The next step for a greener tomorrow

Disruption has become the new normal for global and domestic corporations alike. While the level and impact of disruptive forces varies across industries, there remains a single unifying factor at its heart and that is technology.

01 Mar 2018

By Mark Yeo

The next step for a greener tomorrow
Since the launch of the Building & Construction Authority (BCA) Green Mark scheme in Singapore back in 2005, Singapore has more than 2,800 BCA Green Mark certified building projects, as of 2016 – which constitutes more than 31% of Singapore’s entire commercial building stock. The target of greening 80% of Singapore’s buildings by 2030 is well on track.

Notably, BCA has done a phenomenal job in advocating green and reaching out to the various stakeholders – landlord (i.e. developers and owners) and occupiers (i.e. tenants) alike. As a direct consequence, Singapore’s commercial tenants are well informed about the benefits of going green and their expectations as building occupiers have inadvertently risen with the times.

In the 2013 World Green Building Council’s “The Business Case for Green Building” report, it highlighted that green tenants are placing a greater emphasis on health & wellness at the workplace in order to translate into a higher level of performance and productivity. At the same time, green tenants also expect green building owners to generate cost savings from green building operating practices, which will be eventually passed onto them. Contextualising this set of expectations within the framework of BCA Green Mark Assessment Criteria for new/existing buildings, we can make a few qualifying conjectures: Green Buildings should also be smart and healthy buildings which takes into account the occupiers’ well-being such as indoor air quality (to include thermal comfort), and come inbuilt with smart building management systems (BMS) that monitor energy (for instance, air-conditioning and lighting) for efficient and effective performance.

From a property management standpoint and on behalf of our landlord clients, what area(s) of service can service providers such as ourselves focus on in meeting the tenants’ expectations?

While green mark accreditation continues to gain traction amongst our property managers and we remain a strong advocate of this trend, we must not forget about investing in our people on the ground – the teams who are placed at the clients’ site to manage these Green buildings (i.e. the onsite team). They play an integral part in ensuring that the buildings are operating in accordance to the standard Green practices and they are at the forefront of delivering the elevated level of service to the tenants.

One of the commonly overlooked areas in property management is to equip the onsite team with the relevant knowledge as well as to provide them with the necessary training so that they can perform effectively and efficiently at their job. Take for instance, a building technician. His role would be to monitor the BMS system so as to ensure that our tenants are getting the right indoor air and thermal comfort, and at the same time, making sure that the building’s chiller plant which is akin to a building’s central organ for air-conditioning, is operating at an optimal level. Any shortfall in competent technical expertise will lend to an inconsistent service delivery at the building operational level, which ultimately fails to uphold the Green spirit.

The first step towards a Green tomorrow is to first acknowledge the gap in the market and taking proactive measures to address it.

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