A study by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Sustainable Building and Construction Initiative (SBCI) have shown that the building and construction industry worldwide is responsible for a third of total energy use and in most parts of the world, the greatest contributor of greenhouse gas (GHG) (UNEP-SBCI, 2009). One would therefore think that the efforts resulting from the Kyoto protocol which sets binding targets to reduce GHG emissions would focus on the Building and Construction industry, and this is an opinion which may be true. The effect of the protocol have seen a paradigm shift in the industry towards a ‘Sustainable Development’ movement, being more conscious to the effects the industry has on the environment. The
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The increase in awareness on sustainable development has also prompted the Singapore government to put in place both regulations and incentives. The Building and Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA) launched the Green Mark Scheme in 2005 to encourage the construction of environment-friendly buildings. The objective of this scheme is to promote environmental awareness to industry personnel starting from project conceptualisation to during construction and even after completion (BCA, 2015). New building projects and retrofitting projects are required to achieve minimum Green Mark Standards under the Building Control (Environmental Sustainability) Regulations (BCA, 2015). Projects in downtown areas such as Marina Bay and in the financial district are required to meet even higher standards. These regulations are complemented by various incentive schemes to assist owners to finance the higher costs of green construction.
The construction industry in Singapore, in its commitment towards a more sustainable industry also focuses its efforts on construction materials. Under the BCA Sustainable Construction Masterplan, the BCA sets targets with regards to construction materials such as reducing the local industry’s dependence on imported materials, recycling and using recycled materials along with reducing the dependence on concrete and efficiently using natural materials (BCA, 2013). For