Phone +852 2512-5111       Fax +852 2510-8830       Email timeasia@time-inc.com
                           for immediate release    
 Malaysian architect named among TIME's Heroes for the Planet    
Solar water heater leads way for     
enviromentally-friendly solar air    

       Hong Kong, 28 March,1999--- For his design of a solar-powered water heater, Malaysian architect Teoh Siang Teik is featured as one of TIME's HEROES FOR THE PLANET this week.The profile is part of an occasional series published in TIME's April 5th issue, which reaches readers in Asia the week beginning March 29.    

       Teoh didn't set out to design the world's most powerful solar water heater, says TIME. He just wanted to go trekking. As an architecture student in Scotland in 1979, he was looking to prolong a visit to Nepal when a businessman asked him to design a hotel in a rural area with no electricity. His energy efficient solution won him first prize from the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, and he returned to Nepal to design a further 69 rural buildings for the Nepal government.    

       His quest resulted in a stunningly simply engineering breakthrough, reports TIME and Teoh's research over the next 10 years led to several design improvements. Now his solar water heater, granted 1 of 3 international patents issued by the World Intellectual Property Organization in 1997, out-performs the competition: needing no electric-powered backup, guaranteeing a higher water temperature than other models and, even better - it can be built using materials available at a local hardware store.    

       More importantly, says TIME, is that Teoh's innovation could unlock many more, including solar air-conditioners. Until now finding an efficient way to use the sun's energy to cool air has eluded engineers, but Teoh's company, Microsolar Malaysia, could potentially reduce the number of solar panels needed to run existing solar air-conditioning models (which are cumbersome and costly,) by half. Such a model would be a boon for the environment as well as a new industry for Malaysia, says TIME.    

This week's HEROES FOR THE PLANET series also profiles:    

  • STANFORD OVSHINSKY for his newly-patented battery, that can propel an emissions-free electric car for 240 km before it needs recharging, more than double the distance achieved by electric cars powered by traditional batteries.
  • GEOFFREY BALLARD who built a municipal bus that would run not on gasoline or diesel, but hydrogen, and spews only a thin stream of pure water from its tailpipe.
  • WILLIAM McDONOUGH, architect of the Gap campus in California where the inside is essentially the outside: the roofs are planted with native grasses serving as a thermal and accoustic insulator, floors were constructed from sustainable forests, paints and adhesives are low toxicity and the building is 30% more energy efficient than state laws require.
       Other profiles from TIMES's HEROES FOR THE PLANET series can be read on www.time.com/heroes.    

       TIME is Asia's largest English-language weekly magazine, with a circulation of more than 316,000. Its worldwide circulation is more than five million. It is published by Time Inc., a unit of Time Warner, the world's largest media and entertainment group.    

Issued by Time Inc. Asia    
JANE SCHOLES, TIME INC.             ASIA +852 2512 5185/2554 7871