Singapore’s seriousness with achieving 80% Green Mark certified building stocks of its state island by 2030 is well reflected with its dozens of BCA issued circulars under the Code of Environmental Sustainability Measurements for Existing Buildings. Currently, at 31% of the building stock being certified Green Mark as of May 2016, the 3rd green building master plan has its pride in detailing out various strategies in expediting its 80% green building effort by the means of establishing collaboration across stakeholders, launching incentive schemes to spur research and development, and setting up green building specialist talent pipelines.
Mandatory Reporting of Building Information and Energy Consumption since 2012
Frankly speaking, the pace of green building effort in Singapore is rigorous in the last few years as the existing building stock takes the spotlight while New Assessment tools such as Green Mark NRNB 2015 and RNB 2016 are being rolled out. Let alone in pushing for greener existing building; there was great progress in collaborative platforms, funding mechanism, industry engagement and talent pipeline. Effective from July 2013, building owners are required to participate in the Annual Submission of Building Information and Energy Consumption Data. This is a gazetted under the Section 22FJ of the Building Control Amendment Act 2012 (READ HERE).
This is further revised recently to accommodate a larger building stock and typology where any building that has GFA more than 5,000m2 (instead of 15,000m2 previously) and wanting to retrofit their chiller plant has to fulfill three requirements under the Environmental Sustainability Measures for Existing Buildings. Building owners are required to comply a minimum 50 points Green Mark Certification (Certified level),; ; andsubmit periodic energy efficiency audits of building cooling system, and submit information in respect of power consumption within three years. BCA has also well summarized their intentions and rationales of each aspect.
Another helpful illustration of the Building Control regulation can also be found HERE.
Why Singapore Needs Building Energy Benchmarking
Data is the answer and guidance to everything. The state island is quickly embracing itself to be a smart nation, having its dedicated website data.gov.sg and One Map where anyone can access to quickly summarized data for quick decision making. By having building energy data, the government can monitor energy consumption and efficiency of buildings and respond by formulating measures to reduce energy footprint appropriately. Mandating this also means a real push for facilities manager and building owners to be aware of the energy performance of their buildings in comparison with the national’s median performance, which will trigger them to keep their pace in the game. Massive data also means better research and development of appropriate technologies for consultants and designers in designing or retrofitting a green building. I previously wrote that the greatest approach to energy efficiency is peer pressure, and the stepping stone for this is, building energy data!
What’s really interesting as an outcome is the annual Building Energy Benchmarking Report, which can be downloaded from the Building Energy Submission System. Since 2013, BCA has released an annual report on Building Energy Benchmark where it seems different report slightly differs from each other by highlighting various interesting topics. Aside from comparing building energy performance by typology from year to year, BEBR 2016 further elaborates Healthcare Facilities and Tertiary Institutions this year. BEBR 2016 reports the building submission reports for 2015, where BCA will take half year to filter and analyze the submitted data while publishing the report at the end of Q3, typically together with the Annual International Green Building Conference.
For the consultants in green building design, the annual BEBR report has helped tremendously by complementing their work to convince green building makes business sense. The BEBR allows consultants to understand the energy performance of the current building stocks in the market and establish a comparison field for their proposals to their clients. The latest BEBR 2016 captures a total of 4.7m2 GFA floor space with 1,064 building stocks that range from Healthcare Facilities, Office Building, Hotels, Retail Building, Tertiary and Private Institutions and Mixed Development. I can only hope that the future data includes the remaining building typology such as medium and heavy industrial plants, primary and secondary school, and food courts.
BEBR 2016 has also promoted the conversation of better chiller plant by showing an attractive comparison of AC System Efficiency vs. Age of Chillers, which lists the outliers of weak operating chiller plants due to aging building conditions. The highlights of chiller plant typology and efficiency are crucial as they typically account for half and two-thirds of total building energy consumption.
Another interactive chart displays the bell curve of building energy performance in ascending order where this helps to establish the 4 quartiles of building energy performance so consultants can position their proposed building energy performance accordingly.
The annual BEBR also shares best case practice from different building stocks. It seems that BEBR has consistently feature Top 10 Commercial Buildings and some focus Business Case on various building projects. Since BEBR 2016 features Healthcare institutions and Tertiary Institutions, case study on Mount Elizabeth Hospital and Nanyang Technological University are shown, something like below:
Take Aways from Building Energy Benchmarking Report 2016
BEBR 2016 have delivered news that is, what seem to be familiar and expected. Commercial buildings have sustained their improvements in energy performance since 2013 and Green Mark certified commercial buildings continued to perform better than non-Green Mark certified commercial buildings. However, tenant’s electricity consumption continued to be comparable to that of their building owners! Half of office building and retail building energy consumption are attributed to tenants’ usage. This condition shows that energy efficiency can only do that much from the owner’s side and centralized chiller plants. More can be done to engage tenants in reducing their receptacle loads and lighting usage, for example. Lastly, tertiary and healthcare institutions are showing increasing EUI trend. No surprise, as they are the last building stock being focused in comparison with green commercial buildings.
Future Conversations of BEBR
BEBR has indeed been an excellent printed publication that summarizes the building energy trend in a very concise and interactive infographic format. However, what could be significantly interesting in future is to correlate building energy usage with many other elements, aside from Chiller Plant Efficiency. The conversation of green building can be elevated to passive by trying to compare cooling loads and architectural features such as floor plate depths, the orientation of the building, window to wall ratio, glazing shading coefficient performance, and much more! Perhaps we can even compare if there is any correlation between primary tenant type and building energy consumption? The findings are endless when data is abundance! Topics like these have been actively sought after in the research journal sphere where simulation program comparisons are studied extensively. Having an actual building energy performance benchmark against the architectural feature will complete many academicians’ ease of data mining!
You can briefly view or download the BEBR 2016 below