Buildings' users are focus of next green masterplan

The third Green Building Masterplan will not just target new and existing buildings.

People working or living within premises, and right down to the devices they use, might also be evaluated by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) under its new plan, which is due to be out later this year.

BCA chief executive John Keung said the broader focus is to get more people involved in greening efforts.

"We are not just looking at a simple change in the lighting (in the office), we might also look at your laptop, to make it as energy-efficient as possible," he said yesterday on the sidelines of the inaugural World Engineers Summit at Marina Bay Sands.

He estimated that about half of the energy consumption of a typical office building can be traced to its tenants.

The expanded focus of the new masterplan is a marked change from the previous two, which had largely targeted physical infrastructure.

In the second green masterplan that was launched in 2009, for instance, developers could secure additional gross floor area if they achieve a higher green mark rating.

That masterplan also introduced a $100 million fund to give out cash incentives to existing building owners who retrofit their premises to meet specific greening criteria.

About 21 per cent of all buildings islandwide are now considered "green", and BCA targets raising this to 80 per cent by 2030.

A BCA spokesman said separately that more than $90 million of the fund has been committed, and the agency is planning to seek further funding.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who was guest of honour at the event, unveiled a new initiative by the Economic Development Board to spur green innovation in the building industry.

The "Pre-Project Innovation Consortium" aims to partner developers and architects with firms specialising in building materials to research and introduce environmentally friendly solutions for the industry.

The partnerships are expected to spend about $10 million on research over the next three years.

At the event, the Institution of Engineers (Singapore) also launched its Chartered Engineer Programme which is aimed at raising the professionalism of engineers across all sectors.

Currently, less than 5 per cent of the 200,000 engineers here are professionally accredited. Most of them are civil engineers.

Mr Teo said engineers play a vital role in finding solutions to tackle the challenges of climate change.

The summit was held alongside the International Green Building Conference, which will end tomorrow.

darylc@sph.com.sg

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