Property owners can look forward to annual energy savings of $1.6b
IT'S a red-hot target in going green - the government hopes to put the Green Mark stamp on at least 80 per cent of buildings here by 2030, and has come up with a slew of new measures for building owners to help meet this goal.
Not only does the environment stand to gain, property owners can look forward to annual energy savings to the tune of $1.6 billion in the long run. More jobs dedicated to the development and care of green buildings may also emerge. The new target was revealed by the Inter-ministerial Committee on Sustainable Development yesterday, as part of its 10-to-20-year blueprint for Singapore's growth. In conjunction with the plan's launch, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) rolled out its second green building master plan to improve the environmental friendliness of buildings.
Existing buildings, in particular, came under the spotlight because they consume a third of national end-use electricity. To entice owners of some private non-residential developments to carry out retrofitting works, BCA will offer cash incentives through a $100 million Green Mark incentive scheme for existing buildings. The National Parks Board will also have a new 'sky-rise' greenery incentive scheme to encourage existing developments in the city centre to green up their roofs.
The government will play its part by requiring all large existing buildings owned by its agencies to attain the Green Mark gold plus standard by 2020, at an estimated retrofitting cost of about $500 million over the next 10 years. Gold plus is second to the top platinum rating, and ranks above the gold and certified ratings.
New buildings are also on BCA's radar, and the agency is working with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to offer bonus gross floor area (GFA) for private developments. Those that attain the Green Mark platinum or gold plus rating can receive up to 2 per cent or one per cent more GFA beyond the URA master plan gross plot ratio control respectively.
The bonus GFA, however, is subject to caps and the payment of a development charge (DC) or differential premium. While City Developments managing director Kwek Leng Joo believes the additional GFA will help developers defray some investment costs in green technology and features, he suggests 'the DC rate be pegged at the previous rate of 50 per cent instead of the current 70 per cent' to 'make the incentive more attractive and effective'.
New buildings in strategic growth areas will come under greater scrutiny. Those in the Marina Bay and Downtown Core area will have to meet Green Mark platinum or gold plus standards as part of land sale conditions, while those in the Jurong Lake District, Kallang Riverside and Paya Lebar Central will have to attain the Green Mark gold plus rating.
For Marina Bay and Jurong Lake District in particular, URA will introduce a landscape replacement policy to make up for greenery lost from ground development. New projects have to put in place sky-rise greenery or ground-level landscaping equivalent to the site area in size.
The government has also set a high benchmark for new public sector buildings - all medium or large air-conditioned ones have to achieve the Green Mark platinum rating.
'BCA's second green building masterplan will not only result in more of our buildings being able to achieve substantial savings in energy costs, but also provides a boost to the green-collar job market,' said BCA CEO John Keung.
According to BCA, the masterplan will reduce energy costs by $1.6 billion a year when it is fully implemented. Some 18,000 professionals, managers, executives and technicians may also be trained over the next 10 years in the development, design, construction, operation and maintenance of green buildings.
Source: Business Times, 28 April 2009