Sustainable structures meet environmental education at The Greenhouse by Dulwich College (Singapore)

28 Aug 2023


Dragging yourself to school every morning can be a chore for many students. But Dulwich College (Singapore) has injected a little fun to jazz up this mundane routine. At the lobby of the College’s new seven-storey learning hub called The Greenhouse, small steps lead to big changes.

As students enter and tread along the floor, kinetic tiles produce energy for the building with every step. What’s more, the experience can be turned into a game with a large interactive screen that is connected to the tiles. As students “race” towards a greener future along the tiles, they learn facts about sustainability along the way on the screen. There is even a point system where students can represent their houses and compete on a leadership board.

Kinetic floor tilesKinetic floor tiles at the lobby of The Greenhouse

This blend of sustainability, education and fun is the essence of The Greenhouse, a soon-to-be-completed structure at Bukit Batok built to encourage sustainable thinking and lifestyles. It is the first international school building in Singapore to be certified Green Mark Platinum Zero Energy under the BCA Green Mark 2021.

Greener technologies for greener teaching

The Greenhouse’s approach follows the philosophy of Education in Motion (EiM), an education group with a portfolio of premium school brands and innovative education solutions. With presence in five countries including Switzerland and China, EiM runs Dulwich College (Singapore) as well as 12 other schools, all driven by a clear mission to create a positive impact on society and the planet through education.

“At EiM, we aspire to be the global leader in pioneering education for a sustainable future,” said Ms Karen Yung, Co-Founder and Chief Collaboration Officer at EiM. “The Greenhouse is a testament to our purpose-driven journey and focus on delivering greater value not only for our students, but also the wider communities in which we operate.”

karen yungMs Karen Yung, Co-Founder and Chief Collaboration Officer at EiM

The Greenhouse will be a fully net-zero energy building via creative ways of harnessing renewable energy, meaning that it consumes as much energy as it produces. A major source of energy is generated through an eco-envelope of Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) that surrounds the building and even on the skylight of the roof garden. This maximises the total area of solar panels that can be installed on campus, in addition to extensive solar Photovoltaics (PV) installation on existing buildings in the school. 

“We aim to reduce about 216 tonnes of CO2 emission per year, the equivalent of powering 122 four-room HDB flats,” said Ms Yung. 

To hit this goal and achieve net-zero, energy-saving technology and design is paramount. By carefully designing the campus to harness natural lighting and ventilation, the need for artificial lighting and air-conditioning is significantly reduced. For instance, light shafts line the top floor of the building and cut through the central atrium, allowing natural light to shine into the whole building. 

The school is also built using sustainable materials, like recycled wood and Singapore Green Building Product (SGBP)-certified low-carbon concrete. Sustainable technologies like passive displacement cooling technologies, a highly efficient chiller plant, smart environmental sensors, and a Smart Digital Twin platform with Smart Facilities Management workflow automation are also used. The school will also save water by implementing a rainwater harvesting system to collect and recycle rainwater for landscape irrigation. 

By incorporating lush areas of greenery around campus, like in the edible gardens on the rooftop, and using smart indoor air quality monitoring systems, the health and well-being of school staff and students are also elevated.

BIPVBIPV surrounding the façade of The Greenhouse, which maximises the total area of solar panels that can be installed on campus

Sustainability beyond education

But The Greenhouse’s sustainability efforts are not limited to physical elements. More importantly, it offers a wide range of educational opportunities that further pushes the school’s environmental drive. 

“The Greenhouse is a good opportunity for us to integrate technology with sustainability education. We are finding ways to teach students about sustainability beyond the traditional ways – a necessary change to inspire innovators of the future,” said Ms Yung.

Several sustainable initiatives are in the works to realise this goal, such as through food-related classes, activities and co-curricular activities. For instance, there will be hydroponic farms for students to harvest and cook plant-based meals.

“We do not just educate our students on the importance of sustainability – we ensure that they are conscious, active contributors,” said Ms Yung. “We hope to provide the necessary skills for them to thrive in a forever changing world and better understand their place and purpose on this planet.”

Design for impact 

As a state-of-the-art hub for sustainable education and living, The Greenhouse inspires students to make informed choices and take action in order to create a positive impact, through both architectural design and educational initiatives. To EiM and Ms Yung, this double-pronged approach is especially crucial.

“Greener schools go beyond just incorporating greenery into design elements – it is to make an impact on our people, planet and policies,” said Ms Yung. “As students and staff play an equally important role in furthering the sustainability agenda, engaging them to play a part is crucial.”

She added: “We hope The Greenhouse will inspire others to play their part in building a more sustainable future for the country.”


The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) champions the development and transformation of the built environment sector, in order to improve Singapore’s living environment. BCA oversees areas such as safety, quality, inclusiveness, sustainability and productivity, all of which, together with our stakeholders and partners, help to achieve our mission to transform the Built Environment sector and shape a liveable and smart built environment for Singapore.