Incentive scheme to encourage greener buildings gets up to two times funding boost

Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, a Green Mark Platinum building – the highest rating for buildings in Singapore. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - An incentive scheme to encourage buildings to be more environmentally friendly will offer up to double the funds it currently gives to building tenants to go green.

The Building and Construction Authority's 2014 BCA Green Mark Incentive Scheme for existing buildings and premises will, from Sept 30, provide building tenants with co-funding of up to $40,000 to retrofit their workplaces to be greener. This is an increase from up to $20,000 currently.

With the funding and BCA's help, tenants will be able to purchase more energy-efficient equipment, such as refrigerators and air-conditioners.

This was announced on Thursday (Sept 14) by Senior Minister of State for Health and the Environment and Water Resources Amy Khor at the BCA Breakfast Talk for CEOs at Marina Bay Sands.

Currently, four building tenants have applied for the Green Mark Incentive Scheme for existing buildings and premises with up to $20,000 of co-funding from BCA.

On Friday, BCA will open up 50 free slots under a new pilot initiative to help eligible small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) judge how green they are against its Green Mark criteria.

Called the Green Mark User-Centric Feasibility Assessments initiative, it will involve BCA sending its students and interns to assess eligible companies.

A behavioural change programme that aims to encourage building users to integrate sustainability into their lives was also announced on Thursday.

A partnership between BCA and the Singapore Green Building Council, the programme will involve 10 organisations over two years. Campaign leaders from each organisation will design programmes to encourage green attitudes and actions in their building users.

The National University Health System (NUHS) is the first participant and will start the programme next week.

Mr Ng Kian Swan, chief operating officer of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital which come under NUHS, said he was proud to be part of the initiative.

"We do not need a big movement to get our colleagues to go green and be environmentally friendly. We just need to have the passion and conviction to champion the cause," he said.

Dr Khor also highlighted the need to focus on people within buildings when pushing to make the building industry more sustainable.

"Greening a building is only half the battle," said Dr Khor. "More can be done to reduce the buildings' overall carbon footprint by placing a greater focus on encouraging the eventual users of these buildings... to green their premises and adopt good habits to reduce their daily energy use."

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