More new offices eco-certified

Taking the effort to ‘green’ offices has paid dividends.

The latest batch of recipients of the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) Eco-Office Label on Wednesday said they saw savings of between five and 30 per cent in utility costs.

Gammon Construction Quality Assurance Manager Thng Seng Huat said they made efforts to orientate the site offices to be north-south facing to reduce heat gain, cutting down the need for air-conditioning.

They have also designed the layout of lighting and air-conditioning at their offices to maximise energy efficiency.

“(The staff) make an effort to switch off the computer and also the wall switches when they are leaving the office,” Mr Thng said.

“After meetings, they switch off the meeting room lights. When they go out, they try to car pool. They cut down on overseas travelling by using the video-conferencing.

Another recipient, Changi Women’s Prison, said simple changes like installing energy efficient light bulbs, and water saving taps and flushes, helped them achieve their target of 20 per cent savings in water and up to 30 per cent savings in electricity.

22 new recipients received their certificates on Wednesday, bringing the number of green offices in Singapore to 73 since the Eco-Office label was first launched in 2005.

Executive Director of the Singapore Environment Council Howard Shaw said the eco certification scheme will be rolled out to two more sectors in the second quarter of this year.

“We’ve identified the retail industry where there are significant issues such as energy consumption, packaging and waste as well. Singapore having such dense shopping districts and there are more and more coming up all the time, we feel that some standards in this field would be useful.”

Building and Construction Authority CEO John Keung said that beyond the use of energy efficient technology, it takes commitment from users of buildings to achieve results.

He said this was especially so for tenanted buildings where the landlords face the challenge of reducing total energy consumption although individual tenant’s energy use is usually out of his or her control.

Mr Shaw said: “There is a general perception that if you go green in the office, it’s going to mean greater inconvenience for people and added cost to the business, when many cases, the opposite is true.

“All our eco-certified offices have actually reported that they’ve saved on their operating costs, especially in the area of energy.”

He added that one of the biggest wasters of energy that is often overlooked is standby power. Many companies often leave appliances on standby overnight even when not in use.

Singapore was recently ranked first in green building policy in the Asia Pacific, doing better than cities like Tokyo, Seoul and Sydney.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 16 Feb 2011

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