OCBC works with BCA to offer green loans to SMEs in property sector

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OCBC Bank is working with the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA) to make it easier for building owners, developers and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) in the property sector to access green loans, the bank said in a press release on its website Tuesday.

The BCA, a Singapore government agency which oversees the safety, quality and sustainability of buildings, has created a Building Energy Efficiency Assessment (BEEA) tool to project the energy performance of buildings; projects assessed to be able to reach energy efficiency comparable to the BCA Green Mark 2021 Gold Plus certification standard will be eligible for a green loan from OCBC Bank, the statement said.

OCBC Bank has extended its first BEEA-enabled green loan of S$148 million to Fairview Development, a unit of unlisted developer Tong Eng Group, the statement said. The loan proceeds will be used for the upcoming residential project Belgravia Ace, OCBC said.

Green features to be incorporated into Belgravia Ace — which will allow it to reach energy efficiency standards equivalent to the BCA Green Mark 2021 Gold Plus certification — include optimising the window-to-wall ratio and using low-emission glazing to reduce sun exposure and facilitate better ventilation while minimising heat gain to the building. Other features include water efficiency fittings and higher energy efficiency ratings for air conditioning systems and home appliances, the statement said.

The statement added that electric vehicle charging points will be installed in the development, and the construction would use eco-friendly cement and low volatile organic compounds (VOC) paints, adhesives and sealants.

“The new online BEEA tool makes it simpler and more convenient to predict and improve the energy performance of property projects, providing assessments within minutes,” OCBC said. “This contrasts with the existing process for green loans which requires the green building certifications to be obtained, a process which could take several weeks using consultant services depending on the scale and complexity of the project.”

Simplifying access to green loans means property developers and others in the value chain can get support to shift toward green developments and construction, OCBC said, noting buildings account for more than 20 percent of Singapore’s carbon emissions.

Ang Kian Seng, group director of environmental sustainability group at BCA, said it was encouraged by OCBC’s uptake of the BEEA tool.

“This collaboration with OCBC will assist developers to design more energy efficient buildings and is a step towards a low carbon Singapore. We look forward to seeing super low energy buildings being the mainstream, in line with our Singapore Green Building Masterplan ambitions,” Ang said in the statement.

The online assessment requires information about air conditioning and mechanical ventilation systems and lighting as well as other data points, the statement said.