The Green Mark Certification Scheme explained

July 4, 2023

As the world becomes more aware of the environmental impact of our actions, many countries are promoting sustainable building and operating practices to reduce the impact of properties on the environment. In Singapore, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) developed the Green Mark Certification Scheme, a green building rating system to encourage sustainability and reduce the environmental impact of buildings. In this article, we will answer some of the most common questions about the Green Mark Certification Scheme.

What is the Green Mark Certification Scheme?

The Green Mark Certification Scheme is a green building rating system developed by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) in Singapore, first launched in January 2005. The scheme evaluates buildings based on their environmental performance and awards them with a certification level ranging from Green Mark Certified to Green Mark Platinum. The system evaluates buildings based on criteria such as energy efficiency, water efficiency, environmental protection, indoor environmental quality, and other green features. Also of note is Green Mark's highly targeted focus towards the area's unique tropical climate.

As a government initiative, it support Singapore's wider strategic focus on sustainability, with national commitments captured within Singapore's Green Building Master Plan.

What is the Singapore Green Building Masterplan?

Singapore’s first Green Building Masterplan was launched in 2006 to encourage developers to embed sustainability as part of a building’s lifecycle from inception. Since its launch, the BCA has been refreshing the masterplan to expand its reach to target the greening of the wider stock of existing buildings, and encourage building occupants to change their energy consumption behaviour.

The fourth edition of the Green Building Masterplan, titled “Build Our Green Future Together”, was announced in March 2021, and aims to deliver 3 outcomes under the “80-80-80 by 2030 principle”:

  • Green 80 percent of buildings by Gross Floor Area by 2030
  • 80 percent of new buildings to be Super Low Energy buildings from 2030
  • 80 percent improvement in energy efficiency compared to 2005 levels by 2030

What are the benefits of the Green Mark Certification Scheme?

  1. Lower operating costs: Green buildings consume less energy and water, resulting in lower operating costs for building owners.
  2. Improved indoor air quality: Green buildings often feature enhanced ventilation and air filtration systems, leading to better indoor air quality and a healthier environment for occupants.
  3. Reduced environmental impact: The scheme encourages sustainable building practices and helps to reduce the environmental impact of construction and operation of buildings.
  4. Enhanced building value: Green buildings are in high demand, and certification can increase the value of a property.

How do you get certified under the Green Mark Certification Scheme?

To get certified under the Green Mark Certification Scheme, building owners or developers must submit an application to the BCA. The application must include documentation of the building's design and construction features and performance data related to energy consumption, water consumption, and other environmental criteria. The BCA then conducts an evaluation of the building's performance, and if it meets the required standards, it is awarded a certification level.

Who can apply for Green Mark certification?

Developers, building owners and government agencies for new and existing buildings, districts, parks, infrastructure and building interiors can receive a Green Mark certification for their project.

What is a step-by-step process?

Here is an outline of the steps to follow in order to get certified under the Green Mark Scheme:

  1. Prepare for the application by gathering all relevant supporting documents. Find which documents are required for each project type on the BCA’s website.
  1. Submit your Green Mark application online using the BCA’s online portal.
  1. Work with the BCA during the assessment process, where they review and verify the relevant reports and documentary evidence to ensure that the building project meets the criteria for the certification level.
  1. If your project meets all the criteria, a letter of award will be issued and the BCA will conduct site verification and issue your Green Mark certification.

What are the levels of certification in the Green Mark Certification Scheme?

  1. Green Mark Certified: This level requires compliance with basic environmental requirements.
  2. Green Mark Gold: This level requires compliance with more advanced environmental requirements and is considered a significant achievement.
  3. Green Mark Platinum: This level is awarded to buildings that achieve the highest level of environmental performance and is considered a significant achievement.

Are there any fees for obtaining a Green Mark rating?

Green Mark assessment fees are dependent on the type and size of the project applying for certification. For a comprehensive view of the different fees, visit the BCA’s website.

How can you improve your Green Mark Certification Scheme rating?

Building owners can improve their Green Mark Certification Scheme rating by implementing sustainable building practices such as:

  1. Energy-efficient design: Incorporating energy-efficient features such as lighting, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems can significantly reduce energy consumption.
  2. Water-efficient design: Implementing water-efficient features such as low-flow fixtures and rainwater harvesting systems can significantly reduce water consumption.
  3. Use of environmentally friendly materials: Using sustainable materials such as low-emission paints and recycled materials can help reduce the environmental impact of construction.
  4. Enhanced indoor air quality: Incorporating enhanced ventilation systems and air filtration can significantly improve indoor air quality.

How can building analytics help improve a commercial building’s Green Mark Certification?

Building analytics can help improve a commercial building's Green Mark Certification by providing insights into the building's energy consumption and identifying areas for improvement. In fact, one of the three strategic thrusts contained within Singapore's Green Building Master Plan is 'harnessing emerging advanced low-carbon technologies'. Building analytics software can collect and analyze data from various building systems, including HVAC, lighting, and energy meters, to identify patterns and anomalies in energy consumption.

By using building analytics, building owners and operators can pinpoint areas of inefficiency and waste and implement strategies to reduce energy consumption and improve overall building performance. For example, analytics may reveal that a building's HVAC system is consuming more energy than necessary, and adjustments can be made to optimize its performance.

Furthermore, building analytics can provide real-time insights into a building's energy performance, allowing building operators to monitor performance and adjust systems as needed. This can help ensure that the building continues to meet the required Green Mark Certification standards over time.

How many buildings are certified under the Green Mark Certification Scheme?

As of August 2021, more than 4,500 buildings in Singapore have been certified under the Green Mark Certification Scheme, covering a total gross floor area of over 146 million square meters. This number includes both new and existing buildings. As of the end 2022, close to 55% of Singapore's buildings have been 'greened'. By 2030, Singapore targets to 'green' 80% of local buildings.

What are the differences between LEED and Green Mark Certification?

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification and Green Mark certification are two renowned green building certification schemes, but they have distinct origins, geographic focuses, and evaluation criteria. 

Originating in the United States, LEED has achieved global recognition, while Green Mark is a certification scheme developed by Singapore's Building and Construction Authority (BCA), specifically targeting sustainable building practices within Singapore. 

When it comes to the assessment methods, LEED assesses sustainability performance using a credit-based system across various categories, whereas Green Mark evaluates environmental impact and performance based on specific benchmarks. LEED offers certification levels ranging from Certified to Platinum, while Green Mark offers Certified, Gold, GoldPLUS, and Platinum. 

Additionally, LEED has regional adaptations to accommodate different countries and regions, whereas Green Mark is tailored to Singapore's unique context. 

While both certifications carry market recognition, with LEED's global reach and Green Mark's strong reputation in Singapore's construction sector, commercial property owners should consider their location and specific priorities when selecting between the two.

For more information on LEED ratings, check out our blog: “The LEED Rating System Explained

In what countries is the Green Mark Certification Scheme used?

The Green Mark Certification Scheme is primarily used in Singapore, but the BCA has also collaborated with other countries to promote sustainable building practices. These countries include Malaysia, China, Indonesia, and Mauritius.

For more information, head to ​​Green Mark Certification Scheme

Here at CIM, we're actively helping the world's built environment to achieve net zero emissions and accelerate progress toward ambitious targets. Learn how we can help improve your Green Mark rating by watching a demo session of our innovation PEAK Platform here.

CIM Team
July 4, 2023