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BCA builds high-rise rotating lab for green tech R&D

Zafirah Salim | Sept. 7, 2015
Called the BCA SkyLab, it is fully rotatable to any orientation to the sun, and will allow innovative technologies to be tested on a plug-and-play basis in high-rise, outdoor settings.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore unveiled on Wednesday (Sept 2) its latest green initiatives at the opening ceremony of the International Green Building Conference, BEX (Build Eco Xpo) Asia and MCE (Mostra Convegno Expocomfort) Asia 2015 at Marina Bay Sands.

The first of such initiative is the soft launch of the BCA SkyLab, which is touted to be the "world's first high-rise rotating laboratory for the tropics". Worth S$4.5 million, this new establishment is designed specifically for the tropics and features facilities that will enable the testing and development of innovative energy-efficient building technologies.

Built on the rooftop of a new building at the BCA Academy, the BCA SkyLab is constructed on a rotating platform to allow tests to be carried out at any orientation to the sun and wind. Beyond technical purposes, the BCA SkyLab also serves as an education and engagement platform for the sharing of research findings and expertise.

Developed in collaboration with US-based Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the BCA SkyLab is modeled after the Facility for Low Energy Experiment in Buildings (FLEXLAB) in California, and is adapted to Singapore's tropical environment and urban setting.

It is slated to be completed with a pipeline of technologies to start test-bedding by the first half of 2016.   

"With the BCA SkyLab, we are moving another step closer to the ambitious goal of achieving 'low-energy high-rise' buildings and 'zero-energy low-rise' buildings in the tropics. BCA will work closely with the industry and academia to drive innovation in green building design, construction and maintenance to make this possible," said Dr John Keung, CEO of BCA.

At the event, BCA also unveiled a revamped Green Mark scheme to further push the boundaries on environmental sustainability. Called the Green Mark 2015, it is developed for new non-residential buildings and will incorporate key changes, with an expanded focus to address sustainability in a more balanced and holistic manner.

To achieve the sustainable outcomes of Green Mark 2015, the criteria have been restructured into four main sections: Climatic Response, Building Energy Performance, Resource Stewardship and Smart & Healthy Building. A bonus section on Advanced Green Building Efforts is also included to spur efforts beyond requirements.

According to the agency, the revamped scheme will enable projects to analyse its energy effectiveness in both the optimisation of energy efficiency as well as energy consumption. Greater recognition for renewable energy will also be considered.  

Speaking at the event, Choi Shing Kwok, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, said, "This reframed Green Mark scheme places focus on climatically responsive design, energy effectiveness, greater focus on health and wellbeing, smart technologies and a systematic approach to address embodied carbon and resources."


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