New Singapore Sustainability Academy champions climate action, sustainable business, and social change

Singapore Sustainability Academy is made from Cross Laminated Timber and glulam. Photo credit: CDL, VMW Group

Perched above City Square Mall, the new Singapore Sustainability Academy is reminiscent of a worldwide trend in managing the urban population crisis—constructing new wooden units above existing buildings.

The Academy however, is not a residence. Instead, the one-storey 4,300-square-foot space comprises classrooms, a veranda, an office, and an exhibition gallery.

It is made from cross-laminated timber (CLT) and glulam, all of which were pre-fabricated and then assembled on-site. (The timber is verified by the Nature’s BarcodeTM system as coming from responsible sources.) Wood is an ideal material because it is light; it minimises load on the structure. This method also raises productivity—in this case, by 30 per cent, saving about 130 days of work. It also reduces on-site pollution to a minimum, resulting in a cleaner and safer worksite.

The Academy is a joint project between City Developments Limited (CDL) and the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS). It was officially opened by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister and Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, in June.

The zero-energy building features about 3,200 square feet of photovoltaic panels which will yield over 60,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy, more than the estimated annual energy consumption of 50,000 kWh. The building also has an automation control and energy monitoring system that adapts lighting and air-conditioning to situations, providing maximum energy savings while maintaining full comfort.

Sherman Kwek, deputy chief executive officer of CDL, said, “Sustainability creates immense value for businesses, stakeholders, the community and the environment. It is strategically integrated into our business, from developing and managing green buildings to engaging and influencing stakeholders on sustainable development.”

Edwin Khew, SEAS Chairman added, “Our partnership with CDL for the SSA will provide a platform for the industry and community to learn and collaborate on sustainable development, as well as climate change and its effects.”

Under the Green Building Masterplan, Singapore aims to green 80 per cent of all buildings by 2030. It has also pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 36 per cent by 2030.