Singapore Organization Creating 'Green' Building for Zero Net Energy Usage

November 7, 2007
The concept of “zero emissions”—or a system in which there is no net waste, because everything is reused or recycled—is challenging organizations and companies to come up with new green technologies, or uses for existing technologies, to cut down on carbon footprints.
One such project, underway in Singapore, was highlighted in a report Wednesday. It seems that a “zero energy” building is being created there by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), the organization’s flagship “green” R&D project. The building is part of BCA’s Green Building Masterplan.
BCA is spending $10 million to modify an existing 3,000 square meter (roughly 32,000 square feet) building with the latest energy-efficient technologies to produce a facility that will be 60 percent more efficient than conventional buildings and generate as much electricity through renewable energy as it consumes—working out to zero net energy consumption over the course of a year.
The existing building, which will be used for BCA Academy, was built in 1994, and is the first the organization is modifying rather than building from scratch.
To achieve “zero energy,” the building will be fitted with enough solar panels to produce electricity for 32 five-room flats. The sun-generated electricity will be used for lighting, office equipment and air conditioning. Fifteen percent of the project’s cost will go to solar panels, paid for by the Economic Development Board.
The project doesn’t end with generating clean electricity. BCA is also working with the National University of Singapore to create ventilation strategies for reducing energy consumption. This will be achieved in part by using what the organization called a Single Coil Twin Fan ventilation system, designed to regulate airflow throughout the building.
Another invention, the Personalized Ventilation system, will be used to detect which rooms have people in them and direct fresh air from outside (which takes more energy to chill than recycled air) into those areas.
Reducing the need for electricity will help reduce operational costs for the building, BCA said. The organization expects to save $48,000 per year through energy efficiency gains, and another $36,000 annually by using solar panels. Since modifications to the building add 10 percent to the facilities build-out cost, it may take about 12 years to fully recoup the additional expenses, BCA said.
Modifications to the building are slated for completion in 2009.

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