When I touched down in Singapore six years ago from Wisconsin, I could say that green building rating systems were a foreign idea (literally) to the majority of the local real estate market. Six years later, the situation has taken a 180-degree turn.
First launched in 2005, Green Mark is a green building rating system that was modelled after LEED and BREEAM. There are now more than 350 certified and pre-certified Green Mark buildings all around this Little Red Dot on the map. In comparison, there’s only a handful of LEED projects here.
The Singapore government has given Green Mark a strong push by:
– Providing cash and other forms of incentives to promote take-up rate during the infancy days of the system
– Taking the lead with certification of public buildings
– Launching a training and accreditation scheme for green building specialists (Green Mark Manager/Green Mark Professional)
– Imposing minimum Green Mark standards for new buildings or old building stock going through major retrofits since April 2008
Realizing that building stocks are directly and indirectly responsible for one-third of its national carbon emission, the Singapore government has rightly stepped in and flexed its muscle to speed up green real estate development.
Today, few people view the rating tool as merely a compulsory requirement. Rather, there is now quite healthy competition among leading developers to come up with the next green building that attracts investors.
Not surprisingly, countries throughout Southeast Asia are trying to mimic this approach after witnessing their little neighbour’s big success. There’s a popular Chinese saying that applies adequately to the various international green building rating systems now available, and it goes something like this: “It doesn’t matter if it’s white cat or a black cat, as long as it can catch the mouse, it’s a good cat!”.