Singapore’s New Green Building Masterplan

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Wednesday, September 17th, 2014
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To accelerate Singapore’s drive to become a global leader in green buildings, particularly with regards special expertise in the tropics and sub-tropics, the country’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has unveiled its 3rd Green Building Masterplan.  

“The 3rd Green Building Masterplan maps out a holistic strategy for the next five to 10 years to accelerate the ‘greening’ of existing buildings and bring us closer to achieving our target of 80 per cent green buildings by 2030,” said BCA chief executive officer Dr John Keung. “Beyond focusing on the building infrastructure, we also want to get building owners, facility managers, tenants and occupants to play a bigger role in the green building movement.”

Targeted at building owners and tenants that are small and medium enterprises, the scheme aims to incentivise these stakeholders with lesser resources to commence energy efficiency improvements to their buildings and premises. The scheme will co-fund up to 50 per cent of the retrofitting cost for energy improvements, or up to S$3 million for building owners and up to $20,000 for occupants and tenants.

This is the Singaporean government’s first targeted initiative in engaging the SME building owners and tenants to embark on environmental sustainability and improving energy efficiency standards of their buildings and premises.

To qualify building owners with buildings over 8,000 square metres need to obtain a Minimum Green Mark Gold Rating and upgrade their air-con system efficiency to 0.7 kW/RT or better. Buildings up to 8,000 square metres also need a Minimum Green Mark Gold Rating but their air-con system efficiency can be 0.9 kW/RT or better

Office tenants must obtain a Minimum Green Mark Certified Rating and lighting power consumption has to be 10 or fewer watts per square metre. Those in the retail and restaurant sector need to obtain a Minimum Green Mark Certified Rating with energy-efficient light fittings and sub-metering compulsory items to be installed

Buildings are complex ecosystems, and both building owners and tenants need to work together in order to reap the full benefits of green buildings. Following extensive engagement with various groups and communities, BCA will be introducing a series of occupant-centric programmes to engage tenants and occupants, and to kick-start change in their energy consumption habits and attitudes.

One of the first initiatives is the Green Mark Pearl and Pearl Prestige Awards. This new award recognises buildings that have done well in terms of total building performance such as adopting green leases, achieving certification for at least 50 per cent of tenant spaces under Green Mark occupant-centric schemes for higher Green Mark rated GoldPLUS or Platinum base buildings.

With the introduction of this award, BCA expects to increase the GFA of green tenanted spaces and encourage the greater adoption of green leases by landlords and tenants in setting joint sustainability targets. The inaugural award will be conferred at the BCA Awards 2015.

Plans are also underway to enhance the BCA Green Mark assessment criteria to include more focus on areas such as better indoor environment quality for occupant health and well-being. This will further establish the BCA Green Mark as the green building rating tool of choice in the tropics and sub-tropics.

Building on the 2012 landmark legislation requiring existing buildings to submit building and energy related information, the 3rd Green Building Masterplan continues to address the need to monitor and sustain energy efficient building performance.

As part of a phased approach to make building energy performance and energy consumption information more readily available to a wider audience, BCA has released the inaugural BCA Building Energy Benchmarking Report (BEBR).

It includes a list of the top 10 performers of each building category that have shown outstanding results. The results in the report were drawn from data gathered from the mandatory submission of energy consumption for commercial buildings (offices, hotels, retail and mixed developments) implemented in 2013. Notably, the report showed that tenant and occupant activities within a building take up as much as 50 per cent of the total electricity consumption of the buildings.

“By proactively changing their energy consumption behaviour and practices, tenants and occupants can be part of the solution rather than the problem,” Keung said.

The Singaporean Government has particularly been leading the Green Mark movement by driving and strengthening sustainability efforts within public sector buildings, providing guidelines around the adoption of resource efficiency measures, covering energy efficiency, water efficiency and recycling.

The new masterplan builds on this with a number of new requirements for the public sector including regulations stating that:

  • buildings with more than 5,000 square metres of gross floor area will require Green Mark certification
  • when leases run out, public sector bodies must lease office space in buildings with ‘high’ Green Mark ratings
  • public sector offices at the next lease or retrofit must be certified under the Green Mark for Office Interior scheme

Through the efforts of its first two Green Building Masterplans, BCA has successfully grown the number of green buildings in Singapore from just 17 in 2005 to more than 2,100 today. This is the equivalent of about 62 million square metres or more than 25 per cent of Singapore’s total gross floor area.

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