Incorporate passive design in buildings to reduce air-conditioning (The Straits Times Forum)

Thursday, 22 November 2018

We refer to Mr Joel Tong's letter "Design choices make homes cooler" (November 13).

We are encouraged by Mr Tong's feedback on the adoption of passive design strategies for buildings. Indeed, air-conditioning consumes a significant amount of electricity -- about 25% in a typical home and up to 50% for a commercial building -- and the greenhouse gases released when generating the electricity to power these air-conditioners can exacerbate global warming. Recognising the need to make our buildings more environmentally sustainable, BCA launched the Green Mark certification scheme in 2005 to promote high performance environmentally-friendly buildings.

A key thrust under the BCA Green Mark scheme is to encourage adoption of passive strategies that reduce heat gain into the buildings and improve natural ventilation. For example, simulation modelling can be used to identify the optimal building design and layout to achieve effective natural ventilation. Ceiling fans are also highly encouraged, to assist with ventilation where required. In our tropical climate, effective passive design is recognised as one of the best strategies to enhance thermal comfort while reducing the need for air-conditioning.

We are heartened to see more project teams adopting passive design strategies such as natural ventilation. Buildings designed with the appropriate site orientation, layout and effective facade design will do well in the BCA Green Mark certification.

BCA's 2016 survey on green buildings also found that over 90% of the homeowners understood the benefits of green buildings, and more than 70% were willing to pay 3 to 4% more to own a home in a green development.

Moving forward, we will continue to partner industry stakeholders including the Singapore Green Building Council, developers, and building and home owners in promoting green buildings in Singapore.

Ang Kian Seng
Group Director, Environmental Sustainability
Building and Construction Authority

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