Singapore Green Building Masterplan (SGBMP)
Singapore is accelerating our transition towards a low-carbon built environment. Launched in March 2021 by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Singapore and the Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC), the Singapore Green Building Masterplan (SGBMP) was developed in conjunction with industry stakeholders and the community. It provides recommendations that capture our collective commitment to pursue more ambitious sustainability standards in the built environment. The SGBMP aims to deliver three key targets of “80-80-80 in 2030”:
- 80% of buildings by gross floor area (GFA) to be green by 2030;
- 80% of new developments (by GFA) to be Super Low Energy (SLE) buildings from 2030 onwards; and
- 80% improvement in energy efficiency (compared to 2005 levels) for best-in-class green buildings by 2030.
Other key strategies include raising the sustainability standards of existing buildings, driving the adoption of SLE standards for new buildings, and pushing the boundaries of energy efficiency through research and innovation through various policy levers and initiatives.
Greening Buildings through Minimum Energy Performance Requirements and Green Mark Standards
Singapore’s green building journey first started in 2005 with the launch of BCA’s Green Mark (GM) Scheme, a key performance benchmark for environmental sustainability in buildings. The scheme was launched to encourage developers and owners to build and maintain greener buildings. It is regularly reviewed and updated to keep pace with improvements in technology, building standards and industry best practices.
BCA also introduced minimum energy performance standards in 2008 for new buildings under the Building Control Act. Since 2013, this requirement has since been extended to existing buildings undergoing major retrofitting works. This ensures that new buildings are designed to be sustainable from the onset, and that existing buildings are upgraded to meet the prevailing sustainability standards when they undergo extensive works. Any building that has met either the minimum energy performance standards or has been certified Green Mark is considered ‘green’, contributing to the first target of “80-80-80 in 2030” (i.e. to green 80% of our buildings’ GFA).
Given the long life cycle of buildings, and as Singapore raise our national climate commitments, our buildings will have to be even ‘greener’.
- Since the release of the SGBMP, BCA has launched the latest edition of the GM scheme, GM 2021, in September 2021. Under this revision, buildings will have to achieve higher standards of energy performance (at least 50% improvement in energy performance compared to 2005 levels) along with good practices in other sustainability areas to receive GM certification1, while new and existing buildings are required to meet minimally 40% improvement in energy performance compared to 2005 levels.
- BCA also raised the minimum energy performance standards for new and existing buildings in 2021/2022, following consultations with key industry stakeholders.
Periodic Energy Audits (PEA) of buildings’ cooling systems are also conducted every 3 years in new and existing buildings that have undergone retrofit, to ensure that these buildings perform as designed during their life cycle. In addition, companies have to submit energy consumption and energy-related building data annually, which are gradually being made publicly available in a phased approach. This allows building owners to determine their energy performance relative to other buildings of the same building type.
1 Green Mark Platinum (GM Platinum) buildings are required to meet minimally 55% improvement in energy performance compared to 2005 levels and demonstrate best practices in the Sustainability Sections.
The Next Lap – Mainstreaming Super Low Energy (SLE) Buildings
BCA introduced the Super Low Energy (SLE) Programme in 2018 to encourage firms to go beyond existing Green Mark (GM) Platinum standards, to deliver buildings that can achieve at least a 60% energy efficiency improvement over 2005 building codes.
As part of the SGBMP’s second target under the “80-80-80 in 2030” for 80% of our new developments by GFA in 2030 to be SLE, BCA works with various stakeholders and taps on various policy levers to drive demand for SLE buildings. Through these levers, we can build industry capability in developing SLE buildings, provide use cases for the private sector to take reference from, and bring SLE buildings into the mainstream.
Under the GreenGov.SG initiative, the Government is taking the lead to drive wider adoption of SLE buildings. All new and existing public sector buildings are required to achieve GM Platinum SLE standards or equivalent. In addition, new private developments on strategic Government Land Sales sites will minimally be required to deliver energy performance equivalent to SLE.
In Jurong Lake District (JLD), a new growth area in western Singapore that aspires to become a world-class sustainability district, all new developments will be required to meet SLE standards, with some achieving Zero Energy standards as technology improves, and will be required to use the district cooling system, which improves energy efficiency. JLD aims to achieve net zero emissions for new developments around 2045.
Supporting the Industry to Achieve Higher Standards
Beyond setting standards, BCA has also incentivised building owners to green their buildings via various Green Mark Incentive Schemes; particularly in the early days of Singapore’s green building journey, to get buy-in from industry stakeholders for this new concept. Today, it is common for buildings in Singapore to achieve some minimum level of energy performance, and the benefits for businesses is positive across the building’s life cycle. Hence, today’s GMIS seeks to encourage building owners and developers to strive towards best-in-class energy standards where possible.
- The Built Environment (BE) Transformation Gross Floor Area (GFA) Incentive scheme (valid from 24 November 2021 for five years) is a BCA-URA joint scheme that awards developers/building owners additional GFA above the Masterplan Plot Ratio (MPR) for private sector development projects that adopt enhanced standards in areas of digitalisation, productivity, and sustainability (“Industry Transformation Map Outcome Requirements”). For the sustainability requirements, projects are required to minimally meet GM Platinum SLE.
- The GMIS for Existing Buildings 2.0 (GMIS-EB 2.0) (valid from 30 June 2022 till 31 March 2027 or when the available funds have been fully committed, whichever is earlier) is a cash incentive to lower the upfront cost of energy efficient retrofits for building owners of existing buildings who achieve higher energy performance standards (i.e. Platinum, Super Low Energy, Zero Energy) for their buildings.
Test-bedding and Sharing Knowledge on Energy Efficient Technologies for Buildings
Established in 2014, the Green Buildings Innovation Cluster (GBIC) is intended as a one-stop research, development and demonstration (RD&D) hub to support the national drive towards greater energy efficiency as well as to streamline, coordinate and disseminate building energy efficiency-related activities. GBIC is a one-stop hub for industry stakeholders to experiment, exhibit, and exchange knowledge and expertise of promising building energy-efficient solutions.
To further push the boundaries of energy efficiency to meet the third target under the “80-80-80 in 2030” for 80% improvement in energy efficiency (compared to 2005 levels) for best-in-class green buildings by 2030, BCA enhanced the GBIC programme in 2022, focusing on three key areas that have high potential to generate significant energy savings and be widely adopted by the industry:
- Alternative Cooling Technologies (ACTs) or novel cooling technologies that could be adapted to Singapore’s tropical climate and yield further improvement in energy performance over best-in-class GM standards;
- Data-driven Smart Building Solutions to integrate across different smart building systems, and to manage a building’s energy demand in response to input from the electrical grid and renewable energy resources; and
- Advanced Ventilation Technologies to improve energy efficiency and contribute to better outcomes.