Keppel Bay Tower, located in the Keppel Bay waterfront precinct, was certified by Building and Construction Authority (BCA) as a Green Mark Platinum (Zero Energy) building in 2020. It is the first commercial building in Singapore to attain this accolade.
Built almost two decades ago, Keppel Bay Tower achieved the Green Mark Platinum award—one of the highest accolades for green buildings in Singapore—in 2014. However, that did not deter its owner, Keppel Land, from pushing the envelope of environmental sustainability and making it even more energy-efficient.
Testament to the company’s efforts, Keppel Bay Tower, located in the Keppel Bay waterfront precinct, was certified by Building and Construction Authority (BCA) as a Green Mark Platinum (Zero Energy) building in 2020. It is the first commercial building in Singapore to attain this accolade.
No mean feat
The journey towards zero energy, which took about two years starting from 2018, was not an easy one. Green Mark Platinum (Zero Energy) buildings must achieve a low energy use index of less than 115 kilowatt hours (kwh) per square metre a year. All its energy consumption should also be supplied from renewable sources, both on-site and off.
To fulfil these requirements, Keppel Land had to identify and testbed new cutting-edge technologies suitable for an existing commercial building.
Compared to a new building, which can be designed with energy-efficient technologies from the onset, it is actually more difficult to implement such technologies for an existing operating building where the infrastructure is already in place, said Mr Ng Ooi Hooi, President (Singapore and Regional Investments), Keppel Land. In addition, it was the first time that these emerging technologies were implemented in a development in Singapore.
Mr Ng added, “Having to execute the improvement works without disrupting Keppel Bay Tower’s ongoing operations was challenging. Implementing some of these works during COVID-19 added to the challenges due to the slowdown in activities.”
A clear reason to collaborate
Throughout this journey, Keppel Land engaged with various internal and external stakeholders. The core team from Keppel Land was a multidisciplinary one represented by in-house professionals from the operational excellence, property management, and asset management teams.
External stakeholders included BCA, business partners, and importantly, about 30 tenants at Keppel Bay Tower, who have all been supportive of the company’s efforts in improving the environmental performance of the building.
For example, recognising that energy consumed by tenants for lighting and general power account for about half of the total energy used in an office building, Keppel Land enlisted the expertise of two likeminded and longstanding business partners. They were Envision, a global leading smart energy management company, and Signify Singapore*, a company known for its energy-efficient lighting products and systems.
Ms Paige Liu, Director of Smart City Business, Envision Digital, said, “We share the same vision towards sustainability as Keppel Land; they were one of our first business partners when we launched our operations here four years ago. The Keppel Bay Tower win is an important signal to the built environment industry on the need to transform and decarbonise.”
“Signify and Keppel Land share the same ethos when it comes to sustainability, climate change, and energy efficiency. We first worked together almost seven years ago. Since then, the relationship has grown, with us collaborating on multiple occasions,” said Mr Jitender Khurana, General Manager, Signify Singapore.
Finding the right balance
As part of Singapore’s efforts to lower carbon emissions and fight climate change, BCA has introduced various initiatives over the years to accelerate the adoption of green technology for buildings.
One of these initiatives is the Super Low Energy (SLE) Challenge, where developers may take part voluntarily and support the aspirations of advancing net zero energy buildings in the tropics. The challenge sought building owners who are able to commit towards achieving a Green Mark SLE for at least one of their new or existing buildings by 2023.
On balancing economic and environmental objectives, Mr Ng advised building owners who wish to make their buildings more energy-efficient to focus on incorporating more economically viable features, such as LED lighting, before investing further in other green technologies.
“They can also tap on available government grants and incentives to lower the upfront investment cost,” he said.
The quest for zero energy
To transform Keppel Bay Tower into Singapore’s first Green Mark Platinum (Zero Energy) commercial building, Keppel Land leveraged a grant under the Green Buildings Innovation Cluster (GBIC) Programme. The Programme aims to testbed, showcase and exchange knowledge of energy-efficient solutions with stakeholders.
The project team behind Keppel Bay Tower had a clear aim: to reduce the building’s energy consumption significantly and improve its energy efficiency by 20% from its Green Mark Platinum baseline.
Here’s a round-up of the building’s smart eco-features:
*Formerly known as Philip Lighting.