The Mark of a Green Home

In 2008, the government made it a requirement for all buildings to achieve a minimum Green Mark Certified level. The categories are Green Mark Platinum, Gold Plus, Gold, and Certified (in descending order). The BCA Green Mark Scheme rates buildings using five key criteria: Energy Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Environmental Protection, Indoor Environment Quality, and Green Innovation Features. So do we really benefit should our homes have been certified with an outstanding Green Mark award? We share how this works.

With passive design features which harness natural light and wind to reduce our reliance on artificial light and air-conditioners, coupled with energy-saving appliances, and water-saving technology such as dual-flusher toilets and grey water harvesting, the goal is to maximise the use of natural energy to reduce the carbon footprint of a home.

Green Mark homes also benefit our health. Natural lighting, for example, contributes to a comfortable indoor environment; adequate ventilation from passive cooling strategies prevents the heat-island effect while improving indoor air quality.

There is also an emphasis on the indoor built environment. Here, the focus is on low-VOC products such as water-based paints and other materials. The BCA Green Mark also recognises the use of certified green products under the Singapore Environment Council’s (SEC) Singapore Green Labelling Scheme (SGLS), such as water-based adhesives that don’t contain formaldehyde.

Besides certifications and awards, keep a lookout for actual eco-friendly features, and ask lots of questions:
1. Are the air-conditioners and refrigerators all “four-tick” appliances? Are there LED lights instead of incandescent, halogen or even compact fluorescent lights? Or better yet, can you do without lights in the day?

2. Can you open your windows? In general, what is the ventilation in your potential new home like? Can you leave your windows open and rely on fans for cooling at night?

3. Is there grey-water harvesting or rainwater harvesting? Water is becoming an increasingly valuable resource, and while Singapore has done a great job in ensuring water security for its population in the long term, we should still do our part in conserving water.

4. For landed properties, ask yourself how often you need to maintain your green wall/roof, if there is one? What about your solar PV installation, solar window film or solar water heater? Energy-saving features should themselves be durable and sustainable.

More information on Green Mark here.