Singapore, which is a small island city-state, is very vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. It is also particularly concerned with the need to use resources efficiently, especially energy and water. Because of this and as part of the global community, Singapore has been doing its part to reduce the overall carbon footprint.
As part of this effort, the national target to “green” at least 80% of all buildings in Singapore by 2030 was set in 2009. Championed by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), the green building movement has come a long way since it was started in 2005. Public sector buildings took the lead to go green to be certified under the Green Mark scheme.
Incentive schemes were introduced to encourage private sector developers and building owners to have their new and existing buildings to be retrofitted to be energy efficient and green. Not only that, there will also have to be efforts to ensure that such buildings as well as new buildings which have been Green Mark certified, continue to operate their energy systems efficiently throughout their life cycles.
The BCA has already announced the relevant building control legislations, which will be implemented in the months ahead.
But green buildings are only a part of the solutions. While energy efficient buildings and technology enhancements are important, the intelligent and conscientious usage of energy at the workplaces and our homes are just as crucial. This is because close to twenty percent of the total amount of electricity produced in Singapore are consumed by households.
Studies by the BCA have also shown that in office buildings and shopping complexes, the occupants and tenants are typically responsible for about half of the total energy consumed in such buildings. The green movement must therefore go beyond buildings to reach and galvanise the community and individual into green action.
In this respect, the BCA has already rolled out the Green Mark schemes for Existing Residential Buildings, Office & Interiors and Restaurants in the past two years. These schemes will provide opportunities to engage and educate home owners, tenants and occupants on the reasons and benefits for going green and also how they can play their part.
This October, the BCA will launch another 3 tenant-centric Green Mark schemes. These are the schemes for Supermarkets, Retails and Data Centres. They are the top energy guzzlers among the establishments in commercial buildings and shopping complexes.
In particular, the Green Mark scheme for data centres will have a great impact on the energy efficiency of commercial buildings – IDA has found that the top ten data centres in Singapore consume the equivalent of the electricity consumption of 130, 000 homes.
Furthermore, it has been found that only 30 % of the energy consumed are for the IT equipment with the bulk going to the cooling system.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Tan Tian Chong is the Executive Director of Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC) and Group Director, Technology Development Group - Building & Construction Authority (BCA).