Singapore’s new Green Mark scheme a 'game-changer'

The city-state's building authority's enhanced Green Mark standard promises to raise the sustainability bar for buildings

Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has launched a new version of its flagship Green Mark scheme that promises to be a “game-changer” in raising sustainability standards of the building industry.

Announcing this at the opening of the International Green Building Conference (IGBC) on Wednesday, Permanent Secretary Choi Shing Kwok of the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources said that the enhanced scheme for non-residential buildings has been improved to address sustainability in a more holistic manner.

Dubbed ‘Green Mark 2015’, it will focus on climatically responsive design, energy effectiveness, greater focus on health and wellbeing of users, smart technologies and a systematic approach to address embodied carbon and resources - that is, the carbon emitted during the manufacture, transport and construction of building materials until the end of its life cycle. 

“This is by far the most consultative Green Mark scheme as it involved the participation of more than 100 industry specialists and experienced practitioners,” noted Choi.

“This new scheme provides a platform to recognise and make mainstream the leadership needed to drive high performance in green buildings. I am confident that the Green Mark 2015 is set to be a game-changer in raising the level of sustainability in the built environment,” he added.

The Green Mark scheme, first launched in 2005, rates buildings on their environmental performance. It awards buildings based on different tiers of performance such as Gold, GoldPlus and Platinum, and also based on type of building such as residential, retail, or commercial.

The standards for qualifying buildings have been raised at regular intervals in the past decade. Green Mark 2015 is the fifth revision.

The rating has gained popularity even beyond Singapore, with building owners from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, China, India and the Middle East applying for Green Mark certification.

BCA said in a statement that key benefits for building users from among the scheme’s changes include a stronger emphasis on indoor environmental quality in relation to enhanced health and well-being.

To encourage smart buildings – in line with Singapore’s vision to become a leading smart city – the new standard also rewards buildings that are equipped with smart controls and analytics to assist in the management and optimisation of building resources such as energy and raw material.

The revamped scheme will also accelerate solar PV adoption by further encouraging the use of renewable energy through solar feasibility studies and solar ready roof design. 

BCA added that the scheme is launched for piloting and will be fine-tuned before full implementation. It has partnered various institutional bodies such as the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Eindhoven University of Technology (EUT) in developing the new standard.

The three-day IGBC 2015, organised by BCA and held at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands, is set to attract more than 1,000 industry professionals from over 30 countries to discuss and share ideas on green building solutions.

BCA’s chief executive officer, Dr John Keung, said: “Green Mark 2015 will play a more prominent role in driving and communicating sustainability outcomes in Singapore, as buildings consume more than 30 per cent of total electricity.

“It will recognise the leadership of building owners who drive improvements to the overall environmental credentials of projects. Such leadership by the building owner will add a layer of accountability and integrity to the projects teams in business sustainability reporting.”

Eco-Business is producing a special e-newsletter featuring stories on the proceedings at IGBC 2015, kindly supported by City Developments Ltd and the Building and Construction Authority. Sign up to receive the newsletter here.

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