DBS to retrofit Newton office building into net-zero energy building by 2022

An artist's impression of DBS' net-zero energy building.
An artist's impression of DBS' net-zero energy building.PHOTO: KAIA ARCHITECTS
The current DBS-owned building in Newton.
The current DBS-owned building in Newton.PHOTO: DBS

SINGAPORE - An existing four-storey office building owned by local bank DBS will be transformed into a net-zero energy building, with the installation of rooftop solar panels and use of natural ventilation and smart systems.

The move to achieve net-zero energy consumption is in tandem with the Government's target to green 80 per cent of buildings by 2030, as part of the Singapore Green Plan 2030, said DBS Bank on Friday (July 9).

Net-zero energy means the building produces enough energy for its own consumption, such as by harnessing solar energy.

The transformation of the office building at 135 Bukit Timah Road is set to cost $5 million, with a portion covered by a grant awarded by the Building and Construction Authority.

When works are completed in the first quarter of next year, the building will house more than 400 employees from the bank's consumer banking group.

The building's current net energy consumption currently stands at around 845,000 kilowatt hour (kWh) annually, equivalent to the energy consumed by about 200 four-room Housing Board flats a year.

DBS said the building's annual energy consumption will be reduced by more than 580,000kWh through the use of smart lighting and air-conditioning systems and low-energy appliances.

The remaining energy requirements will be met via the 1,000 sq m of rooftops solar panels, which are expected to yield around 250,000kWh annually.

Close to 10 per cent of floor area that is currently air-conditioned will be converted to naturally ventilated spaces, and plants will cover more than half of the building's exteriors to aid cooling of the building.

Currently, there are around 500 net-zero energy commercial buildings around the world, according to an estimate by the World Green Building Council.

The first net-zero energy building in Singapore that was built from scratch was the National University of Singapore's School of Design and Environment 4, which has been operational since 2019.

Retrofitting an operating building to become net-zero, however, comes with its set of challenges, as architects and engineers need to work around site, space and structural constraints, said DBS.

DBS group head of corporate real estate strategy and administration Erwin Chong said: "We believe that the future of the office needs to be sustainable, and our aim is to eventually scale these innovative technologies across the rest of our offices, branches and lobbies."