New initiatives launched to promote green building movement

The green building movement in Singapore has gained momentum and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) hopes to spur it further by enhancing its Green Mark Incentive Scheme.

At the BCA awards ceremony on Thursday, City Developments was named Singapore’s first Green Mark Champion.

This new award is given to developers and building owners who have at least ten projects that have attained the BCA Green Mark Gold and Platinum standards.

However, BCA was unable to find a winner for the ultimate prize – the Green Mark Champion Platinum Award, which requires developers to have at least 50 eco-friendly projects to qualify.

Among the 97 winners at this year’s BCA award ceremony, three CityDev projects secured the Green Mark Platinum prize. They are 9 Tampines Grande, Cliveden at Grange and The Solitaire. They were evaluated based on several criteria, with more weightage placed on energy efficiency.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said: “A key aspect of sustainability in the built environment is how efficiently you use resources, especially energy.

“All indications show high energy prices are here to stay for quite some time, so a focus on energy efficiency will reduce costs and enhance the competitiveness of the building.”

BCA expects more industry players to tap into its S$20 million fund, which has been set aside for the Green Mark Incentive Scheme in 2006. So far, S$2.6 million has been committed to 17 projects.

There are over 100 green buildings in Singapore and BCA said another 200 are waiting to be certified.

With effect from Thursday, it has expanded the scheme to smaller buildings and other stakeholders in the industry, as the minimum gross floor area (GFA) eligibility is reduced from 5,000 square metres to 2,000 square metres.

Dr John Keung, CEO of BCA, said: “If you do your green building design from day one with that objective of energy efficiency in mind, you’ll tend to have a more cost-effective design, so we are extending the incentive scheme to the architects and to the mechanical and electrical engineers to encourage them to take charge from day one.”

Huge savings can be reaped from green developments. For instance, the new mall 313@Somerset is expected to generate S$1.3 million in energy savings a year.

Another new initiative is the Green Mark for Parks Award as the BCA is working with the National Parks Board to promote sustainable practices and features in parks.

The three winners for the new award this year are Fort Canning Park, Chinese Garden and the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

BCA also launched the inaugural Design and Engineering Safety Excellence Award on Thursday to commend industry players who have upheld high construction safety standards.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 22 May 2008

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