National Heart Centre's new $165m building wins eco-friendly award

SINGAPORE - The National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) new $165 million building has been awarded the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Green Mark Platinum Award 2012 for various energy efficient and environment-friendly features and practices.

The award is the highest accolade for green building certification in Singapore.

For one, the building boasts of significant energy savings through sustainable architecture and engineering

For example, to cut down on the amount of air-conditioning needed, the new building has been positioned to have no direct West facing façade, thus avoiding solar heat from heating up the building.

The same is achieved through the use of extensive natural ventilation in the concourse area with a North-South orientation and the installation of an energy-efficient air-conditioning plant which runs at less than 0.65 kilowatt per refrigeration ton (kW/RT).

Other green features include regenerative lifts which generate energy when moving, saving 27 per cent of lift energy; energy-efficient lights fitted with sensors to switch them off when not in use; and automatic demand-controlled ventilation for the carparks, activated only when it detects a preset carbon dioxide level.

These features contribute to the new building's annual estimated energy savings of 6,500,000 kWh, a 30 per cent reduction compared to a normal building, with a cost savings of $1.3 million a year.

The building also cuts back of water usage through low water fittings and rain harvesting.

Each year, the new building will be able to save about 12,000 cubic metres of water - almost enough to fill five Olympic-sized swimming pools.

This will be achieved through the installation of low water fittings which helps to reduce water consumption by about 55 per cent, about $26,000 in annual savings.

In addition, rain-harvesting fixtures which collect rainwater and condensation from the air will be used to water building plants and foliage.

The building also incorporates open spaces, verdant terraces and even a green façade at the drop-off point in the new building.

Aside from lowering building interior temperature and improving air quality, the greenery also helps to bring down the emission of carbon dioxide.

There is also a car park guidance system which indicates available parking lots, thus reducing unwanted engine exhaust emissions.

NHCS will be going a step further in the drive for environmental sustainability through the provision of charging stations for electric vehicles.

Together, these features will slash the hospital's carbon emission by an estimated 3,000 tonnes a year, equivalent to that of 525 cars' annual carbon dioxide emission.

Located opposite Block 4 of Singapore General Hospital, the NHCS new building will have three additional storeys, making it a 12-storey building with three basements of 48,000 square metres.

The additional storeys are catered for future expansion. The new building will be operational in end 2013.

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