New Financing Scheme and Minimum Standards for Existing Buildings Announced at the International Green Building Conference 2011

Minister of State for National Development and Manpower, BG (NS) Tan Chuan-Jin announced a new financing scheme and minimum Green Mark standards for existing buildings at today’s opening of the International Green Building Conference (IGBC) 2011, which is part of the annual Singapore Green Building Week.

In the Singapore Sustainable Blueprint, the government has set a target to green 80% of Singapore’s buildings by 2030. 95% of Singapore’s building stock are existing buildings. The challenge is how to green the existing buildings, given the higher cost of retrofitting and the lack of financing.

To help existing building owners overcome the barrier of high upfront retrofitting costs, BG (NS) Tan announced that the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) will launch a pilot scheme from 1 Oct called the Building Retrofit Energy Efficiency Financing (BREEF) Scheme.

Under this scheme, participating financial institutions such as Standard Chartered Bank and United Overseas Bank, will provide financial loans to commercial building owners, MCSTs and energy services companies (ESCOs) for conducting energy efficiency retrofits under an Energy Performance Contract (EPC) arrangement. The EPC can ensure a minimum level of energy savings. BCA will share the risk of any loan default with the financial institutions.

In addition, BG (NS) Tan announced that the Ministry of National Development (MND) will amend the Building Control Act to mandate minimum Green Mark standards for existing buildings, as and when the buildings are retrofitted. BCA will be consulting the industry and stakeholders on the proposed amendments to the Building Control Act in the coming months.

He explained that although the retrofitting cost to meet the minimum standards is higher upfront, the energy savings after the retrofit will eventually pay for this cost.

The IGBC 2011 is held from 14 – 16 Sep at the Suntec City Convention Centre, and would see 1,000 participants from 30 countries coming together to address challenges and explore solutions in green building development. Concurrently, the Build Eco Expo (BEX Asia) 2011 is also held at the same venue to showcase the latest green products and solutions for the green building sector.

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