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NUS establishes Centre for Integrated Building Energy and Sustainability in the Tropics to advance research in building sustainability and energy efficiency

19 November 2015 | Research
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Centre to collaborate with JTC Corporation, Keppel Land, Microsoft Singapore, and S3 Innovate Pte Ltd in joint research

The National University of Singapore 's (NUS) School of Design and Environment today inaugurated the Centre for Integrated Building Energy and Sustainability in the Tropics (CiBEST) to develop cutting-edge expertise in designing energy efficient and sustainable buildings in the tropical climate. Over a period of five years, CiBEST, which is based in the Department of Building, will receive funding of close to S$3 million to strengthen and deepen its capabilities to develop itself as a global leader in this important area that is strategic for Singapore as the nation makes rapid progress to become a Smart Nation.

In conjunction with the inauguration ceremony, CiBEST signed four Memorandums of Understanding with JTC Corporation, Keppel Land, Microsoft Singapore, and S3 Innovate Pte Ltd to conduct joint research in the areas of data analytics software, building energy efficiency, energy management and Smart Nation.

The inauguration and MOU signing ceremony was graced by Dr Teo Ho Pin, Mayor of North West District, as the Guest-of-Honour. The event, which also included a technical seminar, was attended by about 120 guests from government agencies, academic institutions, building industry and professional organisations and societies in the field of building and construction.

Professor Heng Chye Kiang, Dean of the NUS School of Design and Environment, said, "The establishment of CiBEST contributes directly to Singapore 's vision of becoming a Smart Nation, as smart buildings and facilities are integral to this vision."

He added, "Our Department of Building has strong expertise in areas such as building science and climatology, urban heat island and greenery, building energy analysis and benchmarking, smart buildings, thermal comfort and indoor air quality, energy efficient air-conditioning, building maintainability and green facilities management, as well as smart building materials. CiBEST consolidates and synergises these capabilities under one roof and accelerates the growth of these capabilities at the local, regional and international levels. We look forward to working with our industry partners to develop innovative and integrated solutions for smart buildings and facilities."

Helmed by Professor Chandra Sekhar and Associate Professor David Cheong as Co-Directors, CiBEST has been operational since August 2014. The Centre consists of two research clusters in Building Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Buildings. The Building Energy Efficiency Cluster conducts cutting-edge research in the energy efficiency of various types of buildings. The Sustainable Buildings Cluster conducts research in areas such as green and smart building materials and climatic assessment of urban spaces and buildings in a holistic way. The Centre currently has a team of 36 researchers.

Researchers at CiBEST conduct a wide spectrum of research projects with applications in the building and construction sector. Some highlights of the Centre 's research activities as follows:

  • A research team led by Professor Chandra Sekhar has completed the development and evaluation of novel Personalised Ventilation (PV) and Personalised Exhaust (PE) system that provides occupants with clean, cool and fresh air for enhanced thermal comfort and indoor air quality, and at the same time minimising the contaminated exhaled air as well as small droplets from spreading into the room. This novel system will have excellent application potential in healthcare centres and office buildings.
  • Associate Professor Lee Siew Eang and his research team are working on collecting real-time data of energy consumption in 60 NUS buildings to monitor consumption and promote energy conservation through the development of a building energy efficiency dash board. The dash board automatically collects and cleans energy data, and provides automated analyses including clustering study and performance modeling.
  • A team of researchers led by Professor Wong Nyuk Hien is developing a climatic mapping tool for estate environmental evaluation. This web-based tool aims to be useful tool for urban planners, as it is able to predict ambient temperature, calculate carbon storage and sequestration of trees, optimise building and urban designs and estimate cost implications.
  • Associate Professor Tham Kwok Wai is leading a collaborative research project between NUS and the Building & Construction Authority in Indoor Environmental Quality and Productivity in Green Mark Certified Non-Residential Buildings that aims to examine the impact that the Green Mark certification scheme has achieved towards indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and the potential contribution it could make towards enhancing the quality of work environments and productivity. The project, which commenced in January 2014, will contribute to enhancement of the Green Mark scheme.

Collaboration with industry partners

CiBEST will partner JTC Corporation and Keppel Land for test-bedding, evaluation, development and commercialisation of research and development solutions.

Mr Koh Chwee, Director of Technical Services, JTC Corporation, said, "This collaboration with NUS is a step towards enhancing our building energy management system capabilities across JTC estates and buildings. This is part of JTC 's commitment in driving sustainability in our developments. ' '

Mr Tan Swee Yiow, President (Singapore) of Keppel Land, shared, "Keppel Land adopts a proactive and holistic approach in the way we design, build and operate our properties to ensure that they harmonise with the environment as well as enhance the quality of life of the community. Through this research and development initiative with NUS, we aim to enhance overall building performance, including energy management, via data analytics and software development. With the implementation of innovative solutions to create smarter buildings, we strive to build a sustainable future for generations to come."

Microsoft Singapore and S3 Innovate Pte Ltd will be technology partners of CiBEST, offering the latest in big data technology and interfaces in linking buildings into an integrated campus network.

"The world we live in is one that is increasingly digitised for networked intelligence in the new era of the Internet of Your Things. In the urbanisation of cities around the world, we are also seeing more buildings being constructed each day. The collaboration between NUS and Microsoft for CiBEST will allow us to harness untapped data through the Internet of Things and create valuable insights by applying analytics and machine learning. These insights will allow us to make better decisions that will help cities be more resilient and sustainable, as well as progress Singapore as a Smart Nation," said Ms Jessica Tan, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore.

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