Keppel launches solar-powered building which generates double the energy it uses

(From right) Minster for National Development Desmond Lee touring the operations nerve centre at Keppel Infrastructure @ Changi with Keppel Corporation CEO Loh Chin Hua and Keppel Infrastructure CEO Cindy Lim. PHOTO: KEPPEL CORPORATION

SINGAPORE - With 4,000 sq m of solar panels on its facade and rooftop, the revamped Keppel Infrastructure @ Changi, launched on Thursday, produces more than double the energy it consumes annually.

Its launch marks a milestone in the country's push towards a low-carbon built environment, said Minister for National Development Desmond Lee at the opening on Thursday.

Energy harvested from the sun amounts to over 600,000 kilowatt hours of renewable energy a year, which powers activities including the round-the-clock management of Keppel's district cooling plants across the island.

Planet-warming carbon emissions avoided as a result of the Keppel building's features are equivalent to the amount of carbon absorbed by planting more than 7,000 new trees, Mr Lee noted.

He said: "Our buildings contribute over one-fifth, or 20 per cent of Singapore's emissions... greening our buildings is therefore crucial to achieve our net-zero aspirations."

In February, the authorities announced that Singapore hopes to achieve its net-zero target by 2050 in a bid to limit global warming to below 1.5 deg C by cutting carbon emissions.

Scientists have said that crossing the temperature threshold risks unleashing more extreme heatwaves and destruction of coral reefs, among other climate change impacts.

Already, the world is experiencing impacts of climate change today, said Mr Lee, citing devastating floods across Asia.

As part of efforts to combat climate change, the authorities launched the Singapore Green Building Masterplan in 2021, with aims such as greening 80 per cent of buildings here.

While more than half of Singapore's buildings have better energy performance, more need to come on board, said Mr Lee.

"Indeed, we recognise that retrofitting an existing building for better energy performance can be more challenging, can be a lot more costly, than designing a new green building from scratch. This is why we launched an incentive scheme in June to co-fund retrofitting works to improve a building's energy efficiency," he said.

(From left) Keppel Corporation CEO Loh Chin Hua, Minster for National Development Desmond Lee and Keppel Infrastructure CEO Cindy Lim. PHOTO: KEPPEL CORPORTATION

Keppel Infrastructure @ Changi is one such example of an existing building that has been retrofitted with technology to tap renewables and become more energy efficient, said Mr Lee.

Retrofitting works between the end of 2021 and May transformed the decade-old building.

Upgrades included smart sensors embedded throughout the building that allow computerised systems to adjust lighting automatically and predict electrical failures before they occur.

Over the years, Keppel Infrastructure - owned by Keppel Corporation - will progressively add its water, waste and energy operations to the centre, said chief executive of Keppel Infrastructure Cindy Lim.

She also announced that Keppel Infrastructure will be signing agreements worth up to $100 million to provide energy services.

Earlier, Keppel Infrastructure signed an agreement with airport service company Sats to explore providing district cooling at its inflight catering and maintenance facilities in Changi North.

On Thursday, it also signed an agreement with medical equipment manufacturer Medtronic Singapore Operations to supply and install district cooling, solar energy installation as well as electric vehicle chargers.

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