Designing-for-sustainability




22 Oct 2021

Designing for sustainability: Green buildings in Singapore

The rise of green buildings in Singapore has helped the country become a model of green architecture in the region. Around the island, buildings are being designed to reduce impact to the environment — we take a look at four such sustainable buildings.


Climate change, water shortage, dwindling resources, and biological diversity are some of the greatest challenges the world is facing today. Rising up to the challenge to make a positive impact on the environment is Audi, which has sustainability at its core along with its promise to deliver technology, high performance, style and design.

Under the brand’s Mission:Zero environmental programme, Audi has pledged to reduce its ecological footprint through four action areas: decarbonisation, water usage, resource efficiency, and biodiversity. Singapore is also moving towards a greener future with the Singapore Green Plan 2030 which — like Audi’s Mission:Zero — is guided by the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Singapore’s plan sets the stage for the city state to achieve its long-term net-zero emissions goals as part of the country’s sustainability effort and there are plenty of early adopters. Here are four buildings that embody elements of Audi’s Mission:Zero in their own way.

Decarbonisation: CapitaGreen

Sustainability-capitaland



Image from CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust.

Decarbonisation is the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and this can be influenced by how energy is produced and consumed. When it comes to buildings, this usually involves using renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

CapitaGreen, which opened in 2015, is one such example. Its environmentally sustainable design has garnered numerous awards including the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Mark Platinum (BCA’s highest rating) and Universal Design Mark Platinum.

The building has a number of green features but none is more distinct than its red and white wind scoop. The petal-like structure that sits at the crown of the building channels fresh, cool, natural air from the rooftop into the office floors below. Inside, the office floors are fitted with innovative air-conditioning technology which takes in the cool air from the wind scoop. This lowers energy consumption.

CapitaGreen also has a double-skin high performance glass façade that cuts solar heat gain by up to 26% while maximising the use of natural light to reduce the amount of energy needed to cool the air within. According to CapitaLand’s 2020 sustainability report, their green efforts across their properties are paying off — they have reduced their carbon emissions, and energy and water consumption by 53.8%, 40.2% and 52.6% respectively since 2008 when they first started applying green technology to their buildings.

Water usage: PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering, Singapore

Sustainability-parkroyal



Image from PARKROYAL COLLECTION.

Water may seem to be in abundance on earth but only 3% of it is fresh and out of that, only 0.5% is accessible as the rest are frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps, or too deep underground. Sustainability in water usage means the ability to provide the quantity and quality for our needs. Recycling water is crucial as it helps reduce environmental impact and ensure we have enough for future generations.

PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering, another BCA Green Mark Platinum award winner, is packed with green features including innovations and design elements that help reduce energy consumption.

When it comes to sustainable water usage, the building uses rain harvesting and NEWater (non-potable recycled water) and the majority of its other green features focus on reducing its cooling requirements. An example is the central chiller system that helps to maximise the operating efficiency of the building’s various functions through its Building Management System. In addition, water efficient fittings are used where appropriate. PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering also has built-in rain sensors in the landscape areas to turn off irrigation when a minimum level of rain is detected, helping to conserve water.

Resource efficiency: AirMesh Pavillion

Sustainability-SUTD



Image from AirLab SUTD Singapore.

Sustainable use of resources means using fewer natural resources, less wastage, and minimising its impact to the environment.

The AirMesh Pavilion at Gardens by the Bay is the world’s first architectural space-frame structure made of metal 3D printed components. Completed in 2019, it is also the first 3D printed structure to be approved by the BCA for temporary occupation in Singapore.

One of its objectives was to balance production efficiency and environmental concerns. By using 3D printing technology, the architects were able to eliminate the use of standard parts and instead, optimise and customise each printing node to reduce its weight and shorten fabrication time. The result? A significant reduction in materials used in construction with zero wastage of material in the fabrication process.

Biodiversity: Rainforest Rhapsody

Sustainability-capitaland



Image from CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust.

Biodiversity is the root of life on Earth — including ours, and that’s why it’s important to protect and preserve our ecosystems.

One way is to achieve that is with green spaces and adding greenery where possible. An example is the Rainforest Rhapsody in the main lobby of Six Battery Road. The building itself has also been awarded the BCA Green Mark Platinum certification.

At about 2,000 square feet, the indoor vertical garden is the largest in Singapore’s central business district. It has over 90 species of plants sourced locally and from other parts of Asia which are arranged in an oblique direction, inspired by the natural growth pattern of plants that grow along the crack of rocks or vertical surfaces. Sustainable methods are also used to maintain the vertical garden — harvested rainwater and nutrients are absorbed by the plants through a controlled irrigation process.

As these places show, sustainability has progressed from being a trend to becoming a core element not just in building design but in other industries as well. Audi was one of the pioneers in the premium automotive industry to recognise its importance which led to the founding of its environmental programme.