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As the energy cost is often the largest component of a building’s total operating cost, energy efficient buildings can enjoy substantial energy cost savings compared to the average buildings.

The public sector has taken the lead to demonstrate the associated environmental and economic benefits and set an example for the private sector by retrofitting the existing buildings under the Public Sector Taking the Lead in Environmental Sustainability (PSTLES) programme. Many private companies have since adopted energy efficient designs and technologies as well. Find out more from the success stories of both the public and private sectors.

Energy efficient buildings can be achieved by designing a new building efficiently, conducting energy audits, implementing energy management systems and implementing energy efficient projects for existing buildings. 

Since 2005, BCA introduced the BCA Green Mark scheme to encourage environmental friendliness in buildings using the five key criteria, energy efficiency, water efficiency environmental protection, indoor environmental quality and other green features focusing on landlord's contributions in 'going green'. And as of 2008, all new buildings are required by law, under the Building Control (Environmental Sustainability) Regulations to meet standards equivalent to Green Mark Certified rating.

Moving towards within buildings, tenants who consume about 50% of the total energy used in commercial buildings can play a substantial role in greening a building. Recognising this, BCA has expanded its reach to tenants, by introducing user-centric Green Mark schemes for Office Interior, restaurants, supermarkets, retails and data centres.

The user-centric Green Mark schemes are developed primarily for major tenants/occupants of buildings to green their premises. The emphasis is on energy efficiency of the air conditioning system, lighting and energy efficient equipment including sustainable material and indoor air quality, operation and waste management.

The Green Mark criteria encourage tenants and users to work towards best practices in their respective schemes. Adopting recommended energy efficient features and practices will spur the user further in environmental sustainability.

To promote occupant-centric schemes, BCA is developing a series of publications, starting with Dummies Guides for BCA Green Mark for Office Interior to let the tenants understand the benefits of ‘going green’ and also layout useful information on how the tenant can green their premises to enjoy the benefits.

In addition, to achieve a sustainable built environment and to ensure that existing buildings continue to operate efficiently throughout their life cycle, Part IIIB—Environmental Sustainability Measures for Existing Buildings (PDF, 491KB) was introduced to the Building Control Act (Act), on 01 December 2012 requiring building owners to :-

  • Comply with the minimum environmental sustainability standard (Green Mark Standard) for existing buildings;
  • Submit periodic energy efficiency audits of building cooling systems; and
  • Submit information in respect of energy consumption and other related information as required by the Commissioner of Building Control (effective from 1 July 2013).

On and after 2nd January 2017, the Building Control (Environmental Sustainability Measures for Existing Buildings)(Amendment) Regulations 2016 (PDF, 179KB) will apply to all buildings with centralized cooling systems and GFA greater than 5,000m2, when installing or replacing the building cooling system.

Only the following types of buildings will be excluded from the above requirement.

  1. any industrial buildings;
  2. any railway premises, port services and facilities or airport services and facilities;
  3. any religious buildings;
  4. any data centres;
  5. any utility buildings; or
  6. any residential buildings but not including serviced apartments.

The BCA Green Mark schemes and the landmark legislation for existing buildings are also supported by a host of incentives and courses.

Companies that wish to build up capability in energy efficiency can also join the Energy Efficiency National Partnership, as well as take advantage of the training and resources available.