The methodology used to assess the global cities for their green building performance are drawn across four categories, as follows:
Three of the above categories centers on the total number of green buildings, performance and initiatives, while one category focuses on the city’s green initiatives and performance. The research, assessment and evaluation undertaken for the white paper results in the following ranking of global cities, based on their green building performance :
Findings from the white paper revealed Paris and Singapore were the only cities that ranked within the top five in every category and took the top spot by excelling in all four assessments. These two cities showcase strong building efficiency and performance, which showed that both local and international certification standards continue to yield high-performance on green buildings.
London takes the lead in achieving the highest green building stock
The global cities were assessed on the basis of their green building landscape, which is defined as the total number of green buildings and green building certification systems in use. When evaluating the city- wide green building landscape on the 10 global cities, the research identified London, Singapore and Paris as the top scorers. London has the highest percentage of green building projects (68%) for its green buildings among the ten global cities chosen. Paris and Singapore rank closely behind with 64% and 48% respectively, with more than half of the built stock certified as “green”. This signifies the level of advancement in the adoption of new and existing green buildings, as well as the high level of green building activity in the cities.
Paris, Sydney, and Singapore: the most promising in green building efficiency and performance
Paris, Sydney and Singapore were on top of the list when it came to the overall performance and efficiency of its green built stock. Paris particularly won first position for its very low percentage of carbon emissions, which is attributable to the city’s built-environment. The level of energy used in buildings in Paris and Singapore were among the lowest in the list, indicating the cities’ level of eco- consciousness and proof that both the local and international green building certifications used in both cities set a strong benchmark that pushes for greater greener building performance.
New York City, on the other hand, did not fare well in this category. The mega-city accounts for the 2nd highest in building energy consumption (80%) as well as emit a large volume of CO2 (74%), which explains the poor performance on the Green Building Efficiency and Performance dimension.
Singapore pioneering in impressive green building targets
Singapore stood out as a forerunner in the industry by putting a comprehensive and bold set of policies and targets for greening the city’s built block by establishing a target to green 80% of its built-stock by 2030. In 2008, the city-state amended its Building Control Act, requiring all new buildings and existing ones that undergo major retrofitting to achieve, at minimum, a certified rating under the Green Mark Scheme. By 2014, more than 25% of the city’s entire built-stock was already ‘greened’.
Tokyo on the other hand, incepted its green building journey in 2002 (the earliest of all 10 cities) by introducing the world’s first carbon trading scheme, the program has being replicated in neighboring Asian governments. Despite its early start, Tokyo’s green building landscape and performance rank below cities such as London, Singapore and Paris in this report.
Which global city comes the closest to a green city?
Not only are green buildings linked to human health benefits and wellbeing, they foster the productivity, creativity and innovation in the cities’ community. A strong society constitutes to the development of its green city culture and environment, thereby further streamlining the sustainability efforts to increase the number of green buildings in the city. For that reason, cities that have adopted a climate action plan, set targets to reduce their CO2 emissions, and take into consideration waste and energy management, are the urban centers most notably known for being green.
Sydney, Paris and New York had taken the top 3 spots for the assessment of a green city’s culture and environment, with Singapore coming closely behind in 4th place. While every global city has adopted their own policies and regulations to combat climate change, some cities have performed better than others in certain areas. New York performed particularly well in renewable energy consumption, standing in first place. Sydney and Hong Kong have set higher than average for CO2 reduction targets amongst the 10 cities with high percentages for waste recycling.
Given that cities like Beijing, Dubai, and Shanghai have joined the green building movement not too long ago (in 2010), it is unsurprising that these cities lag behind on the waste recycling metric, and for Dubai on the renewable energy consumption. However, it is expected that the rankings should see changes in the future as these newer ‘green building cities’ are setting ambitious targets in order to catch up to other cities’ levels.
Solidiance would like to acknowledge the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore for their commissioning of this white paper. It is important to note that the research was done independently by Solidiance and the findings and views expressed in the white paper / report do not necessarily reflect the views of the BCA.
Soldiance is a corporate strategy consulting firm with focus on Asia Pacific. We advise CEOs on make-or break deals, define new business models and accelerate Asia growth. Solidiance’s expertise is focused on healthcare, industrial applications, green technology, and technology sectors with offices in ten different Asian countries: China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore (HQ), Thailand, UAE, and Vietnam.