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BCA Announces Push Toward Super Low Energy Buildings

The new voluntary ‘Green Mark for Super Low Energy’ certification framework encourages energy-efficiency improvement for new and existing non-residential buildings.

BCA Announces Push Toward Super Low Energy Buildings

Characteristics of a SLE building. Image courtesy of the BCA

This week Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) announced its Super Low Energy Programme – what it is referring to as “the next lap in Singapore’s green building movement”. The initial target is a 60-per-cent energy-efficiency improvement over the 2005 building codes, when the BCA Green Mark rating was introduced. This is technically feasible with best-in-class technologies today, says the BCA. But the longer-term goal (requiring further technological advancements and R&D) is an 80-per-cent 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,” says Hugh Lim, CEO of the BCA. He continues, “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.”

The Super Low Energy (SLE) Programme includes a suite of initiatives such as the ‘SLE Challenge’ and the ‘SLE Buildings Technology Roadmap’ to encourage the adoption and design of cost-efficient SLE buildings. These were announced by Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance, at the opening of the Singapore Green Building Week 2018.

The ‘SLE Challenge’ invites developers to take the lead in developing super low energy buildings through good designs and cost-effective technologies. To recognise such super low energy projects, the BCA has introduced a new voluntary ‘Green Mark for SLE’ (GM SLE) certification framework. The BCA reports that more than ten developers have pledged their commitment to achieving the new GM SLE in at least one project in the next five years.



BCA Super Low Energy Building

Attributes of a super low energy building

A diagram released by the BCA identifies the attributes of a super low energy building. It points to renewable energy (roof and site optimisation, and photovoltaic technologies); energy management (building automation, smart control, and plug-load management); active strategies (air conditioning, mechanical ventilation, and artificial lighting); and passive strategies (solar shading, natural ventilation, and facade and daylighting).

GM SLE targets new and existing non-residential buildings such as offices, commercial/retail, industrial, institutions and schools, including demonstration projects from Research and Innovation efforts.

The ‘SLE Buildings Technology Roadmap’ was developed in partnership with industry and academia (including the Energy Research Institute @NTU [ERI@N] and the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore [SERIS]), and outlines the broad strategies to help the industry design and develop cost-effective super low energy buildings.

Keppel Land has committed to piloting various emerging technologies at its BCA Green Mark Platinum-certified development Keppel Bay Tower, with a view to replicating the implementation of these technologies in its other commercial buildings. The technologies being investigated by Keppel Land are: a smart lighting system, air-conditioning based on indoor activity analytics, an intelligent building control system, a high-efficiency air-distribution system, and a cooling-tower water management system.


Aligning the building sector with national greenhouse gas emission-reduction targets

Singapore has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 36% from 2005 levels by 2030. The building sector is responsible for more than one-third of the country’s total electricity consumption, and therefore could play a significant role in reducing carbon footprint. The BCA has been pushing for greater energy efficiency in buildings and targets the ‘greening’ of 80-per-cent of Singapore’s building stock by 2030.

Singapore’s green building journey began formally in 2005 with the introduction of BCA Green Mark and the three Green Building Masterplans. Since then, reports the BCA, more than 3,400 buildings have been ‘greened’. The BCA suggests that there has been growing acceptance of the economic benefits that arise over the life of a building. Its Building Energy Benchmarking Report 2018 states that commercial buildings have shown a 14-per-cent improvement in energy performance since 2008 – which equates to annual savings of about 1,000 GWh and S$200 million.

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