New innovation centre to boost smart campus initiative

The new OpenBlue Innovation Centre by Johnson Controls at NUS SDE4 (Photo: Johnson Controls)

A new facility has been set up at the net-zero energy building at NUS Design and Environment (SDE). The OpenBlue Innovation Centre is a $50 million facility by Johnson Controls, a global leader for smart and sustainable buildings, to create a future-ready built environment for Singapore and the region.

The Centre, supported by the Economic Development Board, is the latest to be housed at SDE4, which serves as a living laboratory to demonstrate and explore human-centric and integrated sustainable developments with public agencies and industry partners. Other facilities at SDE4 include the 3D Scanning Laboratory, Green Building Technologies Lab, NUS-CDL Smart Green Home, and Urban Greenery Lab.

The NUS Kent Ridge Campus will serve as a testbed for a new breed of customisable, contact-free applications built on Johnson Controls’ OpenBlue platform. Together with its ecosystem of partners, which includes NUS and Microsoft, the Centre is pioneering the use of a common configuration language that bridges core building technology, as well as behavioural, wellness and spatial data to develop solutions that meet new demands for safety and sustainability in connected spaces.

Professor Yong Kwet Yew, NUS Senior Vice President (Campus Infrastructure), said, “NUS and Johnson Controls had collaborated on several campus projects and we are therefore very excited to extend our partnership through these new initiatives which are part of our Smart, Safe and Sustainable Campus strategies. The opportunity to test Johnson Controls’ novel solutions on our campus and conduct joint research will help advance our ongoing efforts to build smarter, healthier and sustainable work, teaching and learning spaces for our staff, faculty and students.” 

In 2008, the University had appointed Johnson Controls to implement a converged campus building management solution for NUS University Town. UTown achieved the Green Mark District Award, the first for NUS, in 2010. Johnson Controls had also introduced different technologies, in the past 10 years, to enable the precinct to achieve energy savings of 20 per cent. The latest remote maintenance capability introduced at UTown has also proven to be practical and crucial during the current pandemic.

The Centre is expected to have more than 100 employees within four years, with strong focus on talent development with NUS at both the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. There will also be opportunities for collaboration on teaching and internship programmes. A key area of partnership with Johnson Controls also includes joint research and innovation in the areas of built and urban environment, particularly in data analytics, sustainability and operations, as well as people and wellness.  

Professor Lam Khee Poh, Dean of NUS Design and Environment, said, “We are thrilled to host the Johnson Controls OpenBlue Innovation Centre in SDE4 and to facilitate cross-disciplinary research and development initiatives across the entire NUS community. This partnership strengthens the School’s ‘Well & Green’ vision that emphasises a people-centric integrated design approach that generates sustainable and resilient value propositions in its endeavours.”

Mr Visal Leng, President, Building Solutions, Asia Pacific, Johnson Controls, said, “The Johnson Controls OpenBlue Innovation Centre embodies our approach towards building dynamic and resilient spaces, injecting new lease of life into the built environment sector. Taking an unprecedented holistic and human-centric methodology, we are incorporating people and design perspectives, thus sparking greater innovation within industries and outside traditional boundaries.”


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