“When it comes to the Singapore Green Plan 2030, its key targets for infrastructure are to green 80 per cent of Singapore’s buildings by 2030, improve energy efficiency in best-in-class green buildings, and see 80 per cent of new buildings be Super Low Energy buildings.

Sustainability has always been a significant part of my focus at OUE, where I’m in charge of leasing, marketing and property management of malls and office buildings. To see that we’re on track to meet the goals set out in Singapore’s Green Plan 2030, we’ve been ensuring that our buildings obtain the Green Mark certification. Our buildings are not new, so that’s a bit challenging, as it’s a process to re-engineer them to meet those requirements.

OUE Limited's Patrina Tan on sustainability in the built environment and property development
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The next step is examining the properties and their positioning, and whether they meet the needs of tenants who are more conscious of green leases and expect to be located in buildings that share the same mission. On the retail front, we’re starting to adopt green clauses in our leases, and we work with the tenants to make sure that they are mindful of their carbon emission and their consumption of energy, water and gas.

I feel that real estate developers are taking an interest in ensuring that, collectively, we’re able to achieve those goals by 2030. Starting with decisions like installing sensors for areas that don’t need lighting all the time, and keeping escalators on sleep mode when they don’t need to be running, I think a lot of properties have been actively implementing such changes. These are all part of ensuring that properties consume less energy.

Individuals need to buy into [sustainability] so that they incorporate the whole mentality and mindset as part of their life, and only with that and a very collaborative effort will we see real, significant change.

Patrina Tan

Having sustainability goals, requirements and regulations in place does make it harder to do business initially, but this would improve over time. That’s why at the start, grants and assistance are made available to bigger corporations to start the ball rolling, and those initiatives then cascade to SMEs, which are able to enjoy the benefits of the cost reduction over time, when there are more people participating in these movements.

Though there’s been more discussion on energy-efficient spaces in recent years, and everyone has that intention in mind, I think we’re still at the learning stage. For corporations, where buildings and infrastructure are concerned, it’s clearer as to what should be done, as there are clearer guidelines. But in reality, sustainability is more than that: Individuals need to buy into it so that they incorporate the whole mentality and mindset as part of their life, and only with that and a very collaborative effort will we see real, significant change.”

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