Mr Lee Fook Sun,
Mr Tan Swee Yiow,
President, Singapore Green Building Council,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1 A very good morning to you all. It gives me great pleasure to join you at this event. Many of you here are decision makers in your companies and organisations, and you can play a part in greening our environment. Let me share with you what the Government has been doing, and how we can work together on our green journey.
Singapore’s Green Building Development
2 Since independence, we have pursued sustainable development to build a clean and green Singapore. In June this year, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean launched the Public Sector Sustainability Plan, outlining the government’s collective efforts to go green.
The public sector will take the lead to contribute to the nationwide Sustainable Singapore Movement, and the goals outlined in the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint, or SSB.
3 Singapore has been demonstrating leadership in the green building movement. Under the Green Building Masterplans led by BCA, we are championing the development of green buildings through various initiatives such as the BCA Green Mark scheme, incentives and financing schemes. Since the launch of BCA Green Mark scheme in 2005, more than 3,100 buildings have been "greened”, covering more than 92 million square metres of gross floor area (GFA). This is more than 34% of the entire building stock in Singapore.
4 But greening a building is only half the battle. Based on BCA’s benchmarking report released annually, building users namely tenants and occupants are responsible for about half of the total electricity consumption. This means more can be done to reduce the buildings’ overall carbon footprint by placing a greater focus on encouraging a building’s eventual users, namely tenants and residents, to green their premises and adopt good habits to reduce their daily energy use.
Sustainability Benefits Businesses
5 Globally, the signing of the Paris Agreement has unified the push for sustainable development. The drive for sustainability will not only bring about a positive impact to the environment, it can also benefit businesses. We expect to see more opportunities for business growth through the demand for green buildings. I am glad to note that more private companies, such as DBS and Credit Suisse, are making it a requirement for their offices to only take up spaces in green buildings.
6 Besides demonstrating an organisation’s corporate social responsibility, the immediate benefit of green buildings and premises would be lower operating costs. Beyond that, a BCA and NUS joint study has shown that Green Mark buildings promote a healthier indoor environment, translating to higher occupant satisfaction. This could lead to higher staff productivity and a stronger bottom line for businesses.
7 The Government recognises these benefits, and is committed to greening the public sector buildings and infrastructure through the Public Sector Sustainability Plan. For example, all government agencies need to hold events and lease offices in Green Mark premises. Additionally, new government buildings with more than 5,000 m2 air-conditioned floor area will need to attain the BCA Green Mark Platinum rating.
“Be the Change: Top Down and Ground Up”
8 We have to realise that the Government cannot do this alone, and the support of the industry and businesses is therefore critical. I call for your strong support to put Singapore’s green building plan into action through a shift in mind-set and strategic direction within your organisation. All of you are decision makers within your company. I urge you to help drive and develop a workplace culture that places greater emphasis on green and sustainable behaviour. While the top management endorsement is critical, there is also a need to actively engage your staff. Everyone has a role to play – even small operational changes implemented by staff on the ground can make a big difference. This is aptly echoed in the theme today – Be the Change: Top Down and Ground Up.
Government’s Support in Your Green Journey
9 The Government is rolling out various initiatives to support organisations in going green. To help companies embark on their green journey, I am happy to announce that BCA is introducing a pilot Green Mark feasibility assessment for 50 SMEs on a first-come-first-served basis, where companies can apply for a free basic assessment to gauge how green their premises are.
10 To help defray some of the upfront costs of greening your premises, BCA has also enhanced the Green Mark Incentive Scheme for Existing Buildings and Premises. With this enhancement, the co-funding cap amount has been doubled, to a total of up to $40,000, and will support a wider range of energy efficient systems and equipment.
11 Ultimately, staff support is essential in achieving a holistic sustainable culture within the organisation. Therefore, BCA, together with the Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC), is launching a Behavioural Change Pilot Programme to train up champions within companies to help encourage your staff. This programme aims to improve energy use through behavioural changes, where small targeted actions can lead to tangible savings for the organisation, and also help create a better environment for all of us.
12 To put it simply, these new initiatives seek to encourage the built environment industry to do more towards a Leading Green Economy, which is one of the five focus areas under the SSB. With the wide range of occupant-centric initiatives available, I am confident that you will be able to find some form of support to take the next step in your organisation’s sustainability journey, and thereby help Singapore to become one of the leading cities in green innovation and deployment.
13 Today, I am pleased to highlight some building owners and tenants, who have shown strong leadership and commitment, working together to improve the environmental sustainability of their buildings and premises.
14 On the screen, you can see over 50 tenants from the three buildings of this year’s BCA Green Mark Pearl and BCA Pearl Prestige award winners. The award recognises building owners and tenants who achieve greater environmental sustainability for their building. These 50 tenants, such as Prudential, Golden Village and Din Tai Fung, have demonstrated strong commitment and attained Green Mark for their premises.
15 Let me conclude by encouraging all of you to follow their lead, as there is a need for greater support from everyone. I hope that the exchanges afterwards will provide you with valuable insights, inspire you to be part of the Sustainable Singapore Movement, and to create greener and healthier spaces for your staff and tenants. Indeed, I am very happy that this year, there has been quite a big focus on the link between green buildings and health, and that is why my colleague Prof Tan Chorh Chuan is also here to share with you this morning. I wish all of you a fruitful discussion later on. Thank you.