Nurture nature

SINGAPORE - Go green and be rewarded for it. That is the aim of a new certification scheme launched by the National Parks Board (NParks).

Called the Landscape Excellence Assessment Framework, or Leaf, it was started to recognise projects which worked nature into their plans and maintained its elements well. Extra points are given if they encourage public appreciation and involvement with the greenery.

Each development is certified for three years, after which it will be reassessed.

Of the 15 submissions, nine new and existing developments were presented certificates. The projects range from condominium Corals at Keppel Bay to two Housing Board estates in Bukit Panjang to the Siloso Beach Resort on Sentosa.

The Leaf scheme is one of many green accolades handed out to private and public projects each year to encourage developers, contractors and architects to build beautiful and eco-friendly projects in line with Singapore's reputation as a garden city.

These include the Landscape Industry Association Singapore's Awards of Excellence and the Skyrise Greenery Awards, which is organised by NParks and industry players such as the Singapore Institute of Architects and the Singapore Green Building Council.

NParks' chief executive Poon Hong Yuen says Leaf is the first and only certification scheme here "dedicated to assessing developments with outstanding greenery", as other awards and certification schemes consider greenery and other factors.

"We can now give recognition to developers and property owners that have creatively woven greenery and nature into their developments," he adds.

For Woha's senior associate architect Chan Ee Mun, designing buildings that incorporate greenery has to start with experimentation, as architects and developers improve their techniques over various projects.

He was part of the Woha team that designed the six-year-old Newton Suites, which also received a Leaf certificate.

The vertical greenery strategies implemented in Newton Suites were later employed in several other award-winning high-rise projects, he notes, and the greenery featured was more than what was originally available on the plot of land.

The condominium was "convincing proof" that with good planning and detailing, greenery can grow well in high-rise buildings too, he adds. This helped to allay the concerns of many developers.

Life! checks out how the nine projects factored flora and fauna into their building plans.

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