Speech by Parliamentary Secretary for National Development Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman at the First Anniversary Dinner of the Singapore Green Building Council
Mr Tony Arnel
Chair, World Green Building Council
Mr Lee Chuan Seng
President of the Singapore Green Building Council
Dr John Keung
CEO, Building and Construction Authority
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. I am pleased to be here this evening at the Singapore Green Building Council’s 1st Anniversary Dinner. I would like to extend a warm welcome to Mr Tony Arnel, Chair of the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) and our guests from the Green Building Councils around the world. I hope that your stay in Singapore has been fruitful and you have found opportunities for future collaboration in the area of green buildings.
Challenges of Rapid Urbanisation and Impact on Climate Change
2. The world is rapidly urbanising. Today, more than half of the world’s population is living in cities. By 2030, the proportion will rise to about 60 per cent, and this number will swell to 70 per cent by 20501.
3. Buildings are a major consumer of electricity, and account for a third of our global carbon emissions. With such rapid urbanisation, we cannot adopt a “Business-as-usual” approach but we will need a concerted effort amongst policy makers, industry leaders and international organisations, working together to address the impact of our buildings to climate change.
4. We are encouraged that today, many cities are implementing initiatives and putting in place regulations to proliferate green buildings. The gathering of more than 600 participants at this year’s World Green Building Council International Congress in Singapore is testament to the growing interest in Asia to find solutions to accelerate the greening of buildings.
Significance of WorldGBC International Congress & SGBC Conference
5. The theme of this year’s World Green Building Council International Congress “Sustainable and Affordable solutions” is highly relevant in addressing the challenges faced by many building owners and cities today. Environmental sustainability is traditionally perceived as a costly “good-to-have” item, and it often ranks poorly against other business priorities. This conference has made available tried and tested sustainable greening solutions and also innovative financing tools to help building owners overcome the barriers faced in greening their buildings. It is important that we continue to educate and promote such sustainable solutions.
6. One specific solution covered in the conference was ‘Affordable and sustainable eco-housing’. The Housing and Development Board (HDB), which is Singapore’s provider of public housing, was given the opportunity to share Singapore’s experience in this aspect. For our overseas guests who may not be familiar with Singapore, more than 80 per cent of our residents stay in public housing and hence, affordable sustainable public housing has always been a key focus, given our limited land area and high population density.
7. Our pioneer “Punggol Eco-Town” is a leading project to implement eco friendly design in our public housing. Some green initiatives being implemented include designing for natural ventilation, rainwater harvesting, testing of solar photovoltaic systems and planting green roofs. In time, these green solutions will be part and parcel of our future public housing developments. I hope that the HDB experience has given you an insight of our continuous effort to provide sustainable, quality and affordable housing solutions to our people.
Singapore Green Building Council’s Progress
8. Hosting of the WorldGBC International Congress in Singapore was made possible due to the hard work of the SGBC, which secured the rights to host the event. The Council has made remarkable progress since its launch in October last year. It recruited 240 corporate members in less than a year and this shows the confidence that the building and construction industry has in the Council’s leadership. In addition, the SGBC was accepted as an Established Member of the WorldGBC network. This is indeed a testimony to the commitment that the SGBC has demonstrated to the green building cause both locally and internationally.
Launch of the Green Building Product Certification Scheme
9. The SGBC’s latest work is the development of the Green Building Product Certification Scheme. This scheme will bring about a stronger environmental awareness among our consumers and encourage the adoption of sustainable products in the construction and operation of buildings. It will also spur manufacturers to continuously innovate and develop a wider range and variety of Green building products. I understand that there is already a ready list of more than 20 products that would qualify under the scheme and the use of these certified green products will be recognised in the certification of Green Mark for building.
10. It is my pleasure now to launch the SGBC Green Building Product Certification Scheme and I urge the industry to familiarise itself with these new innovations.
Role of Building Owners and Users
11. Here in Singapore, some of our developers have proactively incorporated innovative green products and embraced sustainable development practices in their developments. Let me now quote two green buildings from the Eco-Tours that some of you will be seeing this Thursday. For example, the Tampines Concourse by City Developments Limited (CDL) was designed and built with environmental sustainability in mind. It incorporated energy and water efficient features, and the use of recycled materials to reduce the use of natural resources. CDL and the project team’s efforts enabled the Tampines Concourse to become the first “CarbonNeutral” Development in Singapore and the Asia Pacific.
12. Another example, the 313 Somerset by Lend Lease went beyond the incorporation of green features to sign green lease agreements with tenants to work together to reduce energy consumption. Such partnerships between building owners and tenants are important as it would help achieve greater savings in utility bills. In fact, the end-users have a critical role to play to make the most optimal use of the green building. We can, with the support of the SGBC, do more to educate and inculcate the conservation mindset and also promote the use of suitable tools such as ‘green lease’ to enhance partnerships between building owners and tenants. The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has stepped up promotional efforts and a special two-part TV programme will be launched next week on 22 September, entitled “A Green Mark Singapore”. It will air on MediaCorp’s Channel NewsAsia and Channel 8, and will share Singapore’s experience in developing green buildings, with a special focus on the people behind these developments.
13. I have highlighted the key challenges facing the building sector, and the need for concerted efforts amongst all parties. Sustainable and affordable solutions will be critical to address the challenges, and I encourage all delegates to continue to push new boundaries as we explore new and innovative ways to improve our built environment.
14. Let me conclude by saying that I am encouraged by the SGBC’s commitment to enhancing the environmental sustainability of Singapore’s built environment, and my congratulations to the Council for successfully hosting the WorldGBC International Congress 2010 and the Inaugural Singapore Green Building conference.
15. Thank you.
 Source: UN-HABITAT’s “State of the World’s Cities Report 2008/9: Harmonious Cities”.
Source: Ministry of National Development