After focusing on the public and private sector, we have finally come to the last ‘P’ which is the people sector. Amongst the three sectors, the people sector seems to have the least power and also financial capacity. Due to these limitations, we tend to overlook the fact that the people sector has the least impact in greening Singapore. However, if we take a step back, the people sector is actually as equally important as the public and private sector. The people are the one that will be the end users of the green buildings and green energy and hence it is essential that they are educated on green practices.
It is pointless if both the public and private sector have put in green measures but the people are not taught on the proper usage or are aware of the benefits of such practices. Moreover, being a resource constraint country, Singapore major resource is her human capital. Thus, it is crucial for the government and the private sector to tap into this pool of people to ensure that their efforts in greening Singapore reap the economies of scale that is supposed to.
As a result of the importance that the people sector has in ensuring the value chain is greened, many efforts are carried out by both public and private industry to make sure that the green message is spread to as many people as possible. This is also to ensure that Singapore has the relevant expertise and resources in being the leader in green buildings and green energy. The landscape of green building and green energy is relatively young, and there are still many things that are yet to be learnt or developed.
Nonetheless, despite all the effort being implemented to green Singapore through the greening of buildings and utilisation of green energy, the one that are using these features are the people. As such, it is of upmost importance that efforts are being made to target the people sector. One prime example of such effort will be the BCA Academy set up by the Building Construction Authority (BCA). The objective of the academy is to develop a green workforce and to equip them with the knowledge about of the best practices in green buildings and how they are in turn able to design and manage sustainable buildings (Green Building Master Plan, n.d.).
To share one of the student experience who went through the course at the academy is Ms Rita Soh, who is the Director of RDC Architects Pte Ltd said that ““The multi-disciplinary participation in this Master programme offered unique opportunities for collaborative efforts and peer learning, especially through the many group projects undertaken throughout the course. This learning environment reinforces the integrative and interactive approach to design and development and is very much a reflection of actual situations in our building industry,” (BCA n.d.).
Such efforts not only help the people understand the multifaceted issues green buildings and green energy has, but it also aids them in recognising how these features and how to go about managing them. Moreover, by educating people about such practices helps the nation to utilise the green features effectively and efficiently. Aside from that they also have a higher awareness about the importance of installing such features and how the green features play a part in cutting down the carbon footprint.
Educating the population on the benefits of green buildings and green energy also aids them in making a better decision. For instance, BCA has conducted more than ten green building roving exhibitions from 2009 to improve the public understanding regarding green building as well as green energy (BCA, n.d.). Through such initiatives, the BCA also improves consumers’ knowledge and intelligence regarding green buildings and help them in making improved decisions.
A report by Solidiance (2010), stated that 77% of the survey population interviewed, indicated that they consider owning a green home. Another question asked as to why green homes are attractive to Singapore home buyers stated that green buildings save money, protect the environment and is unique are top three reasons given to why green building amongst the people is increasing (Solidiance, 2010). Additionally, the top reason as to why green buildings are attractive is that it saves energy which is why 44% indicated that they are willing to pay a maximum premium of 5% for a green home (Solidiance, 2010). This clearly shows that educating the public, will surely help them in making better choices and greens the value chain. Being the end users of these green buildings and energy, it is essential to educate such that they can rational and informed decisions.
Besides educating the public through roving exhibitions, teaching the young generation about the sustainable environment is crucial. The younger generations are going to be the future leaders of Singapore and as such, the best time to educate them about green technology and designs will be during their school days. The young generations are like white canvases waiting to be painted in the way that we want them to be when they grow up. The Greenovate Challenge and Build It Green Club are some of the ways the BCA tries to engage students to jump onto the green bandwagon.
Getting the support of the people to green Singapore may be challenging at first as people are used to their lifestyle. There may be some resistance at the start however if tackled properly with the correct education methods we can change the public mindset. It is no easy feat to get their support but it is certainly and of utmost importance to get their support. They are the end user of the supply chain and if are not taught or informed about the benefits they can bring to the environment; they will certainly be reluctant to do so. Thus educating the public is an essential step and should start as early as possible. Weaving in green curriculum into the education curriculum is certainly one promising way to green Singapore.
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3rd Green Building Master Plan (3rd ed.). Singapore. Retrieved from https://www.bca.gov.sg/GreenMark/others/3rd_Green_Building_Masterplan.pdf
Singapore Green Buildings hub in Asia? www.solidiance.com (2010). Slideshare.net. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/dduhamel/solidiance-singapore-greenbuildingshubinasia
The Business Case for Green Building. (2013) (1st ed.). Retrieved from http://www.worldgbc.org/files/1513/6608/0674/Business_Case_For_Green_Building_Report_WEB_2013-04-11.pdf
Singapore: Leading the way for Green Buildings in the Tropics (1st ed.). Singapore. Retrieved from https://www.bca.gov.sg/greenmark/others/sg_green_buildings_tropics.pdf