Prof Markus Kraft expressed pride to be recognised by BCA when accepting the inaugural BCA Green Mark for Laboratories Platinum Award, the highest award rating, at the annual BCA Awards ceremony on June 13.

Singapore is continuing its pace-setting sustainability initiatives as the city-state’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) as it launched what is said to be the “world’s first” green certification program dedicated to the design and operation of laboratories during the annual BCA Awards ceremony on June 13. The program will be run through the BCA Green Mark green building rating system. Singapore is considered one of the cleanest and greenest cities in the world. The program demonstrates best practices for laboratories around the world, and one can hope that the program will serve as a template for other green building programs to expand their focus on labs.

Laboratories are characterized by having high receptacle load due to their specialized needs, the need for fresh air dilution to meet safety requirements, and long operating hours. These result in labs being highly energy-intensive, typically consuming about three to five times more energy than a typical office space, says BCA. The group also pointed out that different laboratories have different specifications and safety requirements, making it a challenge to come up with a holistic system to rate them all.

The new program, called the BCA Green Mark for Laboratories, recognizes the sustainable efforts and commitment of laboratory owners and operators to reduce the environmental impact of lab operations. It also complements the BCA Green Mark for Buildings program by encouraging laboratory operators to adopt best practices and optimize the operations of laboratory equipment and systems, while addressing the safety requirements for laboratories.

Inaugural award winners of the new program demonstrate best practices

The two inaugural Platinum winners of the new program are the National University of Singapore (NUS) Chemistry Lab in Tahir Foundation Building and the Cambridge Centre for Advanced Research and Education in Singapore (CARES) laboratory. The third winner that clinched the Gold award is A*STAR’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology – IBN Chemistry Lab.

The chemistry laboratory in the Tahir Foundation Building at the National University of Singapore (NUS) was developed to incorporate green designs, features and practices that make them environmentally sustainable. For example, localized exhaust was installed for critical heat sources to reduce ventilation energy. On-site energy recovery was also implemented to reduce energy required for specific humidity control. Situated in a BCA Green Mark Platinum-awarded building, these sustainable laboratories require much lower demand for utilities as compared to similar laboratories, while at the same time ensuring high standards for health and safety.

The 846-square-meter Cambridge Centre for Advanced Research and Education in Singapore (CARES) laboratory, housed within the National Research Foundation (NRF) Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE), contains collaboration labs for chemical and biological research in greener chemical engineering processes. The CARES lab was designed to take advantage of the CREATE building’s energy-efficient features. CREATE is also a BCA Green Mark Platinum building. Beyond that, the team also integrated a number of engineering and risk control strategies to deliver a functional, safe and energy-efficient facility as a common collaborative space for its extended family of researchers. These include the use of local extract ventilation (LEV) such as canopy hoods and fume extraction to reduce ventilation energy, and the use of energy-efficient LED luminaires for lighting.

“We have adopted a holistic approach towards designing the facility, from detailed discussion on the scientific needs of our different research programmes, strategies to address our specific lab risks and measures to reduce our facility energy costs. Our teams of consultants and contractors have delivered this project way beyond our expectation and we are proud that this team effort is now recognised by BCA for its inaugural BCA Green Mark for Laboratories Platinum award,” said Professor Markus Kraft, Director, CARES.


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