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Thread: Govt may legislate Green Mark requirements on buildings

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    Default Govt may legislate Green Mark requirements on buildings

    Govt may legislate Green Mark requirements on buildings

    By Tung Shing Yi, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 20 March 2007 1636 hrs


    SINGAPORE: Plans are in the pipeline to make all new buildings in Singapore environmentally friendly.

    While this may mean higher development costs, Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu said long-term cost savings would be greater than the upfront costs.

    The government is considering making changes to the Building Control Act to mandate new buildings to be environmentally friendly.

    Such 'green buildings' would be energy-efficient and provide lower water consumption and better indoor environmental quality.

    And already, there has been a growing demand for environmental building consultancy services.

    Vincent Low, Director of Business Development at C-Energy Global, said: "Because of this incentive, I found developers looking for energy consultants to help them look into the plant, and to work together to make sure the design is effective and efficient."

    The green-building consultancy firm said it expects a two- or threefold increase in business in the next three years.

    The government said it is committed to achieving high standards in construction sustainability.

    While a 'green building' would involve higher construction costs, experts said the operational savings would more than offset the higher initial costs.

    Meanwhile, Singapore construction firms have also been urged to adopt waste recycling measures and switch to alternative construction materials.

    The latest call came from Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu at an industry event on Tuesday.

    She said: "We have a big building programme in the pipeline, and it must be (done) in a sustainable way. The recent Indonesian ban on export of concreting sand, and the disruption in granite supply serve as timely wake-up calls.

    "We must quickly switch to sustainable construction. Instead of relying on concrete as the main construction material, we have to make use of alternative materials, including steel, other metals, glass and composites."

    Currently, only 5 percent of buildings in Singapore are constructed using steel, compared to the US where steel structures are commonly used.

    Waste recycling is mandatory in the construction process in countries like Japan, Germany and the Netherlands.


    - CNA/so

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    Default Call to use more sustainable building methods

    Published March 21, 2007

    Call to use more sustainable building methods

    By BENITA AW YEONG


    SINGAPORE must use more sustainable building methods and materials, Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu said yesterday.

    'The recent Indonesian ban on export of concreting sand and the disruption in granite supply serve as timely wake-up calls,' she said at a Green Mark Seminar organised by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

    'Instead of relying on concrete as the main construction materials, we have to make use of alternative materials, including steel, other metals, glass and composites. We should also promote the recycling and re-use of construction materials.'

    Besides public sector initiatives in the form of regulations, incentives and funding, other measures will be introduced to help steer the real estate and construction sectors towards higher standards of sustainability, Ms Fu said.

    'We are considering amending the Building Control Act to impose minimum requirements on environmental sustainability that are equivalent to the green mark certified standards for new buildings and existing ones that undergo major retrofitting,' she said.

    While green buildings may cost more, the operating savings during their lifetime more than outweigh the added expense at the start, she said.

    Yesterday's seminar, for professionals from the construction and real estate sectors, was held in conjunction with the launch of BCA's info-portal to promote Green Mark as the standard for local buildings.

    'We can learn from the experience of countries like the UK, US, Japan, Germany and the Netherlands,' Ms Fu said.

    Local speakers, and others from Japan and the US, took part in the seminar to suggest ways to upgrade Singapore's building sustainability.

    Toshiaki Fujimori, senior counsellor at Japanese architectural and contracting firm Shimizu Corporation, encouraged Singapore to adopt 'wall-greening', which involves lowering a building's temperature by growing plants on the side of it.

    Gary Christensen, developer of the Banner Bank Building in Boise, Idaho, said environmentally-friendly buildings make economic sense from a developer's standpoint even though they cost more to put up.

    A green building not only cuts maintenance expenses but raises the productivity of workers housed in it, so going green makes financial sense, he said.

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