BCA to build rotating rooftop lab for green tech R&D

The rotating laboratory will be located on top of one of BCA's buildings at its Braddell Road premises. The BCA Skylab will be where researchers can test and develop green technology and materials.

Singapore has rotating restaurants. Now it is going to get its first rotating rooftop laboratory.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) will build this special 132 sq m lab at the top of one of its buildings at its Braddell Road premises.

Located on the sixth floor, and costing $4.5 million, the BCA SkyLab will give researchers a new place to test and develop green technology and materials.

BCA chief executive John Keung told The Straits Times that the advantage of building a lab here which rotates and on the top floor is that it can catch sunlight and wind any time of the day - and be tailored specifically for the tropics.

Ready by the first half of next year, the lab is being developed in collaboration with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, which has a similar rotating lab suited for a temperate climate.

Environment and Water Resources Ministry Permanent Secretary Choi Shing Kwok said getting buildings to become greener is key in reducing Singapore's carbon emissions. "In cities worldwide, including Singapore, buildings contribute about a third of all global greenhouse gas emissions and make up nearly 40 per cent of energy consumption," he said, adding that this is why the sector has to lead the way in sustainability.

He was speaking at the official opening ceremony of the International Green Building Conference, Bex (Build Eco Xpo) Asia and MCE (Mostra Convegno Expocomfort) Asia 2015 at Marina Bay Sands.

During the event, the BCA also launched the revamped Green Mark scheme, which recognises buildings for their environmentally friendly features. More than 2,500 buildings, or around 30 per cent, are considered green here. The revamped scheme will, among other things, take into consideration passive features which cut electricity use, such as the use of natural lighting. Buildings that tap renewable energy, such as solar power, will also be better recognised.

Dr Keung said: "Green Mark 2015 will recognise the leadership of building owners who drive improvements to the overall environmental credentials of projects."

Yesterday, the BCA also released its Building Energy Benchmarking Report for 2015, which helps building owners get a sense of their energy performance as compared to buildings of similar types and sizes.

One of its key findings showed that commercial buildings here are getting greener. While gross floor area grew at a rate of 25 per cent from 2008 to 2014, electricity consumption for commercial buildings increased by only 16 per cent.

This article was first published on Sept 3, 2015.
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