Toolkit aims to get more to sign 'green leases'

Toolkit aims to get more to sign 'green leases'
File photo: (From left) Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Swee Say, Minister for Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan and Mayor of the South East District of Singapore Dr Maliki Osman, officially launch the Clean and Green Campaign 2014 on Oct 26, 2013

It takes landlord and tenant to agree on how to cut energy and water use, and the authorities have introduced guidelines to nudge more to sign such "green leases".

Yesterday, the guidelines by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) were announced by Ms Grace Fu, Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, at the launch of its Green Building Exhibition at Marina Square.

The commercial and service-related building sector uses 38 per cent of Singapore's energy, she said. Tenants in a commercial building typically are responsible for half of that usage.

The BCA has put out examples of how "green leases" might work. For instance, landlords could ask tenants to install energy-efficient lighting and fittings. In turn, they may offer the tenant renovation advice to cut energy use.

BCA chief executive John Keung said the green lease toolkit serves as "a starting point" for landlords and tenants to discuss what can be done.

Why suggest leases rather than issue guidelines for tenants? "I think all this boils down to a matter of commitment, because if it's part and parcel of the lease... then both parties can understand what they should and shouldn't do," Dr Keung said.

The BCA wants to attract "as many as possible" to sign such leases, he said.

And greener lease terms would complement existing Green Mark certification programmes for developers. "I suppose it's quite true that if your tenants sign up for a green lease, then the chances of you getting recertified at a higher level are much better," he said.

Currently, at least eight malls by developers CapitaLand and Lend Lease offer some or all of their tenants such lease terms. They are Bedok Mall, Bugis+, JCube, Junction 8, Westgate, 313@Somerset, Parkway Parade and Jem.

Mr Thirukumaran Jallendran, Lend Lease's head of sustainability for Asia, said all of its tenants are on such green leases. For instance, they may use at most 35 watts of power to light each square metre of space.

Lend Lease malls here - 313@Somerset, Parkway Parade and Jem - are Green Mark Platinum certified.

Yesterday, Ms Fu, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, announced that developments at two more strategic sites - Woodlands Regional Centre and Punggol - would have to meet Green Mark Platinum or Gold Plus standards.

Woodlands has many new projects and Punggol is a demonstration eco-town, Dr Keung noted. Currently, only those in Marina Bay and Jurong Lake District must meet these requirements, the highest two of four awards for new buildings.

caiwj@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 21, 2014.
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