World Green Building Council appoints first Asian chair

Singapore's green building pioneer Tai Lee Siang, who has been named as the new chair of the WGBC's Board of Directors, has ambitious plans to grow the organisation's member base, boost sustainable design and transform Asian cities.

singapore cityscape
Singapore’s green build pioneer Tai Lee Siang brings the promise of a better place for all the people of the world in his new role as Chair of the World Green Building Council. Image: Shutterstock

The World Green Building Council, the largest international organisation influencing the sustainable and green build marketplace, has appointed Singapore’s Tai Lee Siang as the new chair of its Board of Directors.

The appointment was announced on WGBC’s official website and took effect on Tuesday.

Tai, who is also honorary consultant and a past president of the Singapore Green Building Council, is the first Asian to hold the top post at the WGBC since its founding in 2002.

“I am honoured to be able to contribute towards a more sustainable global built environment. Although green building as a movement has advanced significantly in recent years, there is still much to be done and can only be done with the collective effort of the entire industry,” Tai said.

He is currently the group managing director of Ong and Ong, a multi-discipline consultancy firm that provides solutions encompassing urban planning, architecture, engineering, landscape architecture and interior design.

Tai’s appointment is the second accolade Singapore has received this month in the area of sustainable and green building, after it was ranked second highest on consultancy firm Solidiance’s Global Cities for Green Building Performance Index 2016.

As the new WGBC chair, Tai will push ahead with plans to grow WGBC’s member base, boost sustainable design innovations, and transform Asian cities.

WGBC currently has national green building councils in more than 100 countries with over 100,000 buildings and 1 billion square metres of green building space registered globally.

As the first WGBC chair from Asia, Tai also has a specific focus on transforming Asian cities.

He said Asia presents a unique case in sustainability as it is home to almost two-thirds of the world’s population living on one-third of the world’s land mass.

“Coupled with the rapid urbanisation, our pressing need for sustainable buildings and cities naturally has spawned many green solutions. Together with the Asia Pacific Network GBCs, I hope to further advance the transformation of Asian cities towards more sustainable and livable models which can be replicated in other global cities,” he said.

Terri Wills, the chief executive officer of WGBC, said: “Tai Lee Siang has been a true champion of sustainability, and has worked tirelessly to transform the industry and position green building as a one of the most effective solutions to climate change.”

World Green Building Council chair Tai Lee Siang

Tai is no stranger to the global green build arena, having served as vice-chair of WGBC prior to his appointment.

Tai also largely influenced the green build movement in Singapore.

Current SGBC president Chia Ngiang Hong lauded Mr Tai’s appointment, which he said “speaks volumes about SGBC’s contribution to the global green building movement”.

 “Having been on SGBC’s board since our founding days, Lee Siang constantly creates new inroads and opportunities for SGBC, elevating our presence within the industry and our stakeholders,” he said.

During his tenure at SGBC, Tai established the Singapore Green Building Services (SGBS) certification scheme and formed strategic partnerships for the Singapore Green Building Product (SGBP) labelling scheme.

Such schemes have served as the basis for choosing green building designs and procuring sustainable build materials in Singapore’s flourishing green build industry.

Tai also worked closely with Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) to put the little red dot on the global map for sustainable and green build.

Although green building as a movement has advanced significantly in recent years, there is still much to be done and can only be done with the collective effort of the entire industry.

Tai Lee Siang, chair, World Green Building Council

“His appointment as the new chair of the WGBC is a strong indication of the progress we have made on this front,” said BCA chief, Dr John Keung.

The WGBC also welcomed new members to its board of directors. They are Peter Templeton, senior vice president of global market development at USGBC, Sunderesan Raghupathy, executive director of Indian GBC, Tanya Cox, chair of GBC Australia, Christine Lemaitre, CEO of DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council) and Bruno Sauer, CEO of GBC Espana.

Tai has set his sights on helping more countries achieve their environmental goals through the green build industry.

“I look forward to collaborating closer with our friends and partners to create better places for people all over the world,” he said.

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