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Building a green state is one of the primary motives of Singapore. In the next 10 years, Singaporeans will be cutting greenhouse gas emissions massively. Following this guideline, numerous property developers are trying to develop a sustainable green city.
The Gardens by the Bay, which is in the business district of Marina Bay, is juxtaposed with office towers and luxury condos. At over 100ha, it is an expansive haven of nature. The Gardens by the Bay, a nature park, was opened for public in 2012. Every day, the well curate garden is flocked by numerous tourists.
The Gardens by the Bay is more than a tourist spot. It depicts Singapore’s continuing efforts for becoming eco-friendly city in the world. Take example of Supertrees, one of the major developments in the Gardens. The tower uses solar energy to light the tower at night. It also harvest rainwater, which is used in irrigation purpose.
Singapore’s effort of going green is not a new phenomenon. “In Singapore, the sustainability approach began in the 1960s, long before saving environment became a worldwide concern,” said Teo Chee Hean, the Deputy Prime Minister. He expressed his views during the launch of the Sustainability Academy in Singapore, in June.
The Deputy Prime Minister also added that the government has made mindful decisions to clean the streets, enforce laws against pollution and make the country green. According to Teo, as a signatory to the Paris climate agreement, Singapore is trying to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 36 percent until 2030.
The Sustainability Academy is a joint project of the Sustainability Energy Association of Singapore and a heavyweight property developer City Developments Limited (CDL). The project with the budget of $2 million is located in Farrer Park, in the City Square Mall owned by CDL. It features about 3,200 square feet photovoltaic panels. The primary motive of the Sustainability Academy is to promote resource efficiency, a low-carbon economy, and the sustainable practices in the business sector.
This project is the first of its kind in Singapore that is using timber verified by the Nature’s Barcode system proving that the timber is coming from reliable sources.
History of CDL’s sustainability measures
Since 1995, CDL started to integrate sustainability in its business. CDL is one of the few real estate companies in Singapore that has integrated sustainability. Apart from CDL, other few companies major that have integrated sustainability are Lendlease, UOL Group and CapitaLand.
“Currently, integrating sustainability into the business is not just a good thing to have but also a must have thing,” says Esther An, Chief Sustainability Officer, CDL. During the recently held Urban Land Institute Asia Pacific Summit in Singapore, An put light on sustainable developments and designs. She also stated that climate change is the main problem that has tremendous effects on the businesses.
“Businesses in Singapore could encounter operational and reputational risks, which certainly will have impact on their operational license. They will also experience greater operational costs, increasing water prices, for example, pay more for coming up carbon tax if they don’t implement sustainable practices,” she says.
CDL launched 11 Tampines Concourse in 2009 and adopted prefabricated prefinished volumetric construction technique in 2014. In the entire Asia Pacific, CDL’s Tampines Concourse is the first carbon neutral development. CDL’s is also the first developer to use prefab in the entire.
“We are developing green buildings” says An. “We are going to manage them in such a way that they consume less energy and resources. In order to promote sustainable development, we will be engaging each and every stakeholder.”
Awareness on sustainability
Due to growing awareness in the climate change, a sustainable development is becoming more popular. This is according to Chunsheh Teo of SMDP studio, a global design firm, where he is the Managing Director for Southeast Asia.
Sustainability has become the primary idea for the SMDP studio. The company’s designs from site placement and floor configuration, to solar orientation are based on sustainability. The Samsung Headquarters in Beijing is SMDP studio’s recent projects. The building has sky gardens, which are said to improve quality of air inside.
According to Teo, previously the buildings were designed in a such a way that it gave a great comfort to the residents in a controlled environment. This kind of design has drawbacks because it has negative environmental effects due to the fact that it disconnects exterior and interior environment.
“Horizontal and vertical sprawl that we are building will consume more resources, which takes a toll on the environment and will have a bad impact on the future generation,” says Teo. He believes that developers will push for sustainable projects because of the demands for sustainable buildings from the customers.
“This will certainly create opportunities for the developers to enhance their brand, market themselves, and move away from traditional development,” says Teo. He believes that the governments will come forward with new construction guidelines, and may even reward the consumers and developers for applying sustainability.
Due to the social responsibility factor, there is an increasing interest in alternative financing, green bonds for example. Back in April, CDL became the first Singaporean company to launch a green bond. The green bond, which was mostly secured by seniors, was able to raise $100 million. The bond offered 1.98 percent fixed rate.
The proceeds from this green bond will be used to refinance the Republic Plaza, which was being constructed from $100 million loan.
Republic Plaza, which is located at Raffles Place, is A Grade office building. In 2012, Building and Construction Authority (BCA), awarded the highest Green Mark Platinum rating to the Republic Plaza.
According to An green finance is offering an unconventional financing method to the CDL. “Singaporean government is trying to greening at least 80 percent of the buildings by 2030. This could be Singapore’s primary method to fulfill GHG emissions pledge. And our green bond issuance correspond to this,” she says. “CDL will be exploring green bond more in the future. For the remaining 13 years, real estate companies will have a major role to play to cut GHG emissions and mitigate climate.”
Greenest buildings in Singapore
Property developers are increasingly implementing eco-friendly measures, such as energy-saving technologies. Here is a list of four properties that are ranked as the greenest buildings in Singapore.
Parkroyal is Singapore’s first eco-friendly hotel. It was completed in 2013. Parkroyal, which is at Upper Pickering, has sky gardens that spread over more than 160,000 square feet area. The project has received many awards such as the Green Mark Platinum Award from BCA and Solar Pioneer Award. The hotel, which was developed by UOL Group saves 3.5 million kilowatt energy every year.
Developed jointly by Mitsubishi Estate Asia, Capita Commercial Trust and CapitaLand, CapitaGreen is a 40-storey A Grade office building. CapitaGreen, which was completed in 2014, is in the Central Business District. Often called Singapore’s greenest commercial building, CapitaGreen was awarded with Green Mark Platinum Award in 2012.
More than half of the exterior is covered with creepers and there is a wind scoop at the top. This pulls cool air from the top and pushes downstairs, all the while cooling the interior temperature.
The Criterion was jointly developed by CDL and TID, and launched in 2015. The Criterion, which is close to Orchid Country Club and Lower Seletar Reservoir, has 505 executive condominium units in 10 blocks.
One of the specialties of The Criterion is electric bicycles with a solar charging station, which is available for free. This feature, which is first of its kind, helps the resident to stay fit, save fuel adopt green living.
Paya Lebar Quarter
Recently, Paya Lebar has received Green Mark Platinum rating, which is the highest rating for non-residential buildings. The project, which is underway, is scheduled to be released in 2019 together with the residential component, Park Place Residences.. The developer is investing $3.2 billion on this green building. When it completes, there will more than 100,000 square feet green spaces.
The project being developed by Lendlease is also using efficient air-conditioning and efficient water fittings. and more systems have been incorporated.