Singapore: Real estate helps realization of sustainable cities

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The real estate industry has a major part to play in building sustainable cities, said Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on 29 September 2014.

Dr Balakrishnan said at the KPMG Global Real Estate and Construction Conference that companies in the sector can lead sustainability, collaborate and innovate and export solutions.

Making Singapore green and resource-efficient is important to sustain economic growth in the face of an ageing population, climate change, urbanisation and the depletion of resources, he added.

“All key stakeholders – the Government, businesses and people – have their part to play in defining their cities.”

The real estate industry is in a position to lead this thrust as buildings, which are constructed to last for decades, can “lock in a city’s resource consumption patterns” and put it on track to sustainability, he noted.

The Government’s target is to “green” 80 per cent of the building stock by 2030, with a quarter of all buildings already certified under the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Mark Scheme.

Dr Balakrishnan urged developers to incorporate environmental sustainability into the design and operation of buildings, which can make business sense as well as tenants desire energy efficiency.

The industry can also pursue wider collaboration and partnerships – with customers who buy or lease, within the industry and with academia to devise better solutions, he added.

Dr Balakrishnan said the BCA will set up a Green Building and Innovation Cluster that will facilitate academic and industry collaboration on energy efficiency innovations that can be test-bedded in buildings.

He also suggested to those at the event at W Hotel in Sentosa that building owners can consider becoming “stewards” of public space around them.

“Industry can conjure, share and shape discussion on how the built environment can be integrated and faded into the pockets of nature left around Singapore.”

Constant innovation can turn areas of vulnerability into strategic opportunities, he said, as has been demonstrated in the water industry.

As Singapore was “painfully aware of its vulnerability in water”, the country was quick to adopt technological developments in semi-permeable membranes and reverse osmosis.

Said Dr Balakrishnan: “(This) allowed us to not only take a step closer towards achieving water self-sufficiency, but also create business opportunities and export them to the world…

“Singapore can therefore become a leader and exporter of expertise and technology in the built environment, leading a network of sustainable and liveable cities.”

 

Source: AsiaOne Business

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