This report focuses on Green Building in the modern world to the Singapore Polytechnic (SP) Learning and Sharing Festival Organising Committee. It also tells more about the types and features of Green Building.
A green building eliminates negative impacts from the way it is built, designed,operated and maintained as of a ‘common’ building. It creates positive impacts on the surrounding and also to our environment. It preserves natural resources with it surrounding without it disrupting the nature around it.
Figure 1: (Theenvironmentalblog.org, 2018)
Integration of Green Building benefits the environment, society and also the economy. This can be implied that it improves our quality of life. Green Buildings are unique as they are different throughout different parts of the world.
Refer to fig in the text
Information for this report was obtained from secondary sources such as Building & Construction Authority, World Green Building Council and National Geographic.
This reports discusses about the features of Green Building, advantages and disadvantages and types of Green Building
In this section we will discuss the features of green buildings in terms of the methods and materials that are being used by green buildings around the world.
2.1.1 Solar Power
Solar power works by using energy that is being emitted by the sun and this energy is known as solar energy. Usage of solar power is considered as green initiative due to various reasons and the fact that it does not emit any greenhouse gases during its stage of production and use is one of major reasons.
There are various ways to convert solar energy into another form of usable energy mainly through active solar energy and passive solar energy method. Active solar energy refers to the use of electrical or mechanical devices to convert solar energy into other form of energy such as heat and electricity. Passive solar energy make use of the sun’s heat and light during the winter but not in the summer without any external devices. Many green building uses solar photovoltaic technology also commonly known as solar panels, on rooftops to convert solar energy into electricity.
2.1.2 Wind Turbines
Wind Turbine is another great method of using natural resources to our advantage. Wind turbines convert kinetic energy provided by the wind into electricity as well as mechanical power by having large blades that are attached to a shaft which is connected to a generator.
In 2008, the first ever building with wind turbines was built and it is known as the Bahrain World Trade Centre. The turbines are expected to deliver 11% to 15% of the building’s energy needs. That is equivalent to providing light in 300 homes for over a year.
2.1.3 Vertical Garden
Vertical garden is extremely popular nowadays and it is common for it to be used on buildings. Vertical garden is beneficial for a building as it is able to cool down the temperature by acting as shade during warmer days. In addition, plants absorbs carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. This is extremely useful especially in heavily urbanised areas where there are high amount of carbon dioxide being emitted due to vehicle use. These vertical gardens not only benefit the building but its surrounding as well.
(Fantastic Gardeners Blog, 2018)
TioCem is cement that is able to convert harmful greenhouse gases such as Nitrogen Oxides into harmless gas and it is being used in Belgium and Holland. TioCem has similar properties to standard cement and as a result, TioCem can be used on structures anything from bridges, pavements and buildings. TioCem are able to eliminate up to 90% of harmful gases such as nitrogen oxides, aldehydes and benzenes during sunny weather and it can remove up to 70% of the pollutants when it is not sunny.
In addition, TioCem has been proven to have a significant impact on removing pollutants. In 2006, a two week study was done to show the effectiveness of TioCem by comparing the amount of air pollutants in the atmosphere in two different streets. One street had a regular pavement while the other had TioCem pavement. The result was clear for everyone to see how effective TioCem is. Below is the table of the result.
Figure 2: (Hanson.co.uk, n.d.)
Eco paint has been around since the early 2000s. However, most of us have never even heard of it or see the need for it. Normal paint contains high amount of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) and it is known to have a negative impact on human health. This is where eco-paint differs from regular paint as eco-paint has low amounts of VOC and it is known to be environmentally friendly. Eco-paint is as applicable as regular paint and it can be used on buildings as well.
3 Advantages and disadvantages of green building
3.1 Advantages of green buildings
Firstly, green buildings are energy efficient because it uses eco-friendly facilities, such as Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL). According to our research, CFL uses 50-80% less energy than incandescent lights. Green buildings use as much sunlight as possible. Another example of energy efficient facilities is Cool Roof. For a country like Singapore, which is hot all year round, cool roofing technologies are used to reduce the temperature inside the building. It will reflect sunlight away from entering the building, which will make it difficult for the roof to gain temperature. Thus, the building will not gain as much temperature as compared to other buildings without this technology. Also, it is environmentally safe to use cool roofing technology as it decreases the heat in the atmosphere.
Figure 3: Cool roofing (Caddigest , 2016)
Secondly, green buildings use water efficient facilities. Green buildings use fittings such as dual flush cisterns, which use a small amount of water to push waste into the trapway.
Figure 4: Dual flush cistern (Helpful Colin, 2014)
Thirdly, the overall cost of green buildings may decrease. Green buildings consume less energy as compared to other buildings as they use energy and water efficient materials and facilities. Therefore in the long run, green buildings may be able to save its overall cost. According to Environmental Leader, an expert wrote that businesses that pay the additional 2% for the green materials during the initial payment, will regain about sex to seven times of this initial expenses.
Also, green buildings do not pollute the environment, as they use eco-friendly materials such as bamboo. Bamboo does not have any layers that can be seen as waste. Thus, by using bamboos in green buildings will not pose problems such as landfill problem, and landfill problem is another rising issue in Singapore.
Lastly, green buildings can bring financial benefits to both country and global levels. According to our research, “Canada’s green building industry generated $23.45 billion in GDP and represented nearly 300,000 full-time jobs in 2014”, as quoted by Ottawa, On who wrote an article about how green buildings can be an engine for Canada’s economic growth.
Therefore, this shows that green buildings does indeed bring economic advantages to a country. With the global energy efficiency measures, it is estimated that €280 to €410 billion can be saved on energy spending. This amount is proportionate to double of the annual energy consumption of the United States.
3.2 Disadvantages of green buildings
Firstly, green buildings have high initial costs and it is difficult to get materials required for green buildings in Singapore. Singapore will have to import natural resources, such as bamboo that is mainly used in green buildings, from other countries. The lack of availability of resources will add on to the initial costs of the building.
Secondly,the facilities used in green buildings can pose health problems to humans. For instance, green buildings may cause indoor air pollution. As they are covered and sealed, it is bad for the health of residents in the building. As recycled products, such as plastic, contain harmful chemicals, which will emit toxins into the atmosphere.
Eco- friendly materials such as CFL discharge ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet radiation can cause many health problems to humans, such as eye and skin damages. In the long run, ultraviolet rays can damage our eye and lead to health problems, such as macular degeneration and cataracts, that are main causes of blindness. Also, CFLs are mainly made up of mercury. It is dangerous, especially to children, to breathe in the gaseous form of mercury and a faulty CFL that is not attended to within 24 hours can cause harm to anyone who touches it.
Figure 5: CFL (Sahul Trading, 2018)
Thirdly, architectural and technical problems will surface. People living in this building cannot adjust the temperature inside, as air cooling components like air ventilation cannot be controlled. It is dependent on the location and other facilities of the building, such as cool roofing technologies which help to reduce a building’s inner temperature by reflecting most of the direct sunlight away from the building.Without this technology, the inner temperature of the building will be relatively high during the day.
Lastly, there is chance of delay in construction for green buildings. The arrival of imported materials may be delayed, so it might postpone the date of completion for the building.
4 Types of green buildings in Singapore
As the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Sustainable Development (IMCSD) has set a target for 80% of the buildings in Singapore to be green by 2030, many buildings in Singapore are incorporating eco-friendly systems and products. These are some examples.
4.1 Prefabricated Extensive Green (PEG)
Housing and Development Board (HDB) introduced the PEG roof tray system which decreases the surface temperature and ambient temperature, at the same time act as a protective layer for the roof membranes. This system has been implemented in various HDB buildings around Singapore, for example at Block 93A Jalan Dua, Block 756A Bedok Reservoir View, and Block 410 Fernvale Residences. Figure 6 shows an example of the PEG system.
Figure 6 : Example of PEG System on Top of a Multi-story Car Park (Seisakukikaku.metro.tokyo.jp, n.d.)
HDB also developed the Verti.Gro vertical greenery system which is an example of vertical gardens used in buildings in Singapore. This system forms vertical green wall by manufacturing prefabricated steel mesh and climbers together with plant trays which allows natural daylight and ventilation to penetrate into the building. Examples of Verti.Gro used in Singapore include Ang Mo Kio Block 410, Nan Hua School, and Clean Tech One.
4.3 Zero Energy Building (ZEB)
ZEB is an example of the use of solar panels in Singapore. Located within BCA Academy, it is the first zero energy building in southeast asia. With various solar panels installed in different parts of the building,as seen in figure 7, it absorbs sufficient energy to operate by itself. It uses mostly photovoltaic (PV) cells which absorbs sunlight and produces energy by removing electrons from their atoms.
Figure 7 : Zero Energy Building at BCA Academy (Quantum Automation, n.d.)
Many countries around the world, including Singapore, have adopted different methods to increase the amount of the green buildings, such as the use of solar panels, wind turbines, and vertical gardens. Examples of types of green buildings that can be found in Singapore are Zero Energy Buildings and Verti.Gro. Materials such as Timbercrete and TioCem also contribute to green buildings. Although there are downsides to it, green building brings many benefits namely, they are energy and water efficient, and also eco-friendly.