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The second week of the month-long Digital International Built Environment Week (IBEW) 2020 continued to build on the momentum of the first, sharing the latest innovations and thought leadership from across the industry.

Highlights of the week included the third and final session of The Built Environment Accelerate to Market Programme (BEAMP). Online audiences were also kept engaged by two sessions focusing on sustainability, viewed through the lens of a world grappling with a pandemic and the impending disruptions of climate change.

BEAMP Demo Day

A joint initiative by Building Construction Authority (BCA), Enterprise Singapore and JTC Corporation, BEAMP Demo Day was set up to connect innovators and companies to accelerate real-world enterprise solutions. This week saw the remaining eight projects give compelling presentations on their technologies, spanning concepts from cleaning drones to IoT wearables.

In line with this week’s theme of sustainability, Qi Square proposed its virtual energy audit solution for green buildings, which enables stakeholders to perform remote, low-cost energy assessments.

Redefining Sustainability in the Post-Pandemic Era 

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed sustainability to the forefront as organisations confront new existential realities brought on by the public health crisis.

The session on 8 September 2020 brought together moderator Ms Joelle Chan, Programme Director, Beca Asia, Mr Ang Kian Seng, Group Director/Environmental Sustainability, BCA, Ms Lynette Leong, Chief Sustainability Officer, CapitaLand Group and Mr Eric Soh, Chief Executive Officer, Samwoh Corporation as they shared their organisations’ sustainability journeys and strategies moving forward.

Mr Ang Kian Seng led the session by sharing BCA’s green building journey since 2005. The Singapore Green Building Masterplan aims to reduce energy demand through higher building performance standards, capture opportunities in the sector and create deep conversations for collective action in order to make targets such as Super Low Energy Buildings and Net Zero Energy Buildings mainstream. He shared that at the current halfway mark, BCA was on track to reach its target of 80% Green Floor Area by 2030.

Ms Lynette Leong followed with a sharing of CapitaLand’s sustainability journey, highlighting efforts such as grey-water recycling at JCube’s ice rink. Citing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investment factors, Ms Leong stated how tying sustainability to economic values could be a competitive advantage when used as a business case to reduce bank interest rates.

Providing a civil engineering perspective, Mr Eric Soh shared Samwoh’s green innovations such as the Samwoh Smart Hub, Singapore’s first energy positive building, alternative building materials such as Recycled Concrete Aggregate (RCA) and processed plastic waste for asphalt roads. His strategies ahead included a focus on workforce renewal, stronger ESG practices and accelerated digitalisation.

The panel agreed that sustainability was a long-term goal and organisations should stay focused despite the current challenges. The moderator summed up the session with 3 ‘P’s for the built environment sector – Perseverance, Pivot and Possibilities.

New Opportunities for Accelerating Climate Action and Sustainability 

10 September’s session gathered an international panel of experts including Ms Cristina Gamboa, CEO, World Green Building Council, Ms Esther An, Chief Sustainability Officer, City Developments Limited, Engineer Lee Chuan Seng, Chairman of the National Environment Agency and Emeritus Chairman of Beca Asia and Dr Thomas Schroepfer, Professor/Architecture and Sustainable Design, Singapore University of Technology and Design.

During the session, they shared how the COVID-19 pandemic has been a stress test for businesses in the fight against climate change and clues on how to advance have emerged.

Ms Cristina Gamboa called for collective action, either through collaborative government structures, bolder regulation or innovative partnerships to accelerate the green transformation.  She remarked, “The pandemic has shown that there are opportunities for transformation. We can act and society can mobilise quickly if we understand that the climate emergency is also putting our health at stake.”

Ms Esther An shared City Development’s sustainability blueprint of integration, innovation, investment and impact, with solutions such as mixed land use integrating living, working and playing environments as the way forward. With climate change here to stay, she advocated a business model that involved protecting the people, the planet and prosperity.

Using Singapore’s Semakau landfill as a case study, Engineer Lee Chuan Seng discussed zero waste and a circular economy as potential pathways. He outlined how the landfill could be transformed into a transit storage facility, with all waste given a new lease of life. For example, incinerator bottom ash can be retreated as NEWSand and used for constructing benches, footpaths and plaza floors.

Despite the challenges, the panel members remained optimistic about the future, so long as organisations act now and collaborate to bring about transformative change within the next 10 years.

International Built Environment Week 2020: Emerging Stronger through Innovation

From digitalisation and sustainability to advanced construction and smart facilities management, be a part of the global discussion on the built environment’s trends and industry updates today. Sign up for IBEW online now – registration is free.