Drive to triple number of specialists in green industry

PHOTO: Drive to triple number of specialists in green industry

THE Building and Construction Authority (BCA) is looking to almost triple the number of green specialists in Singapore to 20,000 in the space of the next seven years.

That is how many experts in eco-friendly development, design, construction and operations the BCA needs to help achieve its goal of making 80 per cent of Singapore's buildings energy efficient by the year 2030.

"It is necessary to develop the industry's capabilities and ensure adequate supply of green specialists," said Ms Serene Peh, deputy director of the green building policy department, BCA, at a briefing yesterday.

To support its aims, the BCA Academy has developed degree programmes in the field of design, management of sustainable buildings and facilities, and certification courses for Green Mark professionals, among others.

There is a high demand for young green professionals in the industry, said Ms Elaina Olivia Chong, group chairman and chief executive of Real Kaiten, a company specialising in energy-saving patents.

"It is hard to find many young professionals in the green industry. There are not many high-paying opportunities in the private sector. In Singapore, there are comparatively more attractive industries to build a career," she explained.

Ms Chong believes the market still needs some time to respond to the greening trend.

"The consumer market still needs a long time to mature, in terms of accepting and understanding what green really means for the bottom line. So green entrepreneurs must be multi-disciplined, not just conservation practitioners," she said.

BCA also hopes to make going green a community responsibility. "The next challenge is to bring on board the people who use the buildings - as tenants, consumers, as users. How do you get them to share the same objective," said Dr John Keung, the authority's CEO.

As part of the release of the third BCA Green Building Masterplan in September, the government body hopes to spread the green message to building users, students and financial institutions. Further details will come during Singapore Green Building Week in September.

Experts agree that the development of green infrastructure has to go hand in hand with changing people's behaviour.

Singapore's buildings should be just as environmentally friendly inside as it is outside, said Ms Maria Atkinson, director of XO, a company that specialises in sustainable solutions.

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.