Tuesday, 19 October 2021

UOB launches integrated energy financing platform

UOB has today 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 four markets, starting in Singapore, followed by 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.  

At launch, the U-Energy platform will have 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 .

Mr Frederick Chin, Head of Group Wholesale Banking and Markets, UOB, said, “UOB aims to simplify sustainability for our clients through our frameworks, solutions and ecosystem partnerships. U-Energy is another innovative sustainable financing solution that demonstrates our deep understanding of the sector and the pain points of building and homeowners. We are committed to supporting our clients through their sustainability journeys as we forge a sustainable future together.

“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 for building owners

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

$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.

Partnering to drive energy efficiency 

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. This reduces energy consumption by 47 per cent, which is equivalent to reducing more than 2,000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent (tCO2e) in greenhouse gas emissions. Such savings are also equivalent to growing some 30,000 new tree seedlings over 10 years or taking 395 cars off the road for a year.  The building was awarded the Singapore Green Mark Platinum Certificate by the Building and Construction Authority in 2021. 

Mr Loh Chee Shyong, Chairman of SGX Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST), said, “For the SGX building management team to realise this green project in this daunting period of COVID-19 has indeed been a tougher and greater achievement than in usual circumstances. With the great support from Comfort Management and UOB, the team was able to realise this project smoothly and fulfil our sustainability responsibility to the environment.”

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. 

 

Re-disseminated from The Asian Banker. 

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