The built environment is a major contributor to green house gas emissions and is also a major consumer of power and water. Not only does this place pressure on the environment, it also creates considerable costs of occupation. In the event of a major environmental incident, increased pressure will be placed on a city’s power and water infrastructure and so any building that is self sufficient or can operate more efficiently will be at an advantage.
Singapore is fairly prepped to keep its built environment sustainable. It scored #2 in Cushman & Wakefield’s 2018 Prepped Cities Index. The index assessed the current state of preparedness of 17 major business centres in the Asia Pacific region based on a wide range of macroeconomic, structural, defensive and social indicators, including factors in the built environment. Singapore scored high for its ability to prevent and manage an environment-related crisis against future uncertainty.
This has very much been driven top-down through a series of regulatory requirements pushed out by government but it is encouraging that the push is starting to come from the wider market too.
Meeting Green Standards
The Building Construction Authority has a target for 80 per cent of buildings in Singapore to achieve Green Mark Standards by 2030. It is actively working with building owners and their tenants to save energy and water, recycle and re-use in the drive to go green. As of May 2018, more than 36 per cent of building projects’ Gross Floor Areas in Singapore have met the green buildings standards.
The sustainability push for the built environment is going to get another nudge when the state planners roll out the CBD incentive scheme to redevelop older buildings. Building owners who are planning to seek redevelopment approval for their buildings will have to meet a minimum score of Green Mark Platinum for their new building before they seek to intensify the use of the land. That’s another leg up for environmental sustainability.
Technology Empowering Sustainable Development
Regulations aside, technology is also an enabler in taking Singapore to a higher plane on sustainability, looking towards a zero waste economy. Carbon tax has been one way to stop the major emitters but to get all on board, renewable energy certificates is being touted as the next frontier. SP Group launched a digital marketplace recently to link buyers and sellers of Renewable Energy Certificates, or green credits, to offset their use of non-clean energy. Blockchain technology is powering the platform. What this does is to help companies achieve greener business operations and meet their sustainability targets. Renewable Energy Certificates are gaining favour amongst corporates in meeting sustainability goals because they off set carbon emissions directly compared to carbon credits which require more steps to procure. Carbon credits involve multiple conversions and are computed based on the other power plants operated in the region.
Beyond corporates, the community as well as the individuals who collectively use and re-use energy are key to achieving sustainability. Consumer habits, lifestyle, perceptions and choices they make in favour of protecting the environment will make the difference.