Singapore reaffirms commitment to green building & construction sector

Mindy Tan, Business Times AsiaOne 4 Dec 15;

THE Building and Construction Authority (BCA) is representing Singapore in the newly launched Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction.

The alliance involves the participation of governments, major building and construction stakeholders and potential funders, to help the building and construction sector achieve the common objective of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. It was launched at the inaugural Buildings Day at the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris.

In support of COP21, the World Green Building Council and green building councils worldwide - including the Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC) - also embarked on a new campaign: #BetterBuildGreen.

The campaign highlights the key role of green buildings in reducing emissions, and their economic and social benefits.

SGBC also made some pledges. These include working with both the private and public sectors to base procurement decisions on sustainability- centred principles and increase the adoption of Singapore Green Building Product certified products and materials in the built environment; supporting the government to develop a green-collar workforce and train 20,000 professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) by 2020; and enhancing the Singapore Green Building Product (SGBP) labelling scheme for green building-related products in Singapore, to ensure that building products are impartially evaluated for their qualities and benchmarked against similar products in its category.

SGBC also reaffirmed its commitment to work with the government to attain the target of having 80 per cent of buildings in Singapore achieve BCA Green Mark standards by 2030.

According to BCA, Singapore is on track to meet this target: to date, there are over 2,500 green building projects, amounting to more than 70 million square metres of gross floor area (or 29 per cent of the total gross floor area) in Singapore.

A total of 25 green building councils (including Singapore's) unveiled national commitments to register, renovate or certify over 1.25 billion sq m of green building space and train over 127,000 qualified green building professionals over the next five years.

"Since our inception in 2009, SGBC has been bringing together industry players and advocates for green building," said Chia Ngiang Hong, president of SGBC. "Our strong public-private sector partnership has enabled the greening of Singapore buildings to progress steadily. We will continue to work with our members and partners to spread awareness of the role of buildings in climate change and greenhouse gas reduction, as well as the added benefits of lowered energy bills, healthier building spaces, and a better environment for all."

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), limiting global warming to below 2 deg C requires reducing the building sector's energy consumption by at least 30 per cent.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says the building and construction sector is responsible for 30 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions. This figure is growing rapidly and could reach 50 per cent by 2050.

One of the alliance's functions is to facilitate the mobilisation of international resources for efficient local operational solutions, align existing initiatives, commitments and programmes to achieve greater scale, and catalyse greater pace and impact of climate action in the building and construction sector.

Initiating partners and members will have regular engagements and sharing sessions, making climate actions visible and reporting on their progress, developing common and appropriate climate goals and promoting transparent measurement protocols.

They will also lead or contribute to key climate change mitigation opportunities through initiatives such as net-zero-energy buildings, sustainable housing and tropical architecture solutions.

In addition, members of the alliance will collectively address major challenges including public strategies and policies on building efficiency; transformation of the entire building value chain; and the financing options available to accelerate investment and funding for greenhouse gas mitigation projects, and programmes for the building and construction sector.

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