BCA Drives the Next Generation of Green Buildings - The Super Low Energy Buildings

More than 10 developers to pledge their commitment to achieve the new Green Mark for Super Low Energy buildings

by Building and Construction Authority     12/5/2018 4:38:27 PM

5 September 2018, Singapore – The Building and Construction Authority has launched the 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. These were announced by Guest-of-Honour, Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance, at the opening of the Singapore Green Building Week (SGBW) 2018.

2. Since the beginning of Singapore’s green building journey in 2005 with the introduction of BCA Green Mark and the three Green Building Masterplans, we have ‘greened’ more than 3,400 buildings, covering more than 100 million m2 of gross floor area. There has been growing acceptance that green buildings make economic sense from the building life cycle perspective. The strong business case for green buildings is clearly demonstrated in BCA’s latest Building Energy Benchmarking Report 2018 (refer to Annex A). Commercial buildings continued to show commendable improvement at 14% in energy performance since 2008. 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$200 million savings in a year. 

3. Over the years, with the advancement of technologies and the industry professionals becoming more competent in green building design, we are better positioned to spearhead the next lap in Singapore’s green building movement to push for more energy-efficient solutions in a cost-effective manner. Globally, there is growing support for the movement towards zero energy buildings. In Singapore, BCA retrofitted an existing building at the BCA Academy into a zero energy building in 2009. 

4. Mr Hugh Lim, BCA CEO, said: “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% energy efficiency improvement over the 2005 building codes, when the BCA Green Mark was first introduced. Beyond this, we are embarking on more rigorous research and innovation to further push the frontier for green buildings to achieve up to 80% 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.” 

SLE Programme: creating a SLE ecosystem 

5. The SLE Programme is aimed at making SLE buildings (refer to Annex B) the next generation of green buildings. It consists of two key aspects: 1) SLE Challenge to invite progressive developers to take the lead in developing SLE buildings through good designs and cost-effective technologies. To recognise these SLE projects, BCA has introduced the new Green Mark for SLE. 2) SLE Buildings Technology Roadmap to develop cost-effective solutions to push the limits of energy-efficiency 

SLE Challenge 

6. BCA is inviting industry and government agencies to take on the SLE Challenge voluntarily. So far, more than 10 developers and building owners have pledged their commitment to achieve at least one SLE project in the next five years. 

7. 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 save close to 540 MWh of electricity a year – which is equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of about 116 4-room HDB flats. DSTA also introduced the use of Mass Engineered Timber, a sustainable material which also serves as a carbon sink, for the Kranji building, which is a first for SAF facilities. 

8. To recognise exemplary building owners and developers, BCA introduced the new BCA Green Mark for SLE (GM SLE) (refer to Annex C). This voluntary certification framework for SLE buildings, adds on to the BCA Green Mark (GM) scheme, to support the net zero energy aspiration in the tropical and sub-tropical region. GM for SLE will provide recognition for best-in-class energy efficient buildings in addition to their Green Mark ratings. For example, a building that achieves GM Platinum and GM SLE would be awarded Green Mark Platinum (Super Low Energy). It encourages building owners to push the boundaries in terms of passive and active strategies, smart energy management, and use of renewable energy to achieve best-in-class building energy performance. Public and private developers have agreed to strive for the GM SLE in close to 20 projects. 

SLE Buildings Technology Roadmap 

9. BCA is also launching the SLE Buildings Technology Roadmap to help achieve the ambitious target of up to 80% energy efficiency improvement over 2005 levels (refer to Annex D). Jointly developed in partnership with industry and academia, the Roadmap outlines the broad strategies to help the industry design and develop cost-effective SLE buildings. 

10. An SLE building with 60% energy efficiency improvement is technically feasible with best-in-class technologies today, but more research, development and demonstration (RD&D) is needed to push the boundaries to 80% energy efficiency improvement, and to do so in a cost effective way. Keppel Land is one such developer who has committed to pilot various emerging technologies at its BCA Green Mark Platinum certified development, Keppel Bay Tower, with a view to replicate the implementation of these technologies to rejuvenate its other commercial buildings. In 2017, BCA and Keppel Land launched a Joint Challenge Call for test-bedding of SLE technologies at Keppel Bay Tower. This project is supported by an innovation fund of $1.28 mil from BCA’s Green Buildings Innovation Cluster (GBIC) programme. Keppel Land will be demonstrating five technologies within Keppel Bay Tower, namely:

a) Smart lighting system 

The smart lighting system utilises occupancy sensors which will allow seamless transition in lighting levels according to building occupancy. The fully-autonomous system will be implemented in seven levels of the building. 

b) Air conditioning based on indoor activity analytics 

Integrated sensors are used to capture occupants’ activities and comfort levels based on which an analytical model will be derived to predict and optimise airconditioning operation to improve energy efficiency. 

c) Intelligent building control system 

The smart building management system, which will be implemented throughout the entire building, uses a simulation model together with available building data for energy optimisation, predictive maintenance and fault detection. This technology employs a high precision physics-based simulation engine that utilises high computing capability, coupled with machine learning and artificial intelligence ability, to improve data analytics and control. This will reduce the downtime and resources required for Keppel Land to maintain and operate the development. 

d) High efficiency air distribution system 

This air handling unit fan, which is about 25% more energy efficient than best-inclass technology, is expected to run at a lower noise level, resulting in better indoor environment quality for building occupants. e) Cooling tower water management system This system, which will be implemented throughout the entire building, incorporates a patented solution which dissolves existing scales (build-up of solids/sediment) and prevents further scale formation. It also removes dissolved oxygen, creating an alkaline environment for better corrosion control. The system will also automatically disinfect water to prevent algae and bacteria, thereby eliminating the need for chemical treatment. The amount of blow-down water (water that is drained to remove mineral build-up) discharged is hence substantially reduced, resulting in significant water savings. 

Please click this link to download the full media release, including the annexes.