The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) has brought together international and local engineers, architects, developers and building solutions providers to help develop and test green building technologies.
As its name suggests, the Pre-Project Innovation Consortium (PPIC) will commit to finding sustainability solutions outside the confines of projects and ahead of demand. A particular focus will be on technologies suitable for tropical environments. It is the first consortium of its kind in the building industry worldwide.
The idea behind the concept is that the integrative design process will accelerate the building innovation cycle and enable the country to lead the commercialisation of green building technologies.
One particular area of interest is to use Singapore as a Living Lab to test the use of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). This technology was developed using Austrian-imported wood. It therefore needs to be adapted to suit Singapore’s hot and humid climate using regionally-sourced wood, customised coatings and adhesives.
CLT provides a number of benefits to the design and construction process. Wall, floor and roof elements can be pre-cut in the factory to any dimension and shape. The material offers excellent thermal, acoustic and fire performance. And, of particular interest to PPIC, buildings made from CLT also have a very low carbon footprint because carbon absorbed during the trees’ growth is locked away inside the wood used to make the panels.
“Singapore is well positioned to serve as a Living Lab where companies can develop, trial and commercialise innovative urban solutions in a real- life setting, before scaling up for regional markets,” said EDB managing director Yeoh Keat Chuan.
BCA chief executive officer Dr John Keung noted that PPIC highlights the importance of taking sustainability into account right from the outset of the construction process.
“Incorporating the fundamentals of sustainability at the pre – project design and planning stage will lead to cost- effective and high performance green buildings,” he said.
The first two consortia are led by Singapore-based DP Architects, New Zealand-based engineering consultancy Beca and Australian property developer Lend Lease. They intend to spend S$10 million in research over the next three years.
“The PPIC initiative will greatly facilitate access to manufacturers of innovative building materials with established R&D facilities in Singapore,” said DP Architects CEO Francis Lee. “This will accelerate the process to bring new solutions to realisation.”
Companies participating in these two consortia include 3M, Asahi Glass Company, Bosch, Holcim, Johnson Controls, Philips Lighting and United Technologies’ Building and Industrial Systems, with discussions underway for more industry players to join in.
The EDB said students and faculty from the National University of Singapore at the Departments of Architecture and Building, School of Design and Environment, will also take part in the PPIC by “developing commercially viable green building solutions for the future in their upcoming research partnership with Lend Lease’s consortium.”
Lend Lease was responsible for developing, constructing and managing the world’s tallest timber apartment and Australia’s first 6-star Green Star rated community centre.
“We are excited to introduce Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) to Singapore,” said Lend Lease CEO – Asia, Rod Leaver. “CLT could revolutionise the built environment in Singapore by delivering a quantum leap of up to 40% improvement in construction productivity, in a sustainable way.”
The initiative complements the launch of Singapore’s third Green Building Masterplan.