We are committed to protecting the environment for the well-being of our people, customers and the wider community for the long term. Our approach is to reduce the environmental footprint of our operations across the Group, focusing on energy efficiency, waste management and resource conservation at our office buildings and branches.
- Received the Green Mark GoldPlus Award for Existing Non-residential Buildings from the Building and Construction Authority Singapore, for UOB Plaza 2 in recognition of our energy-saving measures; and
- Recycled more than 12,000 kilogrammes (kg) of decommissioned office equipment in Singapore, more than double the amount in 2015.
Operations at our office buildings and branches contribute the most to UOB’s direct environmental impact. Besides promoting energy efficiency, we are also committed to conserving resources, including water and paper, and managing waste effectively.
In 2016, UOB Plaza 2 in Singapore achieved the Green Mark GoldPlus Award for Existing Non-residential Buildings from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) in recognition of our sustainability measures. These include the use of energy-efficient lighting, and carbon dioxide sensors and air filters at air handling units to regulate air quality. The annual energy consumption at UOB Plaza 2 has since been reduced by 30.7 per cent, which amounts to more than 2 million kilowatt-hours (kWh). This translates to annual savings of $427,000.
UOB Plaza 2 is the third UOB building in Singapore, following UOB Plaza 1 (2013) and UOB Tower Block at Alexandra Road (2014), to receive the Green Mark award after its retrofit to consume less energy.
Green Podium Roof
After the retrofit of the 66-storey UOB Plaza 1, one of the tallest buildings in Singapore, energy consumption decreased by 23 per cent, equivalent to 5.3 million kWh a year. This translates to annual savings of $1.3 million. UOB Plaza 1 also won the 2015 ASEAN Energy Award in the Retrofitted Buildings category presented by the ASEAN Centre for Energy, an independent inter-governmental organisation that represents the 10 ASEAN member states’ interests in the energy sector.
We have also reduced energy consumption by 24 per cent at our Alexandra Road building. This is equivalent to 1 million kWh a year and annual savings of $243,000.
In Thailand, we have implemented energy-saving measures, including the switch to LED lighting, at our Sathon office building in Bangkok. This initiative, which started in 2015, has enabled us to lower our energy consumption and in turn, the related expenditure by 15.1 per cent or more than $140,000, annually.
We also monitor the carbon dioxide gas emissions from our purchased electricity (Scope 2 emissions), and are using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol guidelines for the purpose of measuring and reporting. We also apply the respective grid emission factors in our key markets in the calculation of our overall carbon footprint.
We continue to find ways to be more energy-efficient in our operations, including those at our data centres which account for about one-third of our energy consumption.
Green Podium Roof
The green podium rooftop between UOB Plaza 1 and 2 reduces the heat island effect, which occurs when urban areas experience an increase in temperature due to sunlight on concrete. It also reduces the heat transmitted through the podium roof to the office space below. In addition, the glass roof panels allow natural light to illuminate the atrium at the ground level, reducing the need for lighting.
The podium roof also has a rainwater catchment area. The harvested rainwater is used for irrigation and reduces our reliance on fresh water.
We have created a 4,962 square metre green patch with various species of plants in the surrounding vicinity of UOB Plaza, adding to the greenery of our working environment.
Green Parking and Bicycle Bay
The basement carpark of UOB Plaza has allocated a priority Green Lot for hybrid or electric cars to encourage the use of such vehicles and in turn, to reduce carbon emission levels. We have also created sheltered bicycle parking lots, as well as shower and changing room facilities for cyclists, to promote the use of bicycles in place of cars.
UOB Plaza, located conveniently above the Raffles Place Mass Rapid Transit Station, is easily accessible by public transport. UOB Plaza 1 and 2 are also well-connected by sheltered and underground walkways to the surrounding buildings and nearby bus-stops.
UOB Plaza’s energy-efficient features extend to the use of products that have lower environmental impact. These include paint with low volatile organic compounds and certified Singapore Green Label Products such as toilet tissue rolls.
Green Cover (left), Green Podium Roof (centre), Green Parking (right)
We have installed water-efficient fittings in our three main office buildings in Singapore to optimise water use. All the three buildings have received the Water Efficiency Building Award from the Singapore Public Utilities Board in recognition of our commitment to save water. Our water efficiency improvement plan also includes initiatives such as private meters to monitor water usage.
Paper and Equipment
Our recyclable waste includes mainly paper and used or decommissioned technology equipment. In encouraging our employees to use paper judiciously, we have started monitoring paper use across our network to minimise consumption and to encourage recycling. In 2016, we recycled 490 tonnes of paper. We also recycled 12,032 kg of decommissioned office equipment in Singapore through a licensed waste management contractor. This is more than double the amount that was recycled in 2015 (5,303 kg).
We are planning to expand the waste management programme to our offices in other countries in 2017.
We organise a variety of programmes to increase awareness among our employees and office building tenants on protecting the environment and the effects of climate change. These programmes include exhibitions and complimentary distribution of potted plants to our employees and tenants. In Singapore, we also hold regular meetings with tenants at UOB Plaza to encourage them to obtain the BCA Green Mark’s Office Interior certification.
Annually at UOB Plaza 1 and 2, we also participated in the global Earth Hour campaign, which was initiated by the World Wildlife Fund in 2007, by turning off the lights for one hour to raise awareness about climate change.