Embracing Sustainability: The Advantages of Becoming a Green Office
As environmental consciousness continues to build momentum, the concept of a Green Office has gained significant traction in Singapore.
A Green Office refers to a workspace designed with sustainability and environmental responsibility in mind. This encompasses everything from energy-efficient lighting to responsible waste management practices.
Transforming your office into a green space not only aligns your business with global sustainability goals but also brings a host of benefits to your organisation.
In this article, we will delve into the advantages of becoming a Green Office, shed light on prestigious Platinum-rated buildings such as Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC) and One Raffles Quay (ORQ), and share some starting guidelines on how to transform your office into a Green Office.
The Advantages of Becoming a Green Office
Transforming your office into a Green Office is a strategic move that can revolutionise the way your organisation operates.
From fostering a healthier, more productive workforce to realising substantial cost savings, the advantages of embracing green office practices are far-reaching and impactful.
Here are some compelling reasons why businesses are increasingly recognising the value of becoming a Green Office, and how it can contribute to both their bottom line and the global commitment to a more sustainable future:
- Enhanced employee well-being and productivity: A green office environment is known to improve air quality, regulate temperature, and provide ample natural light. Studies have shown that employees in such environments report higher levels of job satisfaction, leading to increased productivity and decreased absenteeism.
- Cost savings on utilities: Energy-efficient technologies and practices can significantly reduce your utility bills. From LED lighting to advanced HVAC systems, a green office space is designed to minimise energy consumption, ultimately saving your organisation money in the long run.
- Positive brand image and reputation: Operating from a green office demonstrates your commitment to environmental sustainability. This not only resonates positively with customers and clients but also attracts like-minded partners and employees who share similar values.
MBFC and ORQ: Pioneers in Platinum Rating
MBFC and ORQ stand as shining examples of commitment to sustainability. One Raffles Quay (ORQ) and Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC) towers are certified Green Mark Platinum buildings.
Across the three areas of energy efficiency, water efficiency and other green features, the buildings have many environmental and sustainability-focused features in place:
- The buildings use an integrated Building Management System (iBMS) for monitoring and efficiently controlling the various systems within the building. These include controls of air-conditioning and lighting’s operating timings, space area temperature controls, etc.
- Energy efficient lighting with control strategies such as photo cell sensors are widely used in the building to fully utilise lights and natural light.
- Lift systems with Regenerative Converter within the development helps reduce the total energy consumption in a building by the amount recovered of up to 45%.
- Adopting an energy efficient approach, the building utilizes chilled water supply from the District Cooling System for its air-conditioning system.
- Water leak detection systems are installed in various water leak possible locations serving the toilets, Landlord’s and tenant’s pantry and pump rooms.
- Bicycle lots are located in car parks and shower facilities are available at every office floor to encourage and support the community to cycle to work.
Within MBFC and ORQ, there are approximately 26 certified projects with Green Mark certificates and 9 with LEED certificates.
Tenants looking to become Green Mark for Office Interiors certified in MBFC and ORQ start off with an advantage compared to other non-Green Mark Platinum buildings.
Here are some of the benefits tenants seeking a Green Mark can receive from being based in MBFC or ORQ. As these features are already part of the building systems and processes, tenants can receive points that count towards their Green Mark Certification.
- Lighting Power Density (LPD): Use of energy saving lightings (if tenants re-use/conserve landlord-provided lightings.
- Control of Indoor Temperature & Relative Humidity through an efficient air distribution system with VSDs and VAV boxes.
- Use of Low-VOC Paint (if tenants conserve existing finishes during renovation).
- Tenant Engagement Programme: Through The BayGreen Vibe organised by RQAM.
- Recycling Facilities: Documented records of recyclables (paper, plastics, glass) Tenants can weigh and document their own volume/weight of recyclables then consolidate for collection at landlord provided recycling facilities.
- Sustainable Renovation: Conservation of existing finishes during renovation.
- Indoor Air Quality Audit: High efficiency filters for AHUs which will result in better indoor air quality for tenants.
Tenants will also receive 2 Green Mark points as both MBFC and ORQ are Green Mark Platinum buildings.
Beginner steps to becoming a Green Office
Embarking on the journey towards a green office is a commendable endeavour that not only aligns your organisation with global sustainability goals but also reaps a host of benefits for both your business and the environment. It's a transformative process that begins with a thoughtful assessment of your current practices and evolves into a comprehensive strategy for sustainable operations.
Here are some beginning steps to take:
- Conduct a sustainability assessment - Begin by evaluating your current office practices and identifying areas where you can make improvements.
- Energy efficiency upgrades - Invest in energy-efficient appliances, lighting, and HVAC systems to reduce your overall energy consumption.
- Waste management and recycling programmes - Implement waste management strategies, including recycling initiatives, to minimise your environmental footprint.
- Green procurement policies - Prioritise suppliers and vendors who share your commitment to sustainability.
- Employee engagement and training - Educate your team about sustainable practices and encourage their participation in green initiatives.
Raffles Quay Asset Management (RQAM): What is Green Mark and is it unique to Singapore?
Ms. Emily Tan (ET): Green Mark is Singapore’s very own green building rating system, designed to evaluate a building’s environmental impact and performance. The framework is based on local standards and regulations, with enhanced performance standards comparable to international requirements.
RQAM: What are the key differences between Green Mark, WELL and LEED?
ET: Green Mark and LEED have more similarities in terms of the criteria requirements, primarily focused on resource efficiency such as energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste management whereas WELL has no direct requirements on these metrics.
The WELL building standard is centred on human efficiency, which is influenced by the quality of metrics such as air and water, rather than the quantity of air or water used. There are overlapping areas of focus for all 3 criteria which impact health and wellbeing such as indoor environmental quality, materials/sustainable products, etc.
The main difference between Green Mark and LEED will be the standards on which performance metrics are assessed.
RQAM: Can you share the key steps in the Green Mark certification process?
ET: First and foremost, before embarking on the Green Mark certification process, there are 2 key things to do – communication and gap analysis.
Communicate with the occupants/staff to understand the pros and cons of the current space, what are the possible areas of improvement, carry out a gap analysis to determine the “gaps” between the current space and what is envisioned in the new/renovated space as the space seeks Green Mark certification.
RQAM: What are the top 3 tips you can share with offices intending to apply for certification from a stakeholder, infrastructure and employee perspective?
ET: From a stakeholder’s point of view, communication is important.
Ensure buy-in from the occupants/employees before embarking on the green certification so they will see the value of things and not think of it as just another audit exercise.
In terms of infrastructure, the inclination should be what is practical and overall beneficial to the office and its occupants, not just white elephants or features implemented just to achieve the points per say.
From the employee’s point of view, be heartened that as you occupy a Green Mark-certified office, there are were prerequisites which were met and this will be the base offering from the company towards your health and wellbeing.
If you are exploring becoming Green Mark-certified, RQAM can support you.
Becoming a green office space isn't just about being environmentally responsible; it's a strategic move that can lead to cost savings, improved employee well-being, and a positive brand image.
Read more about the green features within our buildings at https://www.rqam.com.sg/about-rqam/sustainability/ or learn about our green initiatives by visiting our website at https://bythebay.com.sg/baygreen.
If your organisation is keen on exploring becoming a Green Office, we can help/support you in a few ways:
- We maintain information on our buildings’ sustainability features and programmes at these pages – MBFC and ORQ.
- We have published and maintained information in a “Green Guide” that shares information about our buildings’ Green Mark Platinum features and how it can benefit tenants looking to get certified under BCA-HPB Green Mark for Healthier Workplaces (GM HW: 2018).
- Tenants looking for guidance can approach us as we work closely with our tenants to ensure that they uphold agreed standards in their fit-out and operations.
We believe in the power of collaboration and worked together with our tenants at MBFC Tower 3 to achieve a Green Mark Pearl Award. This award recognises building owners and tenants working in tandem to achieve greater environmental sustainability for the same project or building.
Connect with us at email@example.com or through the Building Management Office.