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Singapore ushers in next-gen green buildings

Since the beginning of its journey in 2005, Singapore claims to have "greened" more than 3,400 buildings

BCA reports a growing acceptance that green buildings make economic sense
BCA reports a growing acceptance that green buildings make economic sense

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has announced a super low energy (SLE) programme to “push the envelope” of environmental sustainability in Singapore.


It includes a suite of initiatives such as the SLE buildings technology roadmap and the SLE challenge to encourage the adoption and design of cost-efficient SLE buildings. More than 10 developers have pledged their commitment to achieve the new green mark for SLE buildings and for each to achieve at least one SLE project in the next five years.


Green masterplans


Since the beginning of Singapore’s “green building journey” in 2005 with the introduction of BCA’s green mark and the three “green building masterplans”, BCA claims to have ‘greened’ more than 3,400 buildings, covering more than 100 million m2 of gross floor area. In Singapore, BCA retrofitted an existing building at the BCA Academy into a zero-energy building in 2009.


The BCA reports there has been growing acceptance that green buildings make economic sense from the building life cycle perspective. Commercial buildings continued to show commendable improvement at 14 per cent in energy performance since 2008.


According to BCA, this improvement from over 1,000 commercial buildings translates to about 1,000 GWh in energy savings per annum, which is equivalent to about S$200m savings in a year.


“We have come a long way in our environmental sustainability journey. To kick-start the next wave of our green building movement, BCA is working with the industry professionals to deliver cost-effective super low energy buildings which can achieve a minimum of 60 per cent energy efficiency improvement over the 2005 building codes, when the BCA green mark was first introduced,” said Hugh Lim, CEO, BCA.

“By setting such new performance benchmarks, Singapore can play an important role in mitigating climate change and doing our part as a responsible global citizen"

Beyond this, BCA said it is embarking on more rigorous research and innovation to further push the frontier for two green buildings to achieve up to 80 per cent energy efficiency improvement.


“By setting such new performance benchmarks, Singapore can play an important role in mitigating climate change and doing our part as a responsible global citizen.


"We hope more building owners and developers will join us as we work towards the common goal to shape a greener built environment that benefits Singaporeans,” continued Lim.


The SLE challenge


BCA is inviting industry and government agencies to take on the SLE challenge voluntarily.


For instance, the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) has worked with the Army to achieve a high standard of energy efficiency for building facilities in Kranji Camp and Seletar Camp1, while still meeting operational requirements.


For Kranji Camp building, DSTA adopted computational fluid dynamics to simulate wind flow and design the buildings for optimal natural ventilation. Solar light pipes are used to channel sunlight into the building interior, while sensors are introduced to automatically lower artificial lighting levels when there is sufficient sunlight, thus conserving energy.


Solar panels are installed on the roofs of both buildings to convert sunlight to electricity, generating sufficient energy to meet all their requirements.


The two Army buildings will reportedly save close to 540 MWh of electricity a year, which is equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of about 116 four room housing and development board flats.


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