Singapore government encourages CEOs to invest in green buildings

The government has been taking the lead in turning its buildings green and is now asking Singapore CEOs to follow suit.

Some experts say that planning to go green right from the design stage can mean substantial savings in energy costs later.

The public sector is paving the way, with the Environment Building being a prime example of an energy-efficient government building. And private sector firms are increasingly following in its footsteps.

With the industry and buildings sectors accounting for about 65 percent of Singapore’s total energy use, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Dr Yaacob Ibrahim emphasized how important it was for businesses to play their part in conserving energy.

Dr Yaacob said: “To further emphasize that energy efficiency is the way to go, we are also putting in place several schemes that will incentivise energy efficient technologies and practices in the industry.

“We are even looking into assisting companies at the design stage of their facilities so that the newer factories will be energy-efficient from day one.”

‘Retro-fixing’ or re-modelling older buildings with more energy efficient materials can help cut energy bills by 30 to 60 percent.

But global experts say building energy-efficient buildings saves more money than retro-fixing less energy-efficient buildings later on.

Chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute, Amory Lovins, said: “Capital cost goes down if you build things right the first time. I don’t just mean operating costs go down. I mean capital expenditure goes down.

“So in a typical class A office, we normally save around 80 percent or 90 percent of the typical energy use, and improve the productivity and health of the people in the building, and yet the capital expenditure goes down about three to five percent.”

He explained that energy-efficient office fixtures – like windows and lights – have smaller and simpler mechanical systems, so one saves on the costs it would take to modify regular office fixtures.

Mr Lovins also said an added incentive to switch to improved environmental space is that it creates happy workers and shoppers – spaces that are well-lit increase labour productivity by up to 16 percent, and boost retail sales by as much as 40 percent. – CNA/cl

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 22 May 2008

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