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27 October 2009

Singapore launches first "Zero Energy Building"

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With the launch of its first "Zero Energy Building" Monday, Singapore kicked off the  Green Building week, reported Channel News Asia on its website.

The city-state TV broadcaster quoted National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan as saying that the three-storey office building showcases how it can be up to 50 percent 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 Singapore government aims to get 80 percent 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 degrees 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 percent 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."


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