SMU Administration Building gets Green Mark (Platinum) Award from BCA

By the SMU Corporate Communications team

[20 August 2010]
SMU Administration Building gets Green Mark (Platinum) Award from BCA

Top green award bestowed on 14-storey building in the SMU city campus for successful energy and water efficiency initiatives resulting in significant savings despite university growth over the years.

Singapore, 20 August 2010 – The Singapore Management University (SMU) is the latest in town to receive the Green Mark (Platinum) Award from the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA) in the category of existing buildings. The highest rating for buildings in Singapore that adopt best practices in environmental sustainability, the BCA Green Mark (Platinum) Award was given out today to the SMU Administration Building for several green initiatives implemented in recent years. These measures have resulted in nearly 30% drop in utilities consumption despite doubling of student population since our inception.

Situated at the junction of Bras Basah Road and Victoria Street, the 14-storey SMU Administration Building was completed in June 2005 and a major review of its infrastructure embarked upon in 2007 to further enhance the environmental performance of the building. Dedicated steps were taken in a multi-prong approach which includes measures in energy efficiency, water consumption, recycling and waste management and public education outreach.

In the area of energy efficiency, all existing lights were replaced by energy-saving T5 lights which consume 30% less electricity than normal ones and generate less heat. Lights in staff pantries, washrooms and staircases were installed with motion sensors, and activated only when necessary. Clad with double, low-emissivity glazing and sunshades on its façade in its original design, the building effectively reduces solar heat radiation while still permitting substantial natural daylight through many glass and sky windows, reducing the need for too many artificial lighting. Inverters and motion sensors were introduced for the building's escalators, regulating their speed and movement according to actual usage.

Water consumption is reduced by as much as 50% through the use of NEWater for cooling towers. Condensate water from Air Handling Units (AHUs) is also recycled and pumped back into cooling towers and special auto-cleaning systems fitted into chillers, contributing further to water and energy savings. Existing taps and water fittings were also modified to achieve water saving features, attaining PUB's water efficiency standards.

Recycling bins are provided at every floor, encouraging staff and visitors to dispose of waste, segregated into paper, plastic and cans. Environmentally-friendly infrastructure is best complemented by a green corporate culture which involves active stakeholder participation. A Campus Green Group, comprising university staff and students, has been formed in June this year to be a committee of green ambassadors for SMU, encouraging green thinking and promoting practical, day-to-day steps in environmental stewardship and sustainability on campus. Working closely with SMU Verts, a student-led environmental club, it will champion a green campaign that includes measures such as switching off unused lights, participation in Earth Hour 2010, setting room temperatures at 25°C or higher, powering down computers before leaving work, setting computers to sleep mode when not in use, printing on double sided paper and recycling used paper.

Plans are to progressively roll out and implement the successful green measures to the other buildings in the SMU city campus. Already, the rest of the campus, comprising four school buildings and the Li Ka Shing Library, is designed with many green features. Intended to be a campus in the park, efforts are made to preserve as much of the former Bras Basah Park as possible and minimise impact to existing landscapes, going to the extent of protecting 16 long-standing mature trees in a laborious, unprecedented tree transplanting exercise lasting two years. The campus features tree-sheltered courts, porous buildings criss-crossed by breezeways, overhanging façades and enhanced shading, to utilise the natural climatic conditions, maximise comfort and integrate the campus harmoniously into Fort Canning and Bras Basah Green. Campus buildings overlooking Bras Basah Green have glazed façades shaded by a veil of plants to create “green walls”, reinforcing their natural setting. New trees have been added along street frontages, offering shade and shelter along the main pedestrian routes.

“The BCA Green Mark (Platinum) Award is a milestone in SMU's journey in sustainability. It is recognition of the many energy-efficient measures put in place in recent years which have resulted in significant savings. As we take gradual steps in becoming a green campus, we hope to be a visible example to our neighbours and community, and register the importance of environmental sustainability in a small island like Singapore which is already experiencing the impact of global warming and other climate change phenomena in this planet,” said Professor Howard Hunter, President of SMU.