NUS breaks ground on its first Net-Zero Energy Building

The National University of Singapore’s extension for the School of Design & Environment will be an outstanding net-zero energy building in the Tropics. With a gross floor area of 8,500 m² the five-story building will accommodate labs, design studios and workshops for the school of architecture, interior, landscape and product design. As a school with an emphasis on energy-efficient technologies, the extension had to embody the principles it espoused and had to be an example to the students, faculty and extended design community.
Transsolar guided the design team through the process of seven design charrettes to create a building that serves the various programs and at the same time is comfortable and energy efficient. To do so Transsolar supported the design with simulation tools for thermal comfort, daylight, glare and energy as well as with measurements of thermal comfort.
This resulted in a contemporary architecture design which demonstrates a deep understanding of the tropical climate of Singapore. The design incorporates a large overhanging roof, which together with the West and East facades shade it from the sun’s heat and provide a cooler interior. An optimized building design enables efficient cross ventilation and good exposure to daylight. Integral to the concept of net-zero energy consumption is the need to rethink conventional air-conditioning, which typically accounts for up to 60% of a building’s total energy load in a tropical country. This resulted in the design of an innovative hybrid cooling system which ensures that rooms would not be overly-cooled. Rooms will be supplied with cool air at higher temperatures + humidity levels than a conventional system and this is augmented with elevated air speeds from ceiling fans. Weather permitting, rooms can also be opened to natural breezes, and air conditioning is used only where it is needed, reducing the electricity usage of the building. 1,200 solar PV panels installed on the roof harvest enough solar energy to cover the building’s demand. Energy from the power grid supports on days with insufficient solar energy, however the net amount taken from the grid over the course of a year will be zero - achieving net-zero energy consumption.

Transsolar would like to thank Serie Architects, Multiply Architects and Surbana Jurong for the successful collaboration and Prof. Heng Chye Kiang, Dean of SDE for the trust in the design.
> official press release