Environmental News Archive

An almost weekly update of environmental news, particularly marine updates, with occasional splatters of transportation, indigenous, ideas of sustainability and sustainable development from around the world.


Stepping Up To The Mark

21 March 2007

Govt may revise Building Act to drive environmental sustainability in

IS GOING green worth the cost? The Government certainly thinks so. Despite
the slightly higher construction costs of environmentally-friendly
buildings, it is embarking on a greater push for such buildings, with
tighter legislation on the cards.

For a start, the Government is considering making changes to the Building
Control Act to impose minimum requirements on environmental
sustainability. These requirements would apply to new buildings and
existing ones undergoing retrofitting.

"There will be some cost impact, but we believe that on an overall basis,
(builders) will be able to recoup the higher upfront costs through lower
operating costs over the life of the building. In fact, within a short
period, they'll be able to recoup that," said Minister of State for
National Development Grace Fu, at a Green Mark Seminar yesterday.

The Building Control Act could also be extended to prevent the
proliferation of inefficient air-conditioning systems. This would affect
buildings such as residential, institutional and industrial buildings,
which were largely naturally ventilated in the past.

But even as the Government is reviewing its current regulatory framework,
it is embarking on a comprehensive outreach programme to educate the
public on the benefits of going green.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has launched an info-portal
at www.greenmark.sg to promote the Green Mark, an award given to
environmentally-friendly buildings by the BCA, as the standard for local

Said Ms Fu: "Ultimately, it is consumer demand that will motivate
developers to go beyond the basic requirements to develop a highly
sustainable built environment."

She urged Singapore construction firms to adopt waste-recycling measures
and switch to alternative construction materials, adding that "the recent
Indonesian ban on the export of concreting sand and the disruption in
granite supply serve as timely wake-up calls".

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

"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," Ms Fu said.

While steel structures are commonly used in the United States, only 5 per
cent of buildings in Singapore are constructed using steel. - 938Live,
Channel NewsAsia

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