The National Research Foundation (NRF) has provided S$20 million of funds for Building Construction Authority’s green building innovation project.
National Development Minister Lawrence Wong announced this project at the opening of the inaugural International Built Environment Week (IBEW), organised by BCA.
These funds are available to all companies within the Green Buildings Innovation Cluster (GBIC) which was set up by BCA in 2014, with an S$52 million grant from NRF.
GBIC is a group focused on experimenting, exhibiting and exchanging of information and solutions for the smart use of energy.
It was launched under the Energy National Innovation Challenge (Energy NIC). It provides grants to companies within the industry to innovate on ways for creating smart green buildings.
Mr Wong said that the aim is to promote more partnerships between the built environment industry and the research community with this grant.
He added that this project is in ties with BCA’s initiative towards establishing Super Low Energy (SLE) buildings. BCA has titled them to be the next generation of green buildings.
SLE aims to propel Singapore’s construction industry beyond the usual practices and innovate bigger on environmental sustainability in Singapore.
He said that buildings contribute to 40% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. “A collective effort is needed to shift towards a more sustainable built environment sector,” he said.
Some of the innovations include the use of Artificial Intelligence for making processes more energy-efficient and less complicated. The AI learns how to autonomously regulate air-con systems by monitoring building temperatures in real-time.
Hugh Lim, CEO of BCA said that there still is progress to be made towards achieving the target for 2030 which is for greening 80% of the buildings.
BCA’s target is achieving Positive Energy, Zero Energy and Super Low Energy Buildings in Singapore.
There have been other ongoing efforts for incorporating technology and innovation into building construction, for creating smart and energy-saving homes. Some of these include:
The material, called Calostat, can provide insulation and thus reduce the temperatures in HDB flats by 2 degree Celsius.
“The silicon-based material, which is sustainable, non-combustible, hydrophobic (able to repel water) and pressure-resistant, has been tested and proven to have good thermal insulation properties, and adopted in developments in Germany, Switzerland, and London,” said Housing Development Board (HDB).
The first trials are expected to take place in the first quarter of 2020. If the material proves to be effective, there is a potential for Calostat to be used in other parts of an HDB building.
3D printing of buildings
HDB and Evonik (producer and manufacturer of Calostat) are also collaborating on the 3D printing of HDB building components. Instead of the traditional pre-cast production process, the 3D printing of building components will reduce the time needed to build flats and house buyers are given more design options for their homes.
It also makes up for the labour shortage in the construction industry and improves workers’ productivity as they have lesser areas to focus on.
HDB has also signed an MoU with V-Key (software-based digital security solutions provider) to study and develop ways to better the current smart living systems in the Punggol Northshore flats. This study is aimed at bringing different types and brands of smart appliances together and implement them HDB homes. Some of these smart features include smart lighting, smart curtains and motion sensors.