More companies going green in Singapore

Monica Kotwani Channel NewsAsia 22 Apr 14;

SINGAPORE: More local companies and organisations are seeking ways to integrate green features into their work spaces, according to environmental groups.

They say it is a result of greater awareness of the long-term cost benefits that come with going green.

The Westin Singapore, located in the heart of Singapore's financial centre, launched its Green Rooms in conjunction with Earth Day.

Fifty-six of 305 hotel rooms are equipped with an energy meter, found on the room's television screen, to monitor a guest's individual energy consumption.

The rooms are located on the 38th and 39th floors of the hotel.

"We have a meter bar on our main screen of the television, or IPTV, that clearly indicates to the guest the average energy consumption during their stay, which has a green, an orange and a red (indicator),” said Sushil Sharma, manager of The Westin Singapore.

“Hopefully those bars remain at the green which leads us to then contributing a dollar to UNICEF and which also indicates that the guest has reduced energy consumption by 20 per cent compared to an average guest in our hotel."

Reducing energy consumption could be as simple as turning off the lights when not needed and setting the air conditioning to 24 degrees Celsius.

It took the hotel three months of backend testing before it rolled out the programme.

Other features include environmentally friendly limousines which are powered with used cooking oil from the hotel's kitchens. The hotel has a conversion machine to convert the used oil to biodiesel.

A study by the Singapore Environment Council last year found that Singapore uses an average of three billion plastic bags every year. While that is a lot, there is some good news with supermarkets coming on board the conservation process.

For example, some NTUC FairPrice stores have special checkout counters that do not provide plastic bags for your purchases.

FairPrice also gives out rebates when shoppers bring their own bags.

As a result of such initiatives, FairPrice recently announced that customers used a record 8.2 million fewer plastic bags in 2013 -- a 12 per cent decrease compared to 2012.

FairPrice says it is also on track to install eco-friendly features such as LED lighting and energy-saving refrigeration systems in all its stores by 2016.

According to some environmental experts, more companies are going green.

The Singapore Environment Council says it conducted 79 audits for workplaces as part of its Eco-Office certification last year, up from 62 in 2012.

The audits look at whether spaces have water and energy-saving features, among others.

The Building and Construction Authority says the number of office spaces certified with the Green Mark for Office Interiors has increased from four in 2009 to more than 80 last year.

- CNA/ec