UOB has launched U-Energy, the first integrated financing platform in Asia, to drive the development and adoption of energy efficiency projects for buildings and homes across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. With U-Energy, the bank will help businesses and homeowners save on electricity bills, cut carbon emissions and achieve their sustainability goals.
Globally, buildings and construction projects account for 38 per cent of carbon emissions, according to the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction. In Singapore, this will be a key area to tackle in order to meet the country’s target of reducing carbon emissions by 36 per cent from the 2005 levels by 2030.
While building owners and homeowners are keen to take on energy efficiency projects to reduce energy consumption, they often lack financing support and the expertise to find the right energy service companies. UOB has developed U-Energy to address this gap in the market.
The U-Energy platform has nine energy service companies that customers can tap for energy efficiency projects. These U-Energy partners can support common energy efficiency projects such as improving chiller and air conditioning efficiency, installing solar panels on rooftops, switching to LED lights, optimising energy and power management systems and changing the building façade to reflect direct sunlight to reduce heat absorption, as well as replacing elevators with energy-regeneration technology.
Energy service companies play a key role in the ecosystem by providing technology and services such as project consultation, sustainable and cost-efficient design energy audit, as well as end-to-end implementation and management of the retrofits to buildings. On average, the energy service companies on the U-Energy platform will help customers cut at least 20 per cent in energy consumption.
UOB head of group wholesale banking and markets, Frederick Chin said the bank aimed to simplify sustainability for its clients through our frameworks, solutions and ecosystem partnerships. U-Energy is another innovative sustainable financing solution that demonstrates UOB’s deep understanding of the sector and the pain points of building and homeowners.
“By creating an end-to-end solution, we act as a catalyst and an enabler to help our clients save energy costs and to reduce their carbon footprint. This one-stop solution is part of our Smart City Sustainable Finance Framework, which guides our financing efforts to encourage the development of smart and sustainable cities across the region through a streamlined and transparent process.”
Flexible financing options
Commercial and industrial building owners can opt for a direct purchase of the energy-efficient equipment or system with UOB’s green financing. Under this scheme, building owners may obtain a loan of up to S$10 million with a maximum seven-year loan facility, subject to optimal equipment and system sizing by the U-Energy partners. To enable greater speed to market, loan applications of building owners who are existing UOB customers will be put on a fast-track approval process. Alternatively, building owners can take up the “energy-as-a-service” model where UOB will provide green loans to the U-Energy partners at no upfront cost to building owners.
For homeowners, UOB offers a zero per cent interest instalment plan of up to three years when UOB credit cards are used as the mode of payment for their energy efficiency retrofitting projects.
UOB has supported an energy efficiency retrofitting project at SGX Centre through providing a green loan to Comfort Management, a U-Energy partner. The project, which includes the installation of a new intelligent energy management system, has improved the efficiency of the building’s chiller plant and reduced energy consumption by 47 per cent, equivalent to reducing more than 2,000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent (tCO2e) in greenhouse gas emissions.
U-Energy is part of the UOB’s suite of Sustainable Financing solutions under the bank’s Smart City Sustainable Finance Framework. UOB has also launched U-Solar, Asia’s first integrated financing platform for solar energy, and U-Drive, an integrated value chain solution for the electric vehicle ecosystem, under the same framework.
The bank’s three other sustainable financing frameworks are the Green Trade Finance Framework, Real Estate Sustainable Finance Framework and Green Circular Economy Framework. Aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the bank’s sustainable financing frameworks enable companies to apply for green or sustainability-linked banking products without having to develop their own financing framework.