Singapore is a small, high-rise, high density island city state with no natural resources, other than a deep sea port and a strategic location in Southeast Asia. We have relatively high humidity, with temperature falling within the range of 25-35ºC, making us extremely dependent on cooling systems to make our indoor environments comfortable. It is therefore a necessity for us to find effective ways to help reduce the carbon, water and waste footprints of our buildings in the long term.
Sustainable urban development has always had a prominent role in Singapore's development. In the early years of our independence, besides focusing on economic growth, we had designed our buildings to make good use of natural ventilation and lighting, with efficient use of water.
In 1979, we made a bold move to incorporate in our building regulations the Overall Thermal Transfer Value, a standard for building envelope thermal performance, to reduce the heat gain of buildings.
In the 1990s, we developed the energy efficiency standards for lighting and air-conditioning systems to raise the energy efficiency of new buildings.
However, our formal recognition of green buildings under a comprehensive assessment framework only started about 12 years ago, with the launch of the BCA Green Mark a rating system to evaluate a building's environmental impact and recognise its sustainability performance. The BCA Green Mark was designed specifically for buildings in the tropics.
We had also set an ambitious national target to green at least 80 per cent of the buildings in Singapore by 2030. About one third of our entire building stock in Singapore, including existing buildings, has been Green Mark certified so far.