Step up efforts for more green buildings

Buildings are large contributors of greenhouse gases and the built environment is responsible for more than half of the world's energy use.

For this reason, green buildings and homes are an essential tool in tackling climate change.

Singapore is one of the front runners in the push for green buildings, thanks to the policies, regulations and schemes by the Government and Building and Construction Authority.

However, unless the habits and mindsets of the people change, the target of Green Marking 80 per cent of all buildings by 2030 cannot be achieved.

Green buildings are constructed and operated in a way that reduces harmful impact on the environment. There are also financial and health benefits, a lower carbon footprint and increased property value. Green homes help increase energy efficiency, reduce water consumption and cut monthly bills significantly.

With people spending almost 90 per cent of their time indoors, indoor air quality has a huge impact on their health. However, indoor air quality can be two to five times worse than outdoor air quality, and can lead to various illnesses.

The use of natural light, better air circulation and indoor plants help enhance indoor air quality. Despite the benefits, there is some reluctance to invest in the green building sector. The marginally higher initial cost seems to eclipse the many benefits, including the fact that such properties have high return on interest and a higher market value.

To change mindsets, there needs to be an increase in awareness, with the use of real life case studies that can show the benefits of green buildings. It also needs cooperation among the Government, builders, owners, architects, researchers and end users.

Snigdha Sharma (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2018, with the headline 'Step up efforts for more green buildings'. Print Edition | Subscribe