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 Singapore’s Zero Energy Building (ZEB) On-Track to Meet Net Zero Power Consumption

Almost one year into its operation, the Zero Energy Building has achieved zero power consumption and a surplus of 16.3 MWh (megawatts/hour) of electricity. The power surplus translates to savings of about $3,900 per month for 35 units of HDB 5-room flats at residential electricity tariffs at 24.13 cents/kWh (kilowatts/hour). With the power surplus generated, this BCA’s flagship R&D project is on-track to achieve its target of net zero energy consumption in October 2010, at its first year anniversary.


2.            Located at BCA Academy in Braddell, the ZEB, a super energy efficient building, is the first existing building in Southeast Asia to be fully retrofitted with green building design features and technologies. Passive Design and Active Solutions, a two-step, integrated design approach was employed to ensure that the ZEB was 40-50% more efficient than a typical office building.


3.            Through ‘Passive Design’, the project team comprising researchers from NUS (The National University of Singapore) and practitioners from the private sector, managed to minimise heat transfer through the building envelope via design features such as greenery systems, light shelves and sun-shading devices. This was followed by a well conceived installation of ‘Active Solutions’ such as energy efficient air-conditioning system, high efficiency lighting including motion sensors and carbon dioxide (CO2) sensors.


4.            Dr. John Keung, BCA’s CEO, said “Besides bringing our vision into fruition, it is something that we strongly believed in and set out to do, and for this reason that the ZEB has placed Singapore favourably in the world green building map. From achieving innovation and engineering excellence, we have also enhanced sustainability in the built environment through advanced green building technologies. Together with our key partner, National University of Singapore (NUS), the ZEB will continue to serve as a test-bed for integration of Green Building technologies (GBTs) in existing buildings and will maintain as a hub for practitioners and students in the study of energy efficiency and green buildings”.


5.            To achieve net zero energy power consumption, the building has to produce its own electricity. Facilitated through an EDB-funded solar power system, about 1,540 m2 of solar energy (photovoltaic) panels or a combined area bigger than an Olympic-sized swimming pool were installed on ZEB’s roof and other prominent areas to tap on the sun’s energy. (Please see Annex A for details on performance statistics of the ZEB.)


6.            One of the key researchers in the ZEB project team is Stephen Wittkopf, Associate Professor at NUS and Director of the cluster Solar and Energy Efficient Buildings of the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS). He is heading the design and research on building integrated photovoltaic and advanced daylighting of the zero-energy building.


7.            Commenting on the ZEB’s objective, Prof Wittkopf said, “The main target of the project was to demonstrate that the concept of a zero-energy building is possible even in the tropics, where high air-conditioning loads make up more than 50% of the electricity consumption of buildings. After almost one year of analytical energy monitoring we are happy to confirm, that we have achieved this target. The building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) systems have generated a surplus of electricity which is fed back into the BCA premise grid”.  


8.            Prof Wittkopf, added, “Another objective is to provide a demonstration building to showcase and test bed different Green Building Features in operation. Every time, I bring overseas colleagues they are impressed by the wide range of photovoltaic (PV) technologies and types of integration (roof, facade, window, shading, railing etc). The innovative double glazing with embedded switchable electrochromic layers, thin film PV and motorized blinds attracts a lot of attention as well as the vertical and horizontal light pipes, where daylight is channelled deep into the interiors”.


9.            The ZEB has drawn interest from 7,000 visitors from various local and international academia, corporates, government organisations and the public since its opening. Recently, it was also awarded with the IES Prestigious Engineering Achievement Award from the Institute of Engineers Singapore (IES) on 4 September 2010. This is the latest addition to the other awards conferred on ZEB and BCA (Please see Annex B on award details).


Issued by the Building and Construction Authority on 15 September 2010

Related Documents

Media Release_ZEB Performance 2010.pdf [966.0 KB]

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