The Zero Energy Building (ZEB) at the BCA Academy is a live demonstration of an energy efficient building. This three-storey institutional building consumes as much energy as it produces through systematically incorporating innovative energy efficient and renewable technologies. Being South East Asia’s first ZEB retrofitted from an existing building, it marked a milestone in Singapore’s journey towards a sustainable built environment.
The ZEB is a collaborative effort between BCA, NUS and the private sector. As a fully functional R&D and education facility, ZEB houses more than 100 staff members and students, providing a living lab for testing and studying innovative technologies.
Throughout its conceptualisation, design, implementation and operation, ZEB encompasses two general integrated approaches to maximise the reduction of energy consumption:
- Passive Design for the Tropics, and
- Active Solutions with Optimised Control
Some key features and achievements of ZEB include:
- Integrating more than 30 innovative technologies ranging from passive to active systems, such as the solar assisted natural ventilation, mirror duct, Single-Coil Twin Fan (SCTF), displacement ventilation, smart lighting control, building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), etc, many of which were adopted for the first time in the region
- Achieveing a consecutive 9 years of net zero energy performance since 2009
- Delivering an outstanding energy saving of 52% over a typical building in Singapore, with an average Energy Utilisation Index (EUI) of 43 kWh/m2/year
- Receiving a number of international awards, including ASEAN Energy Awards, IES Award, etc
ZEB is a key infrastructure for driving Singapore’s building energy efficiency, providing a live demonstration platform for testbedding and showcasing innovative technologies to building owners and industry stakeholders.
It serves as a demonstration hub that helps address key technical and practical issues on the energy efficiency of Singapore’s building sector, demonstrating how existing buildings can achieve exemplary energy performance by adopting viable technologies and designs. It also plays a critical role in raising public awareness of energy efficient buildings, sharing knowledge, providing education and outreaching in the area of green buildings and sustainable development.
For the past nine years, ZEB has successfully demonstrated that a low-rise building could achieve net zero energy with integrated energy efficient technologies. In fact, it is generating more energy than required. BCA hopes that the success of ZEB will inspire developers and building owners to adopt similar energy efficient solutions making the ambitious target “Low-Rise Positive Energy, Mid-Rise Zero Energy and High-Rise Low Energy Buildings” a reality for the country.
From ZEB to SLE
Since its launch in 2009, ZEB@BCA Academy has been delivering a stellar energy efficiency of 50% better than a code-compliant building. Every year, it generates a net surplus of energy of 6% to 8%.
Following the success of ZEB, BCA has been working with the industry to further technological development towards achieving Super Low Energy (SLE) buildings in our tropical urban context. In 2018, the SLE programme was officially launched to drive the next wave of Singapore’s green building development.
The SLE programme aims to push the boundary of building energy efficiency beyond the Green Mark Platinum level with a suite of initiatives, such as the SLE Buildings Technology Roadmap and the SLEB Smart Hub, which encourages the adoption of innovative building energy technologies.
From ZEB to ZEB Plus
By the end of 2019, ZEB would have gone beyond zero, raising its energy efficiency and energy surplus by at least 20% and 40% respectively. The enhancement includes providing a major update of the building systems in the ZEB to achieve a smart and healthy environment for its building users to work in.
BCA is also partnering SinBerBEST researchers and industry stakeholders to design and incorporate the latest energy efficient technologies to address the energy plus challenge. Arising from years of R&D at Berkeley and local universities, more than 20 innovative building technologies, covering air-conditioning, lighting, façade, smart controls, etc, will be engineered and tested in the refurbished building.