More owners looking at ways to green buildings (The Straits Times Forum)

Friday, 31 August 2012

We refer to Mr Eubank's letter "Eco-friendly buildings do not need to be costly and tech-fancy to run efficiently" (21 August 2012).

BCA agrees that energy-efficient buildings need not be expensive. We applaud the sustainability efforts of United World College's Tampines campus, the example highlighted by Mr Eubank. It was awarded BCA's Green Mark Platinum for its eco-friendly approach to design. However, the project was a new development, not a retrofit, making it easier to implement energy efficient features at the design stage.

For buildings retrofitting to BCA Green Mark standards, owners can expect a payback period of 5-7 years from energy savings alone; in some cases, the ROI could be as high as 45%, depending on the building's condition. To encourage more owners to green their buildings, we recently revised the Green Mark Incentive Scheme for Existing Buildings to raise the co-funding level to 50% to make it more attractive. There is, however, no requirement for owners to share the information, which may deter some owners from coming forward because of commercial sensitivity. The incentive scheme has helped to create a buzz, resulting in more owners proactively looking at ways to green their buildings.

We also agree that sharing information on good practices is useful to enable learning and promote competition and benchmarking. Over the years, BCA has been publicising the achievements of many exemplary Green Mark projects through our website and events such as the upcoming Singapore Green Building Week in October 2012. BCA has also been engaging and educating building owners on the business case through many one-to-one sessions and the Breakfast Talks for CEOs. Recently, BCA worked with building owners to give extensive publicity to retrofit processes and benefits for some outstanding Green Mark projects through advertorials in The Straits Times.

Furthermore, BCA intends to require mandatory submission of energy consumption data for benchmarking. Due to commercial sensitivity, these detailed information will be kept confidential but owners will be able to see how their buildings perform against these industry benchmarks and set appropriate targets for improvement.

We thank Mr Eubank for his feedback.

Tan Tian Chong 
Group Director, Technology Development 
Building and Construction Authority

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