The greening of Singapore’s real estate

/ EdgeProp Singapore
October 4, 2019 11:00 AM SGT
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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Strong government support and the increased availability of “green financing” have enabled the trend of green real estate to grow in Singapore, but there is a need for the real estate industry to embrace the value of green real estate, according to a research paper by Edmund Tie.
The report points out that given Singapore’s dense urban landscape, correctly incorporating greenery as part of the built environment will bring about a variety of benefits. Elements like vertical greenery have been proven to improve air quality by reducing the concentration of particulate matter in the air by 10% to 20%. It can also help to reduce traffic noise.
Singapore is also prone to experiencing a higher “urban heat island effect”, which causes the urban built environment to be hotter than neighbouring rural areas. Adding more greenery and landscaping is an effective method to mitigate the heat.
Margaret Thean, regional head of residential at Edmund Tie, says: “Not only does lush greenery lead to many health benefits, the verdant landscaping of a development also creates a luxurious environment for everyone. In time to come, landscaping may be a key differentiator for residential projects.”
For developers, while the cost of incorporating green features into buildings may lead to a 5% to 10% increase in the overall cost of investment, the value of their property could potentially increase by up to 15% and their operating costs could fall by about 20%, the report says.
The Singapore government has launched initiatives to encourage developers to include more green spaces in new developments. For instance, the URA’s Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High-rises (LUSH) programme encourages the incorporation of greenery in the high-rise urban environment.
Commercial developments are also increasingly using biophilic design, which taps nature to enhance users’ health and well-being.
One example is Jewel Changi Airport, the retail and entertainment complex which opened in April this year. It has 228,194 sq ft of indoor gardens and attractions. It also boasts the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, and a 150,694 sq ft rooftop Canopy Park. In addition, there are more than 2,000 trees and 100,000 shrubs in the complex.
 Jewel Changi Airport boasts vast indoor gardens, including 2,000 trees and 100,000 shrubs
Jewel Changi Airport boasts vast indoor gardens, including 2,000 trees and 100,000 shrubs (Picture: Albert Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Elsewhere, in its new office at Marina One, Prudential Singapore has introduced green walls and other green features, which have enhanced its employees’ well-being. This has enabled the insurance group to improve their hiring and employee satisfaction.
“Increasingly, more office tenants are bringing the outdoors indoors. As this increases the attractiveness of the office spaces, the productivity of workers should improve significantly,” says Chua Wei Lin, regional head of business space at Edmund Tie.
To be sure, Singapore is on its way to achieving its target of greening 80% of its buildings by 2030, as set out in the Green Building Masterplan in 2017. Also, the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint in 2015 targets the addition of up to 200ha of skyrise greenery by 2030.
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