Speech by BG(NS) Tan Chuan-Jin, Minister of State for National Development and Manpower at the opening of the International Green Building Conference 2011 and BEX Asia 2011, 14 September 2011
SPEECH BY BG(NS) TAN CHUAN-JIN, MINISTER OF STATE FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND MANPOWER AT THE OPENING OF THE INTERNATIONAL GREEN BUILDING CONFERENCE 2011 AND BEX ASIA 2011, 14 SEPTEMBER 2011
Mr Quek See Tiat
Building and Construction Authority
Dr John Keung
Building and Construction Authority
Ms Michelle Lim
Reed Exhibitions Singapore
Ladies and gentlemen,
A very good morning to all of you.
2. In less than three months’ time, the world will focus its attention on Durban, South Africa when it hosts the 17th Conference of the Parties (or COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The negotiators from different countries will have a challenging time to negotiate, and hopefully decide on the future of the Kyoto Protocol, before the expiry of its first commitment period in 2012.
3. We may have a less enviable task at this year’s International Green Building Conference (or IGBC in short) in Singapore. Yet, we firmly believe that climate change mitigation is a shared responsibility, and a collective effort now from all countries is critical to achieve a meaningful, concerted action against global warming, even as climate change negotiations are on-going. That is why the theme of this year’s IGBC: “Build Green. Act Now.” is most apt. This conference provides a useful platform for stakeholders in the building sector from various countries to come together to network, learn, and share ideas on green buildings and mitigation actions.
Greening our Buildings – the Singapore Way
4. Let me take this opportunity to briefly share our climate change mitigation plans for our building sector. First, a few quick facts:
First, our building sector contributes about one third of Singapore’s total electricity consumption, and is only second to the industry sector which consumes 40 per cent of our total electricity consumption. There is scope to raise the energy efficiency of our buildings to reduce energy consumption.
Second, our existing buildings make up more than 95 per cent of Singapore’s building stock. There is much potential to improve their energy efficiency to contribute to Singapore’s carbon abatement.
And third, energy cost constitutes 20 per cent to 40 per cent of the total operating cost of a typical building. Hence, the more we conserve energy in our buildings, the lower will be the operating costs, all other things being equal.
5. In view of the above, Singapore has set an ambitious target to green 80 per cent of our buildings by 2030 as part of our overall sustainable development strategy in the Singapore Sustainable Blueprint.
6. For new buildings, we have in place measures to ensure they are energy efficient. New buildings are required to meet minimum Green Mark standards which promote the adoption of green building designs and technologies. Owners of new buildings can also tap on the Green Mark Gross Floor Area Incentive Scheme, whereby the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) will grant additional floor area over and above the master plan gross plot ratio for buildings that achieve higher Green Mark standards.
7. The more challenging task is how to green existing buildings. Building owners will benefit from lower energy bills after retrofitting their buildings. However, some owners may be reluctant to retrofit their buildings due to the cost of retrofitting, lack of financing and/or awareness.
8. For a start, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) launched a $100 million Green Mark Incentive Scheme in 2009 to incentivise owners of existing buildings to upgrade their equipment and carry out retrofits in order to achieve Green Mark certification. BCA will be reviewing this scheme to further facilitate building owners to carry out the retrofits.
9. I am pleased to announce that come 1 October 2011, BCA will launch a pilot scheme called Building Retrofit Energy Efficiency Financing Scheme. Under this financing scheme, the participating financial institutions will provide loans to building owners and energy services companies for them to carry out energy efficiency retrofits. BCA will share the risk of any loan default with the financial institutions. BCA will be partnering Standard Chartered Bank and United Overseas Bank to pioneer this pilot scheme. BCA will be providing more details on the scheme.
10. To complement the financing scheme, the Ministry of National Development will amend the Building Control Act to mandate minimum Green Mark standards for existing buildings as and when they are retrofitted. This is similar to the current requirement for new buildings to meet Green Mark standards under the Building Control (Environmental Sustainability) Regulations.
11. We are probably one of the first few countries in the world which mandates minimum energy efficiency standards for existing buildings. The building owners may ask, “How will this mandatory requirement affect us?” While the upfront retrofitting cost to meet the minimum standards may be higher, the energy savings after the retrofit will eventually pay for this retrofitting cost. Buildings owners can reduce their energy bills and do their part for the environment at the same time. BCA will consult the industry and stakeholders on the proposed amendments to the Building Control Act in the coming months.
12. Let me conclude by reiterating that Singapore remains fully committed to sustainable development and climate change mitigation. Besides the building sector, there are also climate change mitigation measures for the industrial, transport, households and power generation sectors. We will do our part as a global citizen to reduce carbon emissions.
13. I wish all of you a fruitful and rewarding experience over the next three days of the IGBC and BEX Asia exhibition. It is now my pleasure to declare the International Green Building Conference 2011 and BEX Asia 2011 open.
14. Thank you.
Source: Ministry of National Development