Monday, November 10, 2008

Developers May Not Green And Bear It

Source : The Business Times, November 10, 2008

Economic slowdown seen putting brakes on energy efficiency drive here

GREEN development in the building space is likely to take a backseat among some organisations given the economic slowdown because the benefits are not tangible in the short-term, a building consultant said.

This is despite it being the 'most ideal time' to invest in green technology because of the cost efficiency that could come as a result, said Peter Rawlings, a consultant at British consultancy Environmental Resources Management.

'When finances are tight, it's a very valuable exercise,' Mr Rawlings told BT after his visit to Singapore for a Keppel Land seminar on green buildings.

'What we've observed is that those companies and organisations which have a committed green building programme would continue to build green at the moment,' he added.

'However, organisations which haven't yet embraced green designs or are considering it might hold off because they've not seen the benefits directly yet or they are a bit cautious on their level of investment.'

The Green Mark Scheme by Singapore's Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has gained traction among local developers recently. Major Singapore property players have applied for Green Mark certification for regional projects in Thailand, Vietnam, China and Malaysia, BCA told BT earlier.

But Mr Rawlings said that many property players are looking to rate their buildings according to the US rating system known as LEED (leadership in energy and environmental design).

This is especially for developers that are keen to expand overseas and since there is no international standard available, as countries have different factors to consider such as climate.

'In a more international context, the real dominant rating system is the LEED,' said Mr Rawlings. 'What we've been finding is that a lot of clients wish to pursue one type of rating system and apply it to all of their buildings and facilities, irrespective of geography.'

He added that the LEED is 'a very black-and-white system' which warrants either a pass or fail credit to developers, while the criteria for Green Mark are less defined, though it does not mean that Green Mark is lax.

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