Singapore’s first “Zero Energy Building” launched

The inaugural Singapore Green Building week started on Monday with the launch of Singapore’s first “Zero Energy Building.”

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said the three-storey office building showcases how it can be up to 50 per cent more energy efficient.

It cost some S$11 million to retrofit but the building is expected to generate as much electricity as it consumes in a year.

The government aims to get 80 per cent of all buildings on Green Mark certification by 2030.

Known as the zero energy building, the structure along Braddell Road has been retrofitted to ensure it is self-sufficient in meeting its electricity needs.

It has various green features which act as a test bed for clean energy technologies before they are introduced into the industry.

To help beat the heat, the visitor’s centre has plants on its walls which help reduce external wall temperatures by up to 12 degree Celsius while a solar chimney sucks out the warm air from the room.

Contraptions help shade the building from the sun and bounce natural light into the interiors.

The solar panels help generate enough electricity to supply power to 45 four- room HDB flats for a year.

While it might cost five per cent more to retrofit existing buildings with green design and technologies, experts said the pay back is not as long as some might expect.

John Keung, CEO, Building and Construction Authority, said: “For a typical existing building if you go for a green mark certification, the expected pay back period is two to six years depending on your design and what you want to put in there. So it’s still quite cost effective.”

Mr Mah said: “The government will have to educate, put in incentives and we may also eventually have to make it mandatory to have some legislation in place. But through a combination of these factors hopefully through education and incentives we will be able to move people along.”

Cash incentives are already in place under the Green Mark certification scheme to encourage buildings to go green.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 26 Oct 2009

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