Singapore: green building rush to build trade, jobs in Asia

SINGAPORE—As the demand for energy, water and eco-friendly materials for construction grows enormously over the years, experts said Asia, including the Philippines, stands to benefit from the global trend by creating green buildings and generating new jobs.

“Going green is certainly in hot demand. Global demand for green products and services has shot up over the years, and is on a fast-growth trajectory,” Tai Lee Siang, president of the Singapore Green Building Council said during the opening ceremony of the three-day International Green Building Conference (IGBC) and the Build Eco Xpo (BEX) Asia 2012. “The green economy is also a big job creator in transforming Asia’s environment toward a sustainable future,” he added.

Citing data from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Lee said the global environmental market could be worth at least $607 billion and could potentially rise to $836 billion by 2015. Compared to the global annual growth rate of 3 percent between 1996 and 2001, environmental markets in developing countries grew at 7 percent to 8 percent over the same period.

“Notably, it is in the developing countries that the environmental market is undergoing an explosion. Growth in the Asia and Pacific region is expected to triple by 2015, making it the fastest-growing region for environmental goods and services in the world. In terms of employment, the implications of this are enormous,” Lee told the more than 1,000 industry experts and delegates from more than 30 countries.

According to the Asia Business Council, up to 100 million new green jobs worldwide could be created by 2030. In China alone, more than 3,000 daily postings for green jobs was recorded in 2009, followed by India and Korea. In contrast, traditional carbon-intensive industries such as the mining industries have experienced a steady decline.

Grace Fu, second minister for the Environment and Water Resources and second minister for foreign  affairs, said the event is an opportunity for governments, businesses and international network of green advocates to share knowledge and create networking opportunities for industry practitioners in the region.

“Climate change has increasingly come to the fore in recent years, and there are certainly strong motivations for this. For Singapore, we are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change, as we are a small city––state with an open economy, with industries that rely heavily on energy,” Fu said.

She added that Singapore has developed its Sustainable Singapore Blueprint in 2009 and outlined national targets for 2030, aiming to achieve a 35-percent improvement in energy efficiency and a greening of 80 percent of the buildings in Singapore. There are now close to 1,300 green building projects, representing about 17 percent of the building projects in Singapore that is under their green mark scheme. Last month a new legislation was also passed to require existing buildings to achieve minimum sustainability standards when a cooling system is installed or retrofitted. Singapore’s green mark scheme supports up to 50 percent, or S$3 million of retrofitting costs.

To boost the building and construction industry further in Asia, some 282 companies from 30 countries have gathered in BEX Asia 2012 to showcase their cutting-edge products, innovative technologies and sustainable designs in building materials, energy-efficiency systems, fittings and fixtures and other eco-friendly designs and materials.

Michelle Lim, managing director of the Reed Exhibitions said BEX Asia 2012 also sees three new product categories in response to the increased demand such as the skyrise landscaping, green interior designs, and the heating ventilation and air conditioning.

“The topic of sustainability is already so vital in today’s context where we face issues of climate change, a growing population and the increasing rate of urbanization around the world,” Lim said. “But with the green wave sweeping through the industry, the building and construction industry will be more of adopting green practices and maximizing sustainability in our built environment.”

Last year a total of 7,693 people from 37 countries visited BEX Asia. A staggering $81 million was generated in sales, up 11 percent from $73 million in 2010.

This year BEX Asia is expecting more than 8,000 visitors and to generate $90 million in sales.

 

Source: Business Mirror

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