Jurong Lake District largest mixed-use business district outside city centre to get centralised cooling system

Jurong Lake District is the latest of three districts here slated to get district cooling. PHOTO: SP GROUP

SINGAPORE - A centralised cooling system will be rolled out at Jurong Lake District with the authorities calling for proposals later this year.

Making this announcement on Wednesday (April 20) at an event marking the expansion of the world’s largest underground district cooling network in Marina Bay, Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said a study called in 2016 to consider the feasibility of district cooling at Jurong Lake has concluded and a request for proposal for the district cooling system operator will be made later this year.

“This district will be the largest mixed-use business district outside of the city centre, and we aim to make it a model for urban sustainability in the future,” said Mr Lee.

This comes as Singapore strives to implement such technology more widely to make buildings more energy-efficient, reducing carbon emissions.

Worldwide, district cooling has been touted as a sustainable solution to meeting cooling needs by relying on centralised chiller plants to supply chilled water to clusters of buildings, doing away with the need for members of the network to purchase and maintain their own plants. By sharing the load of cooling and optimising energy consumption, building clusters can lower energy usage and carbon emissions, and save costs.

Mr Lee said: “This will help us achieve net-zero emissions as soon as possible, since buildings contribute over 20 per cent of our total carbon emissions.”

Jurong Lake District, touted as the second Central Business District, is the latest of three districts here slated to get district cooling - the other two being Tampines and Tengah.

Mr Lee said: “Mixed-use districts such as the Jurong Lake District can reap even more benefits from district cooling because the different types of building users will tend to tap the cooling system at different times of the day.”

Commercial and industrial buildings, for instance, may require more cooling during working hours, while residential buildings may rely on cooling more in the evenings, after residents have returned home.

“Cooling demand is thus more spread out across the day in mixed-use districts, which lowers peak demand and increases overall energy efficiency,” he added.

Meanwhile, five future developments will be added to the underground cooling network at Marina Bay district bringing sustainable cooling further into the city centre.

NS Square and the fourth tower at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) are among the new developments to be connected to the district cooling network, which will comprise a total of 28 buildings, said SP Group on Wednesday (April 20).

The upcoming NS Square will replace the Marina Bay floating platform, and is due to be completed by 2026; the MBS integrated resort expansion, which the fourth tower is part of, has been reported to be on track for completion in the same year.

The other three buildings to be connected to the network are: 8 Shenton Way, also known as the former AXA Tower, the commercial component of 80 Anson Road, also known the former Fuji Xerox Towers, and IOI Central Boulevard Towers.

A district cooling network supplies the cooling needs of buildings using centralised chiller plants, doing away with the need for members of the network to purchase their own plants. By sharing the load of cooling and optimising energy consumption, members lower carbon emissions and save costs.

The future expansion comes as Singapore moves to lower carbon emissions to net zero by or around 2050, according to a recent report commissioned by the Energy Market Authority, which identified district cooling as a means of reducing electricity usage.

SP Group's network is projected to help the Marina Bay district reduce carbon emissions by almost 20,000 tonnes annually, which is the equivalent of removing about 17,700 cars off the roads, while providing the same level of cooling comfort.

More than 2km of underground insulated pipes will be added to the network to supply chilled water to new partners by around early 2025, SP Group said.

A water chiller pump in SP Group’s district cooling plant 2 at Marina Bay Sands. PHOTO: THE BUSINESS TIMES

Commencing operations in 2006, the Marina Bay district cooling network was first set up with one chiller plant in One Raffles Quay before expanding to another in MBS, located about 25m below the surface, and a smaller satellite plant in One Marina Boulevard.

There has been no supply interruption since the network started, noted Mr Lee.

With no need to invest in their own chillers, building owners are expected to save on equipment, operating and maintenance costs, thus reducing the total cost of ownership by up to 15 per cent, said SP Group.

On Wednesday, owners of the five future buildings affirmed their commitment to joining the network.

Mr Chia Ngiang Hong, group general manager of City Developments Limited (CDL) that will run a commercial building at 80 Anson Road, said: "This partnership reaffirms our support of global climate action and commitment to achieve net-zero operational carbon emissions by 2030 for all our wholly owned assets and developments under direct operational and management control."

Beyond these buildings, SP Group has ambitions to extend the network to the neighbouring Central Business District.

NS Square and the fourth tower at Marina Bay Sands are among the new developments to be connected to the district cooling network. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Currently, it is looking to install thermal storage tanks to raise the network's energy storage capacity, allowing more to join the network.

SP Group is also studying the feasibility of M Hotel Singapore, a hotel under the CDL group, being the first brownfield hotel development - a building that is on an already developed site - to incorporate district cooling in its operations.

Said SP Group's chief executive officer Stanley Huang: "With the expanded infrastructure in place, we are pleased to extend the same reliable and sustainable solution to other buildings in Singapore's core financial district, and look forward to welcoming more partners to this network. Together, we can accelerate the development of greener buildings and cities to achieve Singapore's ambitious sustainability targets."

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