Tapping business opportunities in “green” buildings [News]
By Rachel Kelly, Channel NewsAsia, 15 Sep 2011.
The Singapore government has set an ambitious target to green 80 per cent of buildings by 2030, and it is not alone in the region.
This trend is opening up big buck opportunities for construction and eco innovation firms, to tap into this budding building market.
The Empire State Building recently underwent a retrofit to streamline its efficiency, cutting energy usage by 38 per cent, resulting in cost savings of $4.4 million annually.
Smart technology firm Johnson Controls worked on the project, and said that it is enjoying growth of around 30 per cent in Asia.
But selling green isn’t easy, when the perception is that the costs outweigh the benefits.
“What was very interesting was the actual extra cost of going green is roughly 5 per cent, however the perception of people in Asia is its closer to 25-30 per cent. The other thing is the amount of savings – they were thinking 5 or 10 per cent most people, however 35 or 40 per cent savings are achievable,” said Rob Moult, VP for Service, Asia, Johnson Controls.
Lend Lease, a major commercial developer in Asia, said it would not invest in a building that wasn’t green.
It said energy-saving buildings can enjoy rental premiums of 5 to 6 per cent, even in China, where the environment doesn’t always take priority.
Rod Leaver, CEO Asia of Lend Lease, said: “We have been in China for 17 years and we are only just starting to get a foothold in there from an investment perspective.
“But what we are seeing and this is a very important factor, is that the investors themselves through the United Nations principles of responsible investors – there are some 850 investors that are signed to that now and they control US$25 trillion – and what they require is a manager who understands about responsible investment.”
And it’s not just about changing a few light bulbs; elevators and escalators are estimated to take up about 10 per cent of a buildings energy usage, and one company is looking to bring that number down to zero.
Hanna Uusitalo, Environmental Director, Kone, said: “At 2010, we measured the results, throughout the volume offerings in Europe and Asia and in North America, and yes we were able to reduce the energy consumption of volume elevators by 50 per cent by inventing several new features into the elevators such as the green efficient hoisting machine. Now we are moving towards the net zero energy building.”
Kone has developed a system that can feed excess energy from a elevator back into a buildings electrical system, recovering up to 35 per cent of the total energy used by an elevator system.
Source: Channel NewsAsia
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