OCBC Bank has collaborated with the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA) to help building owners, developers and SMEs in the property value chain make the transition to sustainability simpler with easier access to green loans. Using the Building Energy Efficiency Assessment (BEEA), the latest tool launched by BCA to predict the energy performance of buildings, projects assessed to be able to achieve a level of energy efficiency comparable to the certification standard of a BCA Green Mark 2021 GoldPLUS building will be eligible to obtain a green loan from OCBC Bank.
The first green loan extended by OCBC Bank leveraging the BEEA is a S$148 million facility to Fairview Development Pte Ltd (Fairview Development), a unit of one of Singapore’s leading private developers, Tong Eng Group. The loan proceeds will be used to finance the development of its upcoming residential project Belgravia Ace.
The new online BEEA tool makes it simpler and more convenient to predict and improve the energy performance of property projects, providing assessments within minutes. This contrasts with the existing process for green loans which requires the green building certifications to be obtained, a process which could take several weeks using consultant services depending on the scale and complexity of the project.
By simplifying the green loan eligibility to include assessments from the BEEA tool, property developers such as Fairview Development and others in the value chain will more easily gain access to green loans to support them in the shift towards green developments and construction. Buildings account for over 20% of Singapore’s carbon emissions and the potential to encourage more building owners, developers and SMEs in the property sector to make the shift to sustainability is significant.
As part of the online assessment, property developers are required to provide information on air conditioning and mechanical ventilation systems and lighting, amongst others. The tool also provides options for additional measures that can be implemented to lower the energy consumption for the property along with the related costs.
Green features of Belgravia Ace
Several green features will be incorporated into Tong Eng Group’s newest strata landed housing development Belgravia Ace to achieve the energy efficiency standards equivalent to the BCA Green Mark 2021 GoldPLUS certification.
These include the optimisation of window-to-wall ratio, and the use of low emission glazing that reduces harmful UV and infra-red rays from the sun to facilitate better ventilation and minimise heat gain to the building, provision of water efficient wares and fittings, as well as air conditioning system and home appliances with the highest energy efficiency rating.
In addition, the air conditioning system in the Living & Dining area will be fitted with an air purifying filtration device that uses the latest Plasma technology to eradicate various kinds of viruses, bacteria, pollutants, dust and PM2.5, and in the process deliver cleaner air.
Electric vehicle charging points will also be installed within the development. Furthermore, the development will be focusing on sustainability right at the source, with the use of eco-friendly cement and aggregate together with the use of low volatile organic compounds (VOC) paints, adhesives, sealants, etc. that are approved by the local certification bodies.
This S$148 million green loan was issued under Tong Eng Group’s green loan framework, which was developed in 2020 in accordance with Green Loan Principles issued by the Loan Market Associations. The framework has been expanded to include projects that are assessed by BEEA to have energy performance comparable to that of a BCA Green Mark 2021 GoldPLUS certified building.
Mr Linus Goh, Head of Global Commercial Banking, OCBC Bank, said, “We are pleased to partner BCA in leveraging their newly-launched Business Energy Efficiency Assessment tool to make it simpler and more cost-effective for developers and SMEs to obtain green financing and to accelerate the shift towards green buildings and construction. We are delighted once again to partner our long-time customer Tong Eng Group on another industry-first green loan leveraging this new tool for their Belgravia Ace project.”
Mr Ang Kian Seng, Group Director of Environmental Sustainability Group, BCA, said, “We are encouraged that OCBC shall utilise BCA’s Building Energy Efficiency Assessment tool. This is another energy evaluation tool under BCA’s Super Low Energy Building Smart Hub platform. This collaboration with OCBC will assist developers to design more energy efficient buildings and is a step towards a low carbon Singapore. We look forward to seeing super low energy buildings being the mainstream, in line with our Singapore Green Building Masterplan ambitions.”
Mr Teo Tong Lim, Group Managing Director of Tong Eng Group, said, “We recognise that living in an environmentally sustainable space is good for health and well-being. We endeavor to reduce the environmental impact of buildings by improving energy and water efficiency, air quality as well as through the use of renewable construction materials. Through these sustainable practices, we conserve natural resources and protect global ecosystems.
It may be a small step but it is every developers’ corporate social responsibility to contribute in making our built environment more sustainable.”
OCBC Bank’s sustainability efforts
OCBC Bank has been doing its part to drive the transition to a more sustainable world. In 2019, OCBC Bank became the first bank in Southeast Asia to stop financing new coal-fired plants. Last year, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the bank also pledged to grow its sustainable finance portfolio to S$25 billion by 2025 having achieved its earlier S$10 billion-by-2022 goal two years ahead of time.
On the SME front, in 2020, the Bank launched the OCBC SME Sustainable Finance Framework that makes it simpler and less costly for Singapore SMEs to access sustainable financing of up to S$20 million to accelerate their sustainability plans.
Later that same year, OCBC Bank adopted the Equator Principles, an internationally-recognised risk management framework adopted by financial institutions worldwide which will guide how the Bank determines, assesses and manages environmental and social risks in projects. OCBC Bank’s voluntary adoption of the Equator Principles is an extension of its Responsible Financing framework which the Bank has put in place since 2017.