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BCA Singapore initiating Behavioural Change Pilot Programme to nudge building occupants towards sustainable behaviour

Above image: A view of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital which are participating in the pilot/ Credit: Joey FooCC BY-SA 4.0

The Building & Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore is collaborating with the Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC[1]) for a behavioural change programme to help companies reach out to their staff and occupants.

In Singapore, the building sector contributes more than 30% of the nation’s electricity consumption. BCA’s Building Energy Benchmarking Report showed that tenant and occupant activities within a building take up as much as 50 per cent of the total electricity consumption of a typical office or retail building. Hence, beyond focusing on the building infrastructure, user behaviour is key in maximising energy savings.

The BCA-SGBC Behavioural Change Pilot Programme aims to drive behavioural change in building occupants and end-users by getting them to consciously adopt sustainable behaviour and reduce the overall environmental impact.

The pilot programme will involve 10 organisations across 2 years in phases. Each phase would comprise about 2-5 organisations and span over 5-6 months.

Participating organisations would need to commit to the programme’s processes, timeline, as well as provide 3 campaign leaders. The organisations would also be obligated to share their experience and lessons learnt with others at relevant platforms. Organisations would also be recognised for their commitment and achievements through various platforms and publications.

Customised behavioural change campaigns would be developed for participating organisations, with a key objective of achieving energy savings. In addition, behavioural interventions under this programme will nudge people to make better environmental choices that are better for society as a whole. These choices go beyond the workplace boundaries and can be replicated at home.

This programme also targets interventions at organisations who are more environmentally conscious, keen and most likely to change their behaviour. As these campaigns would be scaled and rolled out across more premises, organisations with a larger portfolio of businesses comprising higher energy consuming premises would be prioritised to reap a greater impact.

Based on overseas experience, it is estimated that the behavioural change programme can lead to energy savings of about 2-3%. However, energy savings achieved could differ, depending on the size of the organisation and its current environmental sustainability journey.

This Programme will also build up capabilities of building and facility managers to provide them with the skills to run and sustain behavioural change campaigns and drive environmental sustainability measures within their organisations and premises.

In addition, with the knowledge acquired, these campaign leaders would be able to tailor campaigns to the organisation’s specific needs which could then be scaled up and applied where necessary. About 3 change managers per organisation would be trained under the Programme.

To raise awareness on the effectiveness of such behavioural change campaigns, case studies for the 10 participating organisations will be developed and published upon project completion.

BCA would then showcase the success of the campaigns at suitable platforms such as the annual Singapore Green Building Week (SGBW)/ International Green Building Conference (IGBC).

Through greater public outreach from the behavioural change campaigns successes and publicity, the public can be more aware and mindful of the effects of their actions. This would also help to further the green building agenda and create greater awareness and adoption of the various green building initiatives and sustainability efforts of Singapore.

In addition, workshops/ seminars will be conducted to create greater awareness and reach a greater spread of organisations. Through these workshops/ seminars, organisations would acquire better appreciation and knowledge to start on their own behavioural change campaigns.

The National University Health System (NUHS) is amongst the first few organisations that will be participating in the pilot programme. Hospitals are large facilities with round-the-clock operations, which means that they consume energy 24 hours a day. Institutions in the NUHS group, in particular, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital, which are housed within a BCA Green Mark Platinum development, have been driving environmental sustainability within their organisations.

Mr Ng Kian Swan, Chief Operating Officer, Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital said: “We are proud to be part of this BCA pilot programme so that we can do our part to implement practical measures to bring about this positive behavioural change. We do not need a big movement to get our colleagues to go green and be environmentally friendly. We just need to have the passion and conviction to champion the cause. JurongHealth Campus has set up a Green Committee to coordinate and drive hospital-wide energy and water conservation efforts. Recently, we kicked off our inaugural Green Day to create awareness on how everyone can do their part to save the environment just by making 4 small changes in their everyday routine. We will continue to draw ideas from this pilot programme to encourage our staff and public to go green.”

Commenting on the importance of engaging SMEs and building users, BCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Hugh Lim said: “We are aware that some SMEs hesitate when considering whether to embark on their green journey. This is why we are increasing our support for them through enhanced funding and measures to encourage them to take that important first step in greening their buildings and premises. We are also heartened that a larger organisation like the National University Health System is making a conscious effort to engage its staff on green practices and cultivate them to be champions of change in the workplace. We hope more organisations will follow suit to harness the potential and rewards of green buildings.”

Recently, BCA announced the phased rollout of new initiatives based on the review of its 3rd Green Building Masterplan for enhancing the indoor environment quality for occupants, encouraging high energy efficient buildings and greening existing buildings and spaces. Announcements included piloting new criteria for Green Mark for Existing Non-Residential Buildings, exploration of a new Green Mark Scheme in collaboration with HPB and enabling greater transparency of building energy data.

[1]SGBC is a non-profit formed in 2009 to forge public-private partnerships to foster innovative industry solutions across the entire building and construction value chain.

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