Super low energy buildings in Singapore

April 7, 2022 / By

Singapore is en route to having 80% of all new buildings be Super Low Energy (SLE) from 2030. This is one of the three goals of the refreshed Singapore Green Building Masterplan 2021.

Figure 1: Singapore Green Building Masterplan: “80-80-80 in 2030”

Source: BCA, JLL Research

What are SLE buildings?

According to the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), SLE buildings feature best-in-class energy efficiency (i.e., achieving at least 60% improvement in energy efficiency vis-à-vis 2005 levels), using on-site and off-site renewable energy and other intelligent energy management strategies.

Since the launch of BCA’s Super Low Energy Programme in 2018, BCA has introduced three Green Mark SLE certification categories for buildings that have attained at least a BCA Green Mark Gold Award.

Figure 2: Green Mark SLE Categories under BCA’s Super Low Energy Programme

Source: BCA, JLL Research

As of mid-September 2021, Singapore has 50 SLE-certified buildings.[1] These include office, industrial, residential, and institutional developments.

One notable example is Keppel Bay Tower, Singapore’s first Green Mark Platinum (Zero Energy) commercial building. Among the building’s smart and innovative solutions are an intelligent building control system to manage its energy consumption, a smart lighting system that utilises occupancy sensors for a seamless transition in lighting levels according to building occupancy, a high-efficiency air distribution system and a cooling tower water management system.[2]

Another noteworthy example is the recently completed Samwoh Smart Hub. From the building’s design to its construction materials and technical specifications, the drive for sustainability features prominently in Singapore’s first positive energy industrial building. Besides the numerous state-of-the-art technologies adopted to reduce energy consumption, Samwoh Smart Hub also utilises the latest innovations in solar-panel systems to generate more energy than the required usage.[3]

Figure 3: Examples of SLE-Certified Buildings in Singapore

Source: BCA, JLL Research

SLE buildings are a key step towards attaining lower carbon emissions

To drive more SLE buildings, a new SGD 63-million incentive scheme (i.e. BCA’s Green Mark Incentive Scheme for Existing Buildings 2.0) will be made available from 2Q 2022. Essentially, BCA will provide a cash incentive to building owners who achieve higher energy performance standards (i.e., Platinum, Super Low Energy, and Zero Energy) for their buildings to lower the upfront costs incurred on energy-efficient retrofits.

This will complement BCA’s enhanced green mark certification scheme, effective from 1 November 2021. Under Green Mark: 2021, new and existing buildings undergoing retrofitting must meet higher energy performance standards to be certified green. They must also emphasise on other sustainability outcomes, including designing for maintainability, reducing embodied carbon across the building’s lifecycle, and creating healthier environments for building occupants.

These initiatives will collectively help to raise Singapore’s SLE building stock and propel Singapore towards its green building and net carbon zero goals.

[1] Source: BCA’s media release, “Industry Interest to Mainstream Super Low Energy Buildings picking up pace”, 17 September 2021
[2] Source: Keppel Land’s article “Keppel Bay Tower: Singapore’s First Green Mark Platinum (Zero Energy) Commercial Building”, published December 2020
[3] Source: BCA’s article “Translating Research & Innovation in the Built Environment”, published July 2019


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