Introduction: The need for enhanced sustainability
The Built Environment (BE) sector in Singapore experienced significant disturbances as a result of COVID-19. However, the pandemic presented an opportunity for the industry to enhance its workforce capabilities and adopt innovative digital technologies. As the demand for construction stabilizes, the government will collaborate closely with the sector to increase its ability to withstand future difficulties, including the significant risk of climate change. To achieve this goal, the Building Construction Authority (BCA) collaborated with the industry to launch the updated Built Environment Industry Transformation Map (ITM) in the previous year. The ITM aims to promote greater productivity, sustainability, and digitalization in the BE sector .
What is the Mandatory Energy Improvement (MEI) regime?
Currently, there are many existing buildings with poor energy performance in Singapore. The MEI will specifically target this group of buildings. The MEI regime will apply to the most energy-intensive commercial buildings, healthcare facilities, sports and recreation centres and institutional buildings with a Gross Floor Area (GFA) of 5,000 m2 and above.
Buildings that fall under these categories must go through energy audits and implement measures to improve their energy use intensity (EUI). The building owners will be required the maintain the EUI for a minimum period, which will reduce the carbon footprint of their building operations and lead to cost savings from reduced energy consumption. The BCA will conduct industry and public engagements regarding the MEI and will disclose further information when it becomes available.
How is energy use distributed in a building? Which areas use the most energy?
To improve the energy consumption of a building, one must first understand how energy use is distributed within a building. A local study done by the BCA in 2018 reported that mechanical systems, such as air conditioning and mechanical ventilation (ACMV), lighting, vertical transportation, etc are responsible for the bulk of the energy consumption in a building. In terms of proportion, the cooling system can account for up to 60% of the energy consumed and ventilation can account for about 10% .
These ACMV systems are also powered by a wide variety of equipment, such as pumps and fans. Fans, in particular, can account for up to 35% of energy consumption in a building’s ACMV system .
Therefore, reducing the energy consumption of a building’s ACMV system will be imperative in reducing the overall energy use within a building.
How to improve the energy efficiency of your ACMV system?
Applications such as air handling units (AHUs), condensers, cooling towers, fan coil units and others work in unison to keep a building cooled or ventilated. One other similarity is that all of them contain fans that help to move the air within the building. For older buildings in Singapore, many of these fans are driven by Alternating Current (AC) motors, which was the conventional choice. One of the quickest ways to reduce the energy consumption of these applications is to retrofit the AC fans with newer technology, such as Electronically Commutated (EC) fans.
EC fans are far more efficient due to a wide variety of reasons. For example, in previous AC fan to EC fan AHU retrofits done in the Southeast Asia region, we have achieved 25% to 50% in energy savings. This figure can be even higher depending on the previous efficiency of the AC fan system.
Why choose ebm‑papst fans?
ebm‑papst is one of the pioneers of EC technology. Since its initial development, ebm‑papst has worked tirelessly and invested ample funds into improving the efficacy of each new generation of fans. For example, in 2021/2022, we invested € 140.9 million into R&D.
In addition, we have designed our EC fans with various other considerations in mind. This includes but is not limited to lower noise emissions for better end-user comfort, a plug-and-play system for easy installation and compact designs for easy replacement of larger AC units.
To learn more about retrofitting your ACMV systems, click the link below.
Marketing Department of ebm‑papst SEA Pte Ltd
 “Strengthening Resilience of the Built Environment Sector for Next Bound of Industry Transformation”, Building and Construction Authority, 2023, Retrieved from https://www1.bca.gov.sg/about-us/news-and-publications/media-releases/2023/03/02/strengthening-resilience-of-the-built-environment-sector-for-next-bound-of-industry-transformation on 8th March 2023
 “Super Low Energy Building Technology Roadmap”, Building and Construction Authority, 2018, Retrieved from https://www1.bca.gov.sg/docs/default-source/docs-corp-buildsg/digitalisation/sle_tech_roadmap_report.pdf on 8th March 2023
 “Energy consumption breakdown for ACMV Systems”, Aircon Primer, 2011, Retrieved from https://www.nccs.gov.sg/files/docs/default-source/default-document-library/air-con-system-efficiency-primer-a-summary.pdf on 8th March 2023