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New and existing buildings required to be more energy efficient under revised BCA standards

New and existing buildings required to be more energy efficient under revised BCA standards

Solar panels on Southeast Asia's first Zero Energy Building in Singapore. (File photo: TODAY)

SINGAPORE: From the end of this year, all new buildings will face higher minimum energy performance requirements, said the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) in a media release on Thursday (Mar 4).

New developments being submitted for planning approval from the fourth quarter will have to be 50 per cent more energy efficient compared to 2005 levels, up from the current 30 per cent requirement.

Similar increases apply for existing buildings undergoing major retrofitting.

From 2022, they will have to be made 40 per cent more energy efficient compared to 2005 levels, an increase from the 25 per cent under current regulations.

The move comes as more ambitious sustainability targets have been set under the latest edition of the Singapore Green Building Masterplan (SGBMP).

READ: Sustainability targets for built environment sector under newest Green Building Masterplan

“The built environment sector plays an important role in achieving our vision of a greener and more sustainable Singapore,” said Minister of State for National Development Tan Kiat How who announced the initiative in Parliament.

These new energy performance requirements are comparable to current Green Mark Platinum standards, said BCA, referring to the highest rating under the system that evaluates a building’s environmental impact and performance.

It added that it is reviewing this Green Mark scheme to raise its standards accordingly.

“The revised scheme will raise energy performance standards and place greater emphasis on other aspects of sustainability such as health and wellbeing, and how the buildings are designed for long-term maintainability,” said Mr Tan.

He added that the new standards will be trialled from the second quarter of 2021, and industry feedback will be considered before the revisions are rolled out.

TIGHTER BUILDABILITY FRAMEWORK

Mr Tan said there have been “good productivity outcomes” from adopting Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) technology, and authorities plan to make it the default building method for large projects.

To drive DfMA adoption, BCA will be raising minimum buildable design scores (B-scores) under the Buildability Framework.

This framework encourages labour-efficient designs and technologies, with productive designs and technologies scoring more points than labour-intensive ones.

READ: New scheme urges construction players to create 'alliances' for transformation 

The minimum scores will be raised for all industrial, commercial and institutional buildings with a gross floor area (GFA) of at least 25,000 sq m from April 2022.

This means that eventually, around 80 per cent of the GFA of all projects submitted for approval will be subject to the higher minimum B-score, said Mr Tan.

But he added that BCA will consult the industry in the coming months before firming up the enhanced standards.

In the bigger picture, this would help Singapore hit its target of 70 per cent DfMA adoption by 2025, he said.

BCA said it will support firms in meeting these new targets, adding that grants are available whether they are for public or private sector projects.

It added that it has training programmes at the BCA Academy to help firms raise their competency in DfMA.

Source: CNA/cl

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