nanometer TiO2 particles-1g of particles has a surface area of 500 m sq.

Irrigation System

Automatic irrigation system /floor, + timing sensors.

Sprinklers and water filters

Maintenance

Easy access

Easy access

Easy access

Private / Individual Benefit (Graeme, 2011)

Reduced energy use & temp. control

Noise reduction via insulation

Improved indoor air quality

Reduced cost - bldg. system integration

Increased market value

Increase usable open space & comfort

Protection to building structure

Public/ Group Benefit (Graeme, 2011)

Reduce urban heat Island

Air pollution reduction * * *

Storm water mgmt & improved water quality * *

Improved public health and wellbeing * * *

Urban agriculture opportunities * *

Integrate - landscape, biomass & biodiversity * *

Adapting to climate change * * *

Aesthetic and urban design * *

In summary, the findings show that green facades and living walls are more beneficial and environmentally responsive than sustainable facades. Green facades and living walls have more advantages and benefits in providing additional spaces of individual and social interactions between human and nature. Meanwhile, the sustainable facade helps in improving the air quality but other than that, that it has good shading potential.

After looking through the benefits and results of the green facades, it can be concluded that the green facades are responsible architecturally and environmentally. It increases the air quality, the aesthetic value and property value. Even though the maintenance and irrigation system requires detail and care, the benefits are far better than a conventional facade and the sustainable facade. Saving in energy consumption by using vertical green system would enhance comfort both indoor and outdoor (Jaafar et al., 2013).

The primary role for the façade at the proposed Respiratory Centre is to help improve the air quality indoor and outdoor for the occupant at building and also the urban scale. Hence, a living wall might be the most suitable option.

4.2. Site observations of three buildings

Three buildings in Putrajaya, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur are chosen as case studies through onsite observations. These buildings are the new icons for the green architecture. The aspects of façade materials, design elements and exterior component, irrigation system and ease of maintenance are shown in Table 2. It is suggested that green facades and living walls are more beneficial and environmentally responsive than a sustainable facade. Green facades, living walls, and green roof have the most advantages and benefits in providing spaces for individual and social interactions with people and nature. Having green facade as the envelope will help to reduce the ambient air temperature (Misni, 2014). Although the observed buildings are not health architecture related, these buildings are high in occupants and required maximum comfort for the occupants.

Table 2. Site observation data collection on selected buildings

Project

Headquarters of Suruhanjaya Tenaga, Putrajaya, Malaysia

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Le Nouvel Serviced Apartment, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Building type

Office

Education

Serviced Apartment

Building floor

Medium-rise 10 storeys

Low-rise

5 storeys (2 buildings)

High-rise

50 storeys (2 towers)

Climate

Tropical hot and humid

Tropical hot and humid

Tropical hot and humid

Facade type Sustainable Façade: Sloping (self-shading) Glass panels Green roof + glazed facades 1.Glass panel 2.Green roof Combination of green and sustainable façade 1. Green cables 2. Planterbox and catwalk 3. Windbreaker 4. Frit glass panels

Location of facade All direction North and South All Direction

Surface area facade coverage 14,000m2 (approx.) 30,000m2 (approx.) Estimation for two buildings 8,000 000m2 (approx.) Estimation for two towers

Life span 50-100 years 50-100 years 50-100 years

Roof type Green Roof with solar PV (Services area) Grass turf roof Flat metal roof (Services area +BMU system)

Roof Surface area 3,600m2 (Approx.) 10,000m2 (Approx.) 8,000 000m2 (Approx.)

Design elements and exterior component reduction of fossil fuels water conservation sustainable building materials waste reduction indoor env. quality movement and transport administration development and decimation admin.plan Green roof brings down both the roof temperature and air temperature thus lessens solar heat gains The building facades are facing the north and south to minimise solar heat gain High effectiveness release lights Facades filters the outdoor air from pollutants and dust and counterbalances carbon footprints and emissions Cleans indoor air by eliminating VOCs Green facades filters sound Plants and soil filter rainwater that flows through the facades.

Irrigation System Rainwater Harvesting Efficient Water Fittings Grey Water Recycling for Wetland Automatic irrigation system/floor, + timing sensors. Automatic irrigation system/floor, + timing sensors.

Maintenance Easy access Easy access Easy access

Service location Roof Basement Roof

After looking through the findings of the green and sustainable facades, it can be concluded that the green facades are responsible architecturally and environmentally. It increases the air quality and flow, the aesthetic value and property value (Jaafar et al., 2013). Even though the maintenance and irrigation system requires detail and care, the benefits are more to get from the facade. The sustainable facade is more responsible for the energy savings and reduces energy usage, meaning it helps the building to be more sustainable in energy sufficient but less environmentally responsive as it is devoid of living plants.

The Le Nouvel serviced apartment façades consist of a combination of the green and sustainable facade, resulting in a maximum output from all the other case studies and precedent studies, giving a more complex facade envelope (Table 2). Readings of the surface temperature were measured directly on the two types of wall surfaces. The green facade on the wall had a 1.2°C reduction and indirect green facade on the bare wall had a 2.7°C reduction of the surface temperature (Jaafar et al., 2013). The building envelope integrates the interior and the exterior, different material conduct heat differently.

4.3. Suitable facade treatment for the Proposed Respiratory Centre

There are three potential facade treatments, which are the green facade, the sustainable glazed facade and the self-cleaning facade using titanium dioxide (TiO2). These three types of facades have the most positive impact on the environment and human health. When selecting suitable facade for the proposed design, one needs to consider many aspects. The following section on green façade provides a better view of the selected facade treatment.

4.4. Green facade

4.4.1. System selection and design consideration

When considering the requirements proper green facade system, the choice of the growing media and support system are important. To accommodate all year round vegetation on vertical walls, the types of climbing structure for the plants should be easily accessed and maintained. There are various types of green facades that could accommodate living plants, either, on or away from the wall, in different types of vertical and horizontal growing media. What's important is to avoid damp rising and plant roots and branches growing directly on the walls, causing damage to the wall surface.

The system is required to comply with the following factors, especially Malaysia is a tropical country, and the hot and humid temperature and water are to be controlled and designed properly.

• Air infiltration control (the air barrier function),

• Vapour diffusion control (the vapour barrier function - not the same as the air barrier function)

• Heat loss/gain control (insulation and thermal barriers), rain and water penetration control (the rain screen principle) and surface condensation.

4.5. Plants selection

Proper plant choice would determine the success of the green facade. Climbing, twining, and vining plants are more suitable for cable and cable net green facades. Plants that are native to the tropical area would thrive better in the hot and humid climate of Malaysia and would require lesser maintenance. Native plants can likewise be more resistant to insects and the dry season. As a general guideline, designers should strive for blended planting plans that offer more varieties of native plants. Irrigation system for plants must be carefully designed to water the plants at the roots. For rooftop applications, the raised beds and plant boxes should be considered to avoid any condensation or water seepage into the building.

4.5.1. Maintenance consideration

Maintenance for a greater part of green facades should be kept to a minimum for it to function successfully. Access for maintenance should be considered carefully. Thought needs to be given to where steps, scissor lifts and even container trucks can be located for more efficient green maintenance of green facades.

4.6. Sustainable glass facades

4.6.1. Types of glazing

There are many aspects to consider when fitting glazing systems in building facades. Makers have the capacity to give distinctive glass items in a variety of hues, u-values, light reduction and thermal reduction capabilities through its coatings. In the meantime, the properties of light transmittance, reflectance, and assimilation of a particular sheet of glass can be chosen based on the specifications of the thickness, coating and whether it is single or double-glazed. These qualities influence the appearance as well as the visual and energy efficiency properties of the glass and the general building where it is installed.

4.6.2. Sustainable material consideration

Recyclability and utilization of reused materials can have a significant effect. The most widely recognised materials for present day building envelopes are glass, steel and aluminium. Broken glass pieces (cullet) are melted and utilised to create new glass, which helps reduce dependency on new glass manufacturing and reused aluminium.

4.7. Self-cleaning facade using Titanium Dioxide (TiO2)

The self-cleaning building façade using TiO2 has been utilised in the past ten years. This type of chemical coating can be applied to all types of facade material, frame or structure. TiO2 is a photocatalyst, which exhibits high oxidative property when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. TiO2 can decompose harmful organic compounds, kill bacteria and eliminate odours. TiO2 is a non-toxic chemical base application that has been widely used in Mexico to solve the air pollution problem. Building installed with TiO2 coatings manage to reduce air pollution in the building. The TiO2 facades are applied in most polluted areas especially near roads and car parks. It is the simplest and most effective treatment that can be used.

Coating the building façade materials with a super-hydrophilic photo catalyst will help the dust and dirt on the walls cleaned by rain, keeping the outside wall clean longer than the untreated wall. The mix of photocatalysis and super-hydrophobicity permits oil and soil to be cleared away with water.

4.7.1. Maintenance consideration

The self-cleaning facades utilises daylight to activate the TiO2 nanoparticles, bringing about high oxidation force and super hydrophilic impact. It allows for a more robust and sustainable façade. During a downpour, the rain water This results in downpour water cleans the TiO2 surfaces effectively.

4.8. Facade analysis of three observed buildings

To compare and analyse these facades, the three aspects of the triple bottom line approach to sustainability, namely economic, ecological and social function are applied (Heidt & Neef, 2008). It is not only to analyse the building content but also to propose a wider view how this could contribute to the urban management. Three building facade applications were selected due to the most effective and potential façade material and also related to the functions of the respiratory centre that calls for cleaner air quality.

Table 3. Facade analysis of three observed buildings

Criteria / Properties Green Facade Sustainable Glass Facade Titanium dioxide (TiO2)

Building reference Le Nouvel Service Apt ST Diamond Building Hospital Manuel Gea Gonzales

Aspect Economical

Material type Cables / walls Glass Chemical

Location of facade North/South All direction All direction

Design strategies for sustainable façade

Recycle material Pollination Recycle Depends to the facade design. It is an easy and open to all type of design and material.

Sustainability * *

Facade Cost High Medium

Support Load No Yes

Life span 100 Years 10 - 15 Years 5 Years

Maintenance requirement Frequently Often during recoating of chemical

Aesthetic and market Value Good- Increase Market Good- Increase Market Good- Increase Market Value

Value Value

Tourism aspect Yes- New style No- Basic Design Yes- New Technology

Aspect Ecological

Wind resistance * * The answers are all yes but it all depends on facade frame design (Can be applied on all type of

Thermal Performance - *

Reduce Urban climate * * materials, shape and forms) The

Acoustic Buffer * * most effective in health and environment factors

Ecology * -

Fire protection - -

Water irrigation * *

Aspect Social

Health and Environment Quality

Indoor * * *

Outdoor * * *

Application of facade treatment

External * * *

Interior * * *

Social Interaction

Design idea Green area and good interaction Transparency and openness Various (Depends on Design)

Recreation * *

Well being Human Environment Human and environment

Mobility/ Trend World World New (Origin: Mexico)

Aspect Others

Disadvantages Moist problems Uncontrolled and poor maintenance results in damages and deteriorations Requires high maintenance and good irrigation system Requires good indoor air quality and heat control Poor heat prevention cause high cost of AC. Dangerous during fire or damages. Fire spread quickly Poor response to visible natural solar light Requires special labours for application/coating of the material.

Advantages and Similarities

Is the physical barrier between the interior and the exterior of a building

Serves as the outer shell to help maintain the indoor environment (together with the mechanical conditioning systems) and facilitate its climate control.

Control (the flow of matter and energy of all types)

Aesthetics (to meet human desires on the inside and outside)

Private / Individual Benefit (Graeme, 2011)

Reduced energy use & temp. control * * *

Noise reduction via insulation * * *

Improved indoor air quality * *

Reduced cost - bldg. system integration * * *

Increased market value * * *

Increase usable open space & comfort * *

Protection to building structure * * *

Public/ Group Benefit (Graeme, 2011)

Reduce urban heat Island * * *

Air pollution reduction * *

Storm water mgmt & improved water quality * *

Improved public health and wellbeing * *

Urban agriculture opportunities * *

Integrate - landscape, biomass & biodiversity * *

Adapting to climate change *

Aesthetic and urban design * * *

Reduce urban heat Island * * *

5. Conclusion

Through the retrospective evaluation of the previous research on the benefits of the facades on humans and the surrounding environment, it is concluded that the application of the existing green facades on their respective buildings is appropriate. However, there are room for improvement regarding its use.

It is recommended that the integration of use between different types of sustainable facades categorised as green facade, sustainable glass façade, and self-cleaning facade, can maximise the desired potential. The three categories of sustainable facades are suggested to have the most appealing characteristics and benefits. The attributes of the facades could be integrated for a better performing facade. The facades would complement one another through integrated application, thus, maximising the benefits to building occupants and the surrounding environment.

Overall, there are three aspects to be considered when selecting and maintaining facades, which are Economic, Ecological and Social. The benefits of the three aspects are categorised into two, the individual-Private benefits and the Group-Public benefits. It is important to note that the above suggestion is made based on the three aspects benefits. Despite the different facade performances and approaches, the application of the façade treatments is not only confined to help the building but also to the urban green space management and sustainable land use.

Table 4. Conclusion on suggestions for the "breathing facade"

Facade /Application

Green Façade

Sustainable Glass Facade

Self-Cleaning Façade - TiO2 Coated

Material / Framework

Direction:

(Tropical country)

Effective

Vegetation with required frame system or wall structure

East and West

Sun path direction- Beneficial to the vegetation when is when the time most photosynthesis process.

Morning - Evening (Requires sun light)

Glass- Sustainable type Installation of glass panelling. All direction

Flexible to design- Provide natural lighting into the interior spaces and give the feel of openness.

Morning - Evening (Requires sun light)

Non-toxic chemical coating Applicable to all façade material. North/South

Direction of wind and to be exposed to the area of more polluted spaces

(Example: Roads and car parks)

24 Hours

(More effective with additional sunlight)

Benefits

Design/ Location

Produce Oxygen and filters air.

Interior/External Light and water source.

Separator /Divider Interior/External

Produce Oxygen and filters air at all times

Interior/External

Various ways to combine facades to one another

Idea 1:

Idea 2: Idea 3:

Provide natural noise/air buffer.

Aesthetic value and better quality of air- Indoor occupant/ external views

Glass Internal/ TiO2 external - Provide division and quality control indoor/outdoor environment -vice versa.

Three (3) Layer facade system

Through the analysis, this paper has shown how the application of the suitable "Breathing Facade" for the Respiratory Centre is derived. The conclusion analysis is provided in Table 4 to give a better view and understanding. A good "Breathing Facade" must be able to provide the needs of the occupants not only in the building but the extended the perimeter of the building but also all through the environment factors. The suggestion on the integrative use of sustainable facades should be further studied and discussed for further research.

Acknowledgements

This study is funded by the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme, provided by the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia. The researchers would also like to thank IRMI, Universiti Teknologi MARA for administering the grant for this research.

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