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Singapore offices become more energy efficient

Anuradha Shukla | Feb. 22, 2016
Siemens and ETH Zurich researchers implement the 3for2 concept in real life.

Singapore offices have become more energy efficient thanks to ETH Zurich researchers and Siemens who have partnered to implement the 3for2 concept in real life.

Both companies have built three floors within the space of two at the United World College South East Asia in Singapore, which contributes to saving room and energy.

The office building is serving as a living laboratory and is expected to be among the most energy efficient in the entire city by 2018.

The 3for2 project typically focuses on air-conditioning technologies, and is very relevant in Singapore, where air-conditioning accounts for about 60% of energy consumption across buildings.

"We came equipped with our 'European' concepts of heating and cooling for moderate climates, well aware that the climatic context in Singapore is much more demanding and extreme," said professor Arno Schlueter, leader of the 3for2 Project and professor of Architecture and Building Systems at ETH Zurich. "While in our climate we are used to the oscillation of hot and cold, of dry and humid periods, the tropical climate in Singapore is constantly hot and humid, making this the 'worst-case scenario' for creating comfortable interior spaces."

Lean technology

The '3for2' concept proposes that new lean and energy-efficient technologies for air-conditioning and related services can be successfully integrated into building structures.

In addition to saving energy, this technology also saves significant space and materials. Moreover, this technology offers a paradigm shift in the way sustainable high-rise buildings can be realised by integrating design and construction.

A single-floor pilot implementation of the concept called '3for2@UWCSEA' was developed over an 18-month period.

The completed 3for2@UWCSEA space now stands tall, with researchers conducting a two-year programme on the performance evaluation and optimisation of the installed technologies.

"It's difficult to convince developers to invest in these highly efficient air-conditioning systems if they don't benefit from the long-term rewards of lower energy bills," said professor Arno Schlueter. "The 3for2 concept attempts to address these split incentives by proposing a holistic design concept that saves materials, space, and energy. These more sustainable buildings help developers to lower construction costs and increase tenable floor areas, while enabling tenants to benefit from significantly lower utility bills."

 

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