SINGAPORE: The built environment sector received a S$20 million boost to go green on Wednesday (Sep 4).
This was announced by National Development Minister Lawrence Wong at the opening of the inaugural International Built Environment Week (IBEW), organised by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).
Mr Wong said that the top-up of the funds will encourage more collaboration between the built environment industry and the research community. This is to support BCA’s drive toward Super Low Energy (SLE) buildings, which BCA has said will be the “next generation of green buildings".
The additional grant provided by the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF) can be used by companies in the Green Buildings Innovation Cluster (GBIC) set up by BCA in 2014 and that had an initial grant of S$52 million, also from NRF.
The aim of this cluster is to experiment with, exhibit and exchange knowledge of energy-efficiency solutions with stakeholders.
Kaer, an air conditioning system supplier in Singapore is part of GBIC, utilised their portion of the grant to realise their green innovations faster.
“Our R&D programme has been in operation for the last five to six years. If it wasn't for the GBIC grants that were available, it would have been slower.
"It has allowed us to accelerate, and to deploy more manpower and resources (to) bring those energy efficiencies to the market sooner," said Kaer’s Customer Success Manager, Mr Dave Mackerness.
Over the past five years, GBIC has supported a total of 32 projects including a six-storey, Super Low Energy building housing an operations centre at the upcoming Tuas Terminal mega port that is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of next year.
Besides going green, the construction industry is also going digital.
Mr Wong highlighted that the construction industry is still “a laggard in productivity and technology adoption".
To support the digitalisation of the industry, Mr Wong revealed the first recipient of a S$4 million grant that was announced last year by the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) and BCA.
Delphi is a joint venture between construction company Woh Hup and local start-up tech firm Hubble. The Hubble online platform will help streamline project planning and coordination among industry players and is expected to roll out in phases from the end of next year.
However, they will not be the only ones to benefit from the digitalisation.
Founder and CEO of Hubble Lin Shijing said that customers will stand to benefit from more efficient construction processes.
“If in construction we can build faster, we can build better, build safer and most importantly for all consumers, build cheaper. I think eventually all the home prices can feel the downstream impact of this," said Mr Lin.
Since the launch of the BCA Green Mark Scheme in 2005, BCA has greened about 40 per cent of buildings in Singapore. They are on track to meeting their target of 80 per cent green buildings by 2030.
Despite the industry’s progress in creating a sustainable landscape, BCA chief executive officer Hugh Lim said there are still areas for improvement but remains optimistic of the future.
"There's a lot of work to be done. But I think based on the experience and knowledge that have been built up as well as the commitment of the industry and the public, we are quite optimistic to see that multiply in the years ahead," said Mr Lim.
The regional event will continue until Friday with a showcase of innovative technologies across the sector.