Ten steps towards Singapore Green Mark Platinum (New Building version 2015)

Updated: Sep 19, 2020

The Green Mark Platinum building criteria is a high sustainability standard in Singapore. Getting #GreenMark #greenmarkPlatinum will have at least 30% energy savings, better natural ventilation (if applicable), a balanced sustainability performance, and many outstanding wow factors. To design a Green Mark Platinum building, JOS collected the below ten steps to guide the professionals:

1. Decision and Registration

Deciding whether to pursue a Green Mark Platinum certification? Refer to one of the JOS articles on Green Mark toolkits.

Public buildings, iconic buildings, building owners have strong sustainability mindsets will deliver Platinum buildings. In addition, a Platinum building, usually cost approximately 5% of the construction cost.

The process to kick start the design process should be as early as possible to avoid any gaps. In the agile change management approach, the later the change, the higher the cost impact would apply. The ideal stage to bring in the Green Mark decision should be at the beginning of the project design intention when Architects and Engineers are keeping the Green Mark requirement in mind, and the Owner is prepared to set aside the sustainability (Green Mark) budget.

2. Gap Analysis

The purpose of the gap analysis is to set up a Green Mark target. The project should set a higher target score during the design stage to avoid any unexpected non-compliance during the later stage. Under the Green Mark version 2015, most of the buildings can achieve min 70 points and above. JOS has created a gap analysis #template, click the link for free download.

3. Mandatory requirements

It's not challenging to meet the Green Mark minimum score, but most projects find it challenging to meet the mandatory requirements.

1) To achieve at least 70 Green Mark Points, #download the #template suggested Green Mark points.

2) For an air-conditioned building to achieve at least 30% #energysavings, it requires energy simulation using approved software like IES VE. A building should put heavy emphasis on the facade (#ETTV) and air conditioning system efficiency if its aiming platinum awarded. JOS worked out a typical office building energy calculation sample for your reference.

3) For a naturally ventilated building project, the project must conduct #CFD #simulation to assist and meet good ventilation. The project may consider approved software like BIM HVACTool, ANSYS Fluent.

4)) Often missed by consultants, the project also needs to pay attention to the minimum criteria points shown on page 36 of the Green Mark criteria.

4. Design and Documentation

Nothing is concrete without implementing the target to an actual design, and the critical stage is to put all the targeted marks into reality.

Through regular design charrettes, the consultant should convey the target clearly with owners and design team. There must be a budget set aside to implement Green Mark Platinum strategies and the team must be committed to delivering Green Mark Platinum as the common goal.

The team may expand the Gap analysis template to include documentation submission, follow-ups and status tracking. The consultant should also give a consistent and regular Green Mark status update to the team.

During the design and documentation stage, the consultant should focus on the following agenda during the regular Green Mark meeting:

1) Is the target of Green Mark Platinum still achievable? If no, present the gap and seek decisions.

2) If the Green Mark Platinum target is in line, the consultant should update the current documentation collection status and set the key milestones:

There are three key milestones for Green Mark certification:

a) Pre-assessment: Project should engage BCA assessor for pre-assessment. It's best to conduct pre-assessment when the project clearly sets the target and has the project general info ready. The purpose of pre-assessment is to seek BCA assessor's suggestion to align the expectation towards the Green Mark Platinum award.

b) Final assessment: refer to step 6 and 7.

c) Award: refer to step 8

d) Verification: refer to step 9

And one of the important stages during the design phase is to convert the Green Mark targets into a clearly drafted tender specification. The tender specification should require at least one qualified person in charge for Green Mark documentation coordination.

The Green Mark tender specification must clearly indicate the features needed to meet the targeted Green Mark points, and the contractor’s responsibilities in meeting the target.

5. Construction phase

The focus on the construction is to implement the Green Mark features. This includes the following key attentions:

1. To brief and guide the contractor about the project's Green Mark requirement.

2. To ensure the contractor understands the Green Mark feature requirement and collect the required material, ready for final submission. 3. To ensure the contractor accept and budget for the proposed Green Mark features.

4. The contractor is required to participate and support the Green Mark final assessment.

5. The contractor should also clear on the testing and commissioning, Green Mark verification requirement by Green Mark, and collect relevant documents for submission and verification.

6. Green Mark Assessment phase 1

The Green Mark phase 1 assessment includes all credits except the energy simulation and CFD, Architect, M&E Engineers and contractors should be present during the assessment. Landscape architects, C&S engineer and QS may choose to join during their related credit assessment. The client is encouraged to attend the first part of assessment to support the team.

The consultant's best practice is to store all supporting documents in the folder named after each credit, this will save time during the assessment to easily retrieve the document requested by the assessor. JOS has created a folder structure for your easy start.

7. Green Mark Assessment phase 2

The Green Mark phase 2 assessment usually allocated for energy simulation for air conditioned building, or CFD natural ventilation simulation for naturally ventilated buildings. An assessor who is specialised in the simulation will run through the software setting, model detail and results with the specialist consultant.

8. Green Mark award

A Green Mark Goldplus or Platinum project must attend board presentation to BCA management, the panel makes the final decision for the award. Some suggestions for the board presentation:

1. To emphasise the meaning and impact of the Green Mark features.

2. To highlight the wow factors and DO NOT run through credit by credit.

3. The owner plays a key role in this presentation to show the strong commitment to implement the proposed Green Mark features.

4. Test bedding projects, innovative ideas are a good support to a Green Mark platinum project.

Once a project is accepted and approved, the consultant is required to fill up the Green Mark info template and cost benefit analysis. Once reviewed and approved by BCA assessor, the project owner will receive the letter of award.  The official plaque will be given during the annual Green Mark award night around May every year. 

9. Green Mark verification

The Green Mark certification includes two phases: stage 1 and stage 2. Stage 1 covers Green Mark credits verification, and stage 2 is the energy modelling verification. Project can find the verification flow here.

10. Operate a Green Mark Platinum building

The Green Mark process doesn't end with the award, in fact, the long journey starts from the Green Mark award when the building was recognised by public and authority that it was designed as a green building. One of the key challenges by the building owner is to maintain the energy saving target as the building will be operated dynamically. Companies like Qi Square are seen as the trendy digital tools to easily monitor and analyse the energy performance and carbon emission for a green building.

Besides energy - the biggest element in the green building, project should also monitor the water usage, thermal comfort, air quality and regular building maintenance. A good building maintenance protocol starts from design stage (design for maintainability), which project may also refer to the Maintainable Design Appraisal System (MiDAS) published by BCA.

Non-Affiliation Disclaimer: We declare no affiliation, sponsorship, nor any partnerships with Singapore Building Construction Authority (BCA) who issues Green Mark criteria and any relevant government agencies.

Special thanks to:

Dr Alex Lee, Tian, Tian Building Engineering (SG)

Mr. Nilesh Jadhav, Qi Square.

For more information, please contact: hi.joyofsustainability@gmail.com

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