Senior Parliamentary Secretary Maliki announced an enhanced Green Mark Incentive Scheme for existing buildings [Speeches]
1. Good morning. It is my pleasure to join you today at the “World Workplace Asia Conference and Exhibition 2012”.
2. Asia’s urban population is expected to increase from 1.9 billion to 3.3 billion by 2050 . By 2025, seven of the world’s top ten megacities with 10 million or more inhabitants, will be in Asia . This unprecedented population growth in urban centres will pose challenges in terms of housing and infrastructure for all countries. It is a daunting task for cities to support an ever more crowded planet, and to do so in a sustainable manner.
3. Moving forward, the key is all about sustainability. We are fully aware of global concerns over climate change, and increasing demand on our limited land, water and energy resources. Countries all over the world are mapping out strategies to achieve greater environmental sustainability without compromising economic growth.
4. I believe that in adversity lies opportunities for all of us. The theme of today’s conference: “Asia Pacific Facility Management – Smart Facilities, Unlimited Opportunities” reflects the many possibilities in infrastructure planning and efficient facility management, to mitigate the urban and environmental challenges that we face. Notably, facility managers have an important role to play to optimise our buildings’ energy use, while ensuring the safety and comfort of their occupants.
5. Here in Singapore, we have more than 5 million people living in a small island of 710 square kilometres. We are one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Our land area is highly built-up with infrastructure to meet various needs such as housing and commercial activities, and we have neither a rural countryside nor a hinterland. Thus, there is greater imperative for us to innovate and do more in our built environment sector, so as to achieve our twin goals of economic growth and environmental sustainability.
6. Let me briefly share with you three key initiatives for our built environment.
7. First, under our Sustainable Singapore Blueprint, we have set a target to green 80% of our buildings by 2030. This will be achieved through the Building and Construction Authority (BCA)’s Green Mark rating scheme, which assesses buildings not only on energy efficiency, but also on water efficiency, indoor environmental quality and environmental protection. Green Mark buildings can be at least 25% more energy efficient compared to normal buildings. Building owners will also enjoy lower energy bills for a Green Mark building.
8. To date, more than 1,200 green building projects, or 16% of our buildings, have achieved Green Mark certification. All of our new buildings are environmentally sustainable, having to meet minimum Green Mark standards. The challenge lies in the retrofitting of our existing buildings, which make up the bulk of Singapore’s building stock.
9. Though we recognise that the retrofitting costs can be paid off eventually from energy savings, the reality is that many building owners are reluctant to undertake retrofits, citing high upfront costs of retrofitting and energy efficient equipment. To encourage building owners to green their existing buildings, BCA introduced a $100 million Green Mark Incentive Scheme for Existing Buildings in April 2009. Under this scheme, BCA co-funds up to 35% of the retrofitting costs, depending on the Green Mark rating achieved. To date, 39 building owners have tapped onto the scheme.
10. The Ministry of National Development (MND) and BCA have received feedback from building owners that this incentive is insufficient to entice them to retrofit their buildings. I am pleased to announce that BCA will enhance the scheme to raise the maximum co-funding level by BCA from 35% to 50%. In addition, the scheme will also co-fund the costs of installing the equipment, and engaging consultants.
11. I hope that the enhancements to the Green Mark Incentive Scheme for Existing Buildings will help alleviate building owners’ cost concerns, and encourage the owners to retrofit their buildings. BCA will be sharing more details of these enhancements with the industry later.
12. Second, the Government will be putting in place energy management measures for facilities and buildings. From next year, under the Energy Conservation Act of the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, large energy users in the industry sector will need to appoint energy managers. They will also need to monitor and report on energy use and submit energy efficiency improvement plans.
13. Similarly, MND will be introducing legislative changes later this year to support an energy-efficient built environment sector. We will amend the Building Control Act to mandate building owners to conduct three-yearly audits on the operational efficiency of their buildings’ cooling systems to ensure that they continue to operate efficiently. We will also require utilities companies and building owners to submit energy consumption and energy-related building data to allow BCA to monitor energy consumption patterns and the effectiveness of the energy efficiency measures.
14. These measures underscore the importance of managing energy use, on top of having energy efficient equipment. Facility managers play a major role in the implementation of these measures. We must put in place processes and personnel to ensure proper monitoring and energy management to reduce energy wastage and achieve cost savings.
15. Last but not least, BCA strongly supports capability building and skills upgrading in the built environment sector. The industry needs to build up the green collar workforce, including facility managers, with the necessary skillsets and experience.
16. The BCA Academy runs several training courses which are subsidised by the Government, by at least 50% to as much as 70% of the course fees. To date, over 4,500 students have attended the Academy’s academic and certification programmes. BCA is now working with the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) to increase the level of subsidies for part-time postgraduate programmes for built environment professionals and managers.
17. Let me conclude by urging all stakeholders – from developers, consultants to facility management professionals, including industry associations such as the International Facility Management Association, to seize the opportunities and build a sustainable future for our built environment sector. We need closer collaboration between these stakeholders and the Government to move the sector forward.
18. On this note, I wish all of you a fruitful and rewarding conference ahead. Thank you.