Buildings have to disclose energy use in ‘coming years’: BCA

KENNETH CHENG Today Online 7 Sep 16;

SINGAPORE — To spur building owners to come up with innovative and cost-effective solutions to reduce their energy consumption, all buildings will be required to disclose their energy use in the future. In the run-up to that, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) will release such data in anonymised form from Wednesday (Sept 7).

At the opening of the Singapore Green Building Week 2016 on Wednesday, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong announced the release of anonymised energy performance data of buildings, an expansion of the annual building energy benchmarking report, and a revamped Green Mark scheme for residential buildings. These initiatives are part of BCA’s efforts to propel the greening of Singapore’s built environment and to improve user experience in green buildings.

Owners of commercial buildings are currently required to submit data on their energy use to BCA, and only the 10 most energy efficient commercial buildings in each category, such as hotels and retail buildings, are named with owners’ consent in the BCA’s annual building energy benchmarking report.

But in the “coming years”, the BCA will make such disclosures mandatory, although it did not reveal exactly when this will take place. Starting Wednesday, anonymised energy performance data for all commercial buildings will be released through channels such as the data portal,

BCA has been taking a “phased approach” towards mandatory disclosure, starting with mandatory submission of energy use data by commercial buildings in 2013. Last year, it has expanded to include data from healthcare and educational institutions. From next year, owners of sports and recreational facilities, civic and community institutions, and places of worship will also have to submit their data.

In the lead-up to moving away from anonymised data, the BCA will also invite commercial-building owners to voluntarily have their names published as part of the data disclosure. The first set of such data will be released next September.

In the latest energy benchmarking report, commercial buildings continued to fare well on the energy front, registering a 7-per-cent decrease in energy-use intensity — the yearly total energy consumed per unit floor area — between 2008 and last year. And commercial buildings under BCA’s Green Mark scheme — which rates buildings’ environmental sustainability — fared 9 per cent to 13 per cent better than non-Green Mark ones in energy-use intensity.

Educational institutions and healthcare facilities, however, consumed more energy. Tertiary and private educational institutions saw its energy-use intensity rise by about 7 per cent over the same period, while healthcare facilities recorded a 4-per-cent increase.

A revamped Green Mark scheme for residential buildings, to be piloted for a year, was also announced on Wednesday.

The new scheme targets buildings still in their design phase, and is geared towards a greater focus on “good passive design, facade performance, and effective natural ventilation”. It aims to encourage designers to consider features that promote “a more sustainable lifestyle to reduce the building’s impact on the environment”.

The BCA is in discussion with the Housing Board and private developers, such as Lend Lease, to explore and identify suitable projects. In the next few weeks, it will engage other developers, including CapitaLand, to confirm their participation. Currently, about one-third of the Republic’s built area is Green Mark-certified. BCA’s eventual goal is to have 80 per cent of all buildings certified by 2030.

Separately, the authority will join hands with the Rwanda Housing Authority on capacity-building and knowledge exchange with a memorandum of understanding (MOU). It will also lend its expertise to help raise the African country’s green building standards and the two agencies will share best practices.

This MOU will also herald business opportunities for Singapore’s green building players to take part in Rwanda’s development.

Finally, the BCA will also partner Microsoft to develop a new portal that will track the performance of chiller plants and offer insights to enable energy savings. The two-year Chiller Efficiency Smart Portal pilot initiative will mine chiller-plant performance data, including power and temperature, and detect deviations that could result in energy waste.

Irregularities will be fed back to building managers and owners via email or SMS, and reports generated by the system will help them act to optimise performance and save energy.

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