SINGAPORE: From next year, building owners will have to do more to show they’re energy efficient.
They have to fulfil three new requirements under the Building Control Act.
They have to get a minimum Green Mark standard when a cooling system is installed or changed.
The Green Mark is a benchmarking scheme by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) to promote sustainability such as reducing water and energy consumption by adopting best practices in environmental design.
They also have to submit energy audits on the cooling system once every three years as well as energy consumption data every year.
The data collected will form the basis of the national energy benchmark for the building sector.
These requirements were spelt out in a Bill passed in Parliament.
Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry & National Development, Lee Yi Shyan, said: "Of a building’s total energy use, typically 30 per cent to 50 per cent is consumed by its cooling system. Further, the cooling system has a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. With the advance of technology and design, today’s cooling plant system, when properly implemented can save as much as 40 per cent compared to the typical cooling system installed in our existing buildings today. Thus, introducing minimum Green Mark standard for existing buildings at the point when the building owner changes the cooling system will enable up—to—date systems to be installed, saving expenses for the building owners while reducing energy consumption at the same time."
Phase one of the new legislative requirements will focus on hotels, retail and office buildings with a minimum gross floor area of 15,000 square metres.
About 850 existing buildings will be affected by the new legislation.
Building owners can be fined up to S$100,000 if they fail to fulfil the minimum Green Mark standard.
Currently, only 16 per cent of buildings, both existing and new, have a minimum Green Mark standard.
BCA will enforce the new measures in existing buildings, such as business parks, hospitals, convention centres and schools in the later phases.
In 2008, legislation was passed, requiring new buildings to achieve a Green Mark rating.
Together with the current legislation for new buildings, the new regulatory measures will help meet Singapore’s target of greening 80 per cent of building stock by 2030.
Causeway Point is one building which decided to be more energy—efficient.
It spent nearly S$3 million on the improvements but expects to gain in energy savings of S$660,000 a year.
CEO of Frasers Centrepoint Asset Management, Dr Chew Tuan Chiong, said: "The benefits of going green is multiple. First, of course, there will be cost savings and in the case of tweaking the air conditioning system, it’s quite major. But at the same time, the corporate image, the business partners, the people who support your business will also be more receptive to what you’re doing."
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