Environmental News Archive

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Government may legislate Green Mark requirements on buildings

By Tung Shing Yi, Channel NewsAsia
20 March 2007

SINGAPORE: Plans are in the pipeline to make all new buildings in Singapore environmentally friendly.

While this may mean higher development costs, Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu said long-term cost savings would be greater than the upfront costs.

The government is considering making changes to the Building Control Act to mandate new buildings to be environmentally friendly.

Such 'green buildings' would be energy-efficient and provide lower water consumption and better indoor environmental quality.

The move has resulted in a growing demand for environmental building consultancy services.

Vincent Low, Director of Business Development at C-Energy Global, said: "Because of this incentive, I found developers looking for energy consultants to help them look into the plant, and to work together to make sure the design is effective and efficient."

The green-building consultancy firm said it expects a two- or threefold increase in business in the next three years.

The government said it is committed to achieving high standards in construction sustainability.

While a 'green building' would involve higher construction costs, experts said the operational savings would more than offset the higher initial costs.

Meanwhile, Singapore construction firms have also been urged to adopt waste recycling measures and switch to alternative construction materials.

The latest call came from Minister of State for National Development Grace Fu at an industry event on Tuesday.

She said: "We have a big building programme in the pipeline, and it must be (done) in a sustainable way. The recent Indonesian ban on export of concreting sand, and the disruption in granite supply serve as timely wake-up calls.

"We must quickly switch to sustainable construction. Instead of relying on concrete as the main construction material, we have to make use of alternative materials, including steel, other metals, glass and composites."

Currently, only 5 percent of buildings in Singapore are constructed using steel, compared to the US where steel structures are commonly used.

Waste recycling is mandatory in the construction process in countries like Japan, Germany and the Netherlands.

- CNA/so

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