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DBS opens net zero building, retrofitted to include self-powered solar air-conditioning, exhaust fans

DBS Newton Green, which was retrofitted at a cost of more than S$5 million, is the first net zero building in Singapore by a bank.

DBS opens net zero building, retrofitted to include self-powered solar air-conditioning, exhaust fans

DBS Newton Green, the first net-zero building in Singapore by a bank. (Photo: CNA/Matthew Mohan)

SINGAPORE: DBS bank on Monday (Jul 18) officially opened its net-zero building in Newton - a first in Singapore by a bank.

The four-storey, 30-year-old building has been retrofitted to include over 1,000 square metres of solar panels on its rooftop, self-powered solar air-conditioning systems, exhaust fans and lamp-posts, and a slatted exterior made of bamboo to shade the building.

In addition, 10 per cent of the floor area that was previously air-conditioned has been converted to naturally ventilated spaces.

A net-zero building is one which consumes only as much energy as it produces.

Retrofitting works for DBS Newton Green, which houses more than 400 employees, started in mid-2021 and cost more than S$5 million, said the bank in a news release.

A portion of the cost was covered by a grant awarded by Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) under the national Green Buildings Innovation Cluster (GBIC) Programme to support the integration of green innovations throughout the development.

Before retrofitting works began, the old building consumed about 845,000 kWh annually, said the bank.

This is equivalent to the annual energy consumption of about 200 four-room HDB homes in Singapore. 

“We need to retrofit many more of our older buildings to improve their sustainability standards. This is more challenging than designing a new green building from scratch. The original development may not have been designed with sustainability in mind, making retrofitting more complex and potentially costly,” said Minister for National Development Desmond Lee.

Mr Lee was present at a ceremony to officially open the building on Monday.

“I congratulate DBS and its partners on transforming this building into Singapore’s first net zero building by a bank. Such teamwork between the private, public and people sectors is critical, as we strive to grow a more sustainable City in Nature.”

DBS Newton Green has been certified by BCA as a Green Mark Platinum Zero Energy development. It was also awarded the Singapore Good Design Mark 2022 for Sustainable Design by the Design Business Chamber of Singapore.

The building contributes to the national push to green 80 per cent of Singapore’s buildings by Gross Floor Area by 2030 under the Singapore Green Building Masterplan, said the bank.

It is a "significant milestone" in the bank’s journey towards achieving net zero operational carbon by the end of 2022, DBS added.

DBS CEO Piyush Gupta said that the choice to retrofit the building into a net zero development than to redevelop something from ground up was an "easy and obvious one".
“We see DBS Newton Green as a beacon for what the office of tomorrow should be. It is a living testbed for innovative sustainable technologies which can be scaled up not only to the rest of our offices, but also other organisations looking to green their footprint,” he noted.

“This we believe will contribute positively to Singapore’s ambition to become a leading regional hub for developing sustainability solutions as a new engine for economic growth.”

Source: CNA/kg(gr)


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