BCA SkyLab turns one - and wins an award

The BCA SkyLab, a rotating rooftop laboratory, was one of 12 winners of the Institution of Engineers Singapore Prestigious Engineering Achievement Awards 2017. In the past year, four types of green technologies were tested at the laboratory.
The BCA SkyLab, a rotating rooftop laboratory, was one of 12 winners of the Institution of Engineers Singapore Prestigious Engineering Achievement Awards 2017. In the past year, four types of green technologies were tested at the laboratory.PHOTO: BCA

The BCA SkyLab celebrated its first birthday with an award yesterday.

Built by the Building and Construction Authority, the laboratory was one of 12 winners of this year's Institution of Engineers Singapore (IES) Prestigious Engineering Achievement Awards.

Housed on the roof of a BCA building in Braddell Road, it gives researchers a place to test and develop energy-efficient building technologies and materials such as facades and air-conditioning.

In the past year, four types of green technologies were tested at the laboratory. The most recent involves Nanyang Technological University's researchers and BCA testing a system that automatically adjusts window blinds and dimmable lighting systems to ensure rooms are neither too dark nor too bright.

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Such technology could save up to 74 per cent of the energy used by a lighting system that relies on manual window blinds and non-dimmable fluorescent tubes. The research was funded by the National Research Foundation.

The technology could typically save a new 20-storey office building between $20,000 and $50,000 a year, said the managing director of BCA's Built Environment Research Innovation Institute, Mr Lam Siew Wah.

The BCA SkyLab's award was in the Engineering Project category.

The other three categories are Applied Research and Development, Technology Innovation and the Young Creators Award.

Each category has more than one winner. The winners received their awards at the World Engineers Summit 2017 conference dinner last night, hosted by IES and held at the Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The BCA said more than 20 organisations have expressed strong interest in using the laboratory.

Property giant CapitaLand told The Straits Times it wants to test technologies that can reduce the amount of solar heat absorbed through a building's exterior. Its spokesman said the BCA SkyLab is a test bed that complements its own facilities. It is also a good way to tap BCA's expertise.

"CapitaLand wants to play its part in addressing climate change risks by reducing its energy consumption as well as other carbon emissions in its business operations," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2017, with the headline 'BCA SkyLab turns one - and wins an award'. Print Edition | Subscribe