Verifiably green – the Singapore Green Building Product labelling scheme
Learn more about the scope and requirements of the Singapore Green Building Product labelling scheme, TÜV SÜD’s latest offering in the area of green product certification.
The increasing importance of energy and resource conservation, as well as healthier environments, has resulted in a rise in green buildings, with industry players shifting towards implementing green building products in their projects.
The groundswell of companies claiming to have eco-friendly building products has made it difficult for building developers and owners to distinguish genuinely green items from mere ‘greenwash.’ This is why green product certification or ecolabelling from an independent, third-party organisation can be an important tool for suppliers and manufacturers to promote and differentiate their building products.
A number of highly reputable programmes exist to certify particular products as being beneficial to the environment. These certification programmes vary in terms of cost as well as the level of assurance they can provide. These include Green Seal in USA, Good Environmental Choice Australia, Environmental Choice in New Zealand, Ecolabel in Korea, and Green Label as well as Singapore Green Building Product labelling scheme in Singapore.
Even though these programmes are useful in providing guidance and assurance, there are differences between them that may be confusing. It is therefore important to understand each programme and what they represent.
Among the various green product certification programmes in the market, the SGBP labelling scheme is one of TÜV SÜD’s latest offering. Launched in 2014, the SGBP labelling scheme is a joint mark certification programme provided by TÜV SÜD and the Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC) aimed at promoting the development of environmentally sustainable buildings. To achieve this, this third-party broad-based labelling scheme has a multi-tier criteria assessment system with product life cycle consideration based on the ISO 14024 Type I Environmental Labelling Programme, while the certification framework complies with ISO/IEC 17065 (‘Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services’). ISO 14024 is a suitable basis for environmental labelling as it has been adopted as a benchmark by the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN), a non-profit association of 26 third-party environmental performance recognition, certification and labelling organisations.
The SGBP labelling scheme encompasses a vast range of building product types, including recycled materials, mechanical, façade and envelope, electrical, furniture and furnishings, renewable energy, interior systems, finishes and concrete and structural. Under the scheme, building products are assessed according to criteria such as energy efficiency, water efficiency, environmental protection and quality, material performance and other specific green features. After a robust and stringent certification process, products that meet the requirements will receive an achievement rating ranging from one to four ticks, which indicate a rating ranging from ‘Good’ to ‘Leader’. This rating level distinguishes the environmental and sustainability performance of the certified products, a testament of the product’s environmental commitment.
The SGBP labelling scheme complements the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Green Mark scheme by identifying and helping the industry select environmentally-preferred products and materials to achieve environmental sustainability for Singapore’s built environment. Under the BCA Green Mark Scheme, use of SGBP labelling scheme certified products can contribute to green mark points under energy efficient equipment, sustainable products and indoor air pollutants (low emitting paints/adhesives) criteria towards achieving Green Mark certification for the buildings. If the project is targeting higher awards such as Green Mark Gold plus or Green Mark platinum, it is a prerequisite to use the sustainable products which are certified by an approved local certification body, for example, SGBP labelling scheme certified products.
SGBP labelling scheme certified products can also help to achieve credits under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the most widely used green building rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Depending on the project location and materials used, the certified products count towards credits achieved under recycled content, regional material and low-emitting materials.