Singapore has long been known as the Lion City, but now wants to be known more for its other monicker, the Garden City. The irony is that the city-state, known for its strong government, built its green building success with the help of an NGO, the Singapore Green Building Council.
Five years ago, Singapore’s building authority helped organize Singapore’s first industry-led organization. Since then, the Singapore Green Building Council had taken the lead in green building construction and retrofitting. The result of this partnership is impressive, 1,534 new buildings and 215 old ones, or a quarter of all of Singapore’s buildings, are green.
Not content on resting on its laurels, country’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) launched its Third Green Building Master Plan. The plan has three strategic goals which are (i) Continued Leadership, (ii) Wider Collaboration and Engagement, and (iii) Proven Sustainability Performance. Promoting green building in Asia will result in huge energy savings, make urban living there more bearable, and at the same time, help treble global warming. According to the UN ESCAP, almost half of the people Asia-Pacific region are in cities, a figure that could reach two thirds by 2030. And with greater urbanization also comes more intensive energy use, but Singapore wants to show otherwise.
Going green in building construction and maintenance need not be a gamble. The iconic Marina Bay Sands has implemented ecological processes even during construction so that the hotel property is generally eco-friendly. As a result, the integrated resort was awarded by the BCA with the Green Mark Gold Award in February 2012. It was a sure bet of the company, after all they already constructed the largest LEED certified building in the world, The Venetian and The Palazzo. Among the stuff that they’re doing at the Marina Bay Sands are:
- The use of regenerative drives in the elevators, saving 40 percent in energy consumption,
- Optimizing lighting by removing at least 700 light bulbs in our heart-of-house and common areas, resulting in electric savings of 3,000 kWh per year,
- Installation of more than 12,000 energy-efficient fluorescent and LED lights all throughout the integrated resort,
- Installation of 461Water Efficient Labelled Fittings, savings at least 6,700 cubic meters of per year,
- A recycling initiative that recovers 160 tons of aluminum, plastic, paper, cardboard and glass each month.
And at the heart of these is a S$25 million Intelligent Building Management System that automatically controls lighting, heating and water across the property, reducing its carbon and water footprint all throughout.
From what we see, the gamble on green building is paying off not only for Marina Bay Sands, but for Singapore as well. Hopefully, building developers in the rest of the world will take the plunge and bet on green buildings.