Greening Singapore’s industrial real estate

Singapore’s ESG journey is yielding a new generation of green and sustainable industrial spaces.

June 04, 2021

The Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Mark certification scheme, which started in 2005, has been imperative in spearheading Singapore’s green building quest. Since then, many industrial buildings have incorporated green features such as energy-efficient LED lighting, efficient air-conditioning systems and solar panels, catering to the growing investment demand for sustainable buildings.

From green buildings to sustainable industrial estates

Beyond individual buildings, innovative solutions in the creation of new industrial estates on greenfield sites or in the rejuvenation of ageing industrial areas also provided many opportunities to transform Singapore’s industrial estates into green and sustainable districts.

For instance, innovation in environmental sustainability was a key design element for the Biopolis precinct in one-north, and the first phase clinched BCA’s Green Mark Gold award in 2005.

Figure 1: Biopolis Phase 1 @ one-north


Key Green Features

BCA Green Mark Gold 2005

  • Use of district cooling system to provide centralised air-conditioning for the seven buildings within Biopolis
  • Nature conservation through tree transplanting and extensive use of landscape greenery in the development
  • Use of building-integrated photovoltaics and solar water heating system
  • Use of pneumatic waste conveyance system
  • Test-bedding of environment-friendly features such as waterless urinals

Source: BCA, JLL Research

The master plan for Singapore’s first eco-business park—the 50-hectare CleanTech Park (CTP), announced in 2010, emphasised retaining the natural environment and biodiversity of the area.

CTP eventually became the first development to clinch BCA’s Platinum Green Mark for Districts award in 2012 for its energy-efficient infrastructure and public amenities. It could potentially save more than 40% of energy consumption and 25% of potable water usage, leading to about 40% cost savings in utilities annually.[1]

A new generation of green and sustainable industrial estates

Singapore’s next-generation industrial estates will be developed as part of a larger sustainable live-work-learn-play district.

One example is the upcoming 50-hectare Punggol Digital District (PDD) – Singapore’s smart and sustainable business district – which incorporates a business park, the Singapore Institute of Technology’s new campus and community amenities.

PDD will be car-lite with fully electric autonomous buses, cycling paths and connected pathways for eco-friendly commuting. Its unique Open Digital Platform will integrate and centralise the data collection of PDD’s various systems to be used by public agencies, companies and students to test green technologies and sustainable urban solutions. The district’s smart energy grid allows real-time monitoring of power consumption. The aim is to reduce carbon emissions, attain 30% more energy efficiency in buildings and cut waste by recycling food waste, wastewater, and rainwater.

Figure 2: Punggol Digital District’s Smart Sustainable Solutions

Key Features

Brief Description

Open Digital Platform

Integrates and centralises the data collection of PDD’s various systems, including:

  • Facilities, building and estate management systems
  • A district cooling system
  • A district-wide pneumatic waste conveyance system
  • Autonomous goods delivery systems
  • Access and security systems
  • Car parking system
  • Traffic lights system
  • Autonomous vehicles in the district

Smart Energy Grid

Manages power consumption of the whole estate in real-time, so everyone can optimise usage while minimising wastage.

Source: JTC, JLL Research

Sustainability is also a key feature of the proposed 500-hectare Sungei Kadut Eco-District (SKED), targeting growth industries such as agri-tech and environmental technology. Designed as a car-lite district with community amenities, SKED will also house Singapore’s first multi-storey recycling facility—Kranji Green, to support the growth of environmental technologies and contribute towards Singapore’s zero waste commitments. There is also potential to create sustainable circular economies within SKED through the clustering of synergistic industries.[2]

More greenery can be expected for existing estates, following the government’s commitment to triple the number of trees in industrial areas in the next ten years, a part of City in Nature initiatives under the government’s Singapore Green Plan 2030.

A new era of green and sustainable industrial spaces beckons.

[1] Source: BCA and JTC’s joint press release, “JTC’s CleanTech Park - First Development to Clinch BCA’s Platinum Green Mark for Districts Award”, 28 November 2012.

[2] Source: JTC’s press release, “Sungei Kadut Eco-District to Attract New Industries and Develop New Capabilities”, 6 February 2020.