Buildings account for approximately 20% of Singapore’s carbon emissions. The government has demonstrated its commitment to reducing this number with several iterations of the “Green Building Masterplan” since the early 2000s.
These schemes were designed to gradually reduce buildings’ energy consumption and introduce sustainable practices. However, until now, the certifications scheme was separate for new and existing developments and for residential and non-residential buildings. On top of that, the evaluation generally focused more on efficiency or offsetting rather than conserving energy in the first place.
When it comes to air-conditioning, which represents 40% to 70% of energy consumption in most buildings in Singapore’s hot and humid climate, this meant that the unit of measurement was kW/RT (refrigerant ton) of the chiller unit rather than kWh/m2/year.
In early 2019, a task force to reinvent the Green Mark certification scheme was formed under the new Singapore Green Building Masterplan (SGBMP) which was unveiled in early 2021. The purpose of the task force was to:
This is how Green Mark 2021 was established, in line with the broader Singapore Green Plan 2030 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It is an all-in-one Green Mark label for all buildings (for new, as well as for existing buildings – for residential and non-residential).
Here are its key characteristics:
Under the new scheme, energy performance plays a key role for the level of certification. It was previously bundled together with the other sustainability initiatives (such as greening rooftops etc.). Called “Energy Efficiency”, this category includes three pathways to optimize your energy and become certified, two of which actually include reducing energy waste, and are thus closer to the definition of energy conservation.
Know more about the differences between energy efficiency and energy conservation.
Next to the main “efficiency” section, there are five additional categories that constitute the “Sustainability section”. Each sustainable action is assigned a point value and buildings can earn badges (min 10 points out of 15) recognizing their efforts in each category. The categories are as follows:
Under the new scheme, efficiency requirements to achieve available certifications have been raised by 5% for each category as compared to fixed standards from 2005. On top of that, an additional recognition, in the form of SLE = Super Low Energy,has been introduced for buildings beyond their Green Mark target ratings (min 60% compared to 2005).
To allow facility/energy managers to choose the relevant criteria for assessment, 3 pathways have been introduced to assess eligibility:
1. Energy Use Intensity (EUI) pathway based on Energy Consumption
Total Building annual energy consumption over the gross floor area of the building (kWh/m2/yr). Based on:
2. Fixed metrics pathway
A prescriptive pathway where projects must demonstrate high levels of performance in each of the key building energy systems, such as chiller plant efficiency kW/RT.
All aspects must be met individually and any shortfall in performance can be made up with the use of onsite renewables, subject to the building typology multiplication factor.
3. Performance-based energy modelling
Demonstrated energy savings following the Green Mark Energy Modelling guideline which looks at holistic energy performance against a reference compliant with the Energy Modelling Guideline.
Depending on the type of building, only certain pathways can be used, as presented in the table below:
GreenMark 2021 was launched in September 2021. A transition period is granted till the end of 2022 when all buildings are expected to move under the GM 2021 assessment.
Future plans include automating the submission process by connecting buildings’ “smart portals” with BCA’s certification system for example.
If you’re looking to get your building certified, browse The Matcha Initiative suppliers directory.
 BCA also launched the Super Low Energy (SLE) Building programme in 2018 to encourage firms to go beyond the existing Green Mark Platinum standards and push the envelope of environmental sustainability in Singapore.