Hwa Chong Institution (High School)
Projects Competition 2015
sgbcnew.JPG Singapore Green Building Council
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Level
Upper Secondary
Category
Engineering Science
Group
12- 09
Project Title
Changing Palettes: An Explorationn of Green
Synopsis
We started out with a simple thought- green buildings. But what about them? How do they function differently from a conventional building? What are the common features installed to reduce energy consumption? We slowly learnt the topic to be a multi-faceted one, where there were 3 main stakeholders at hand: the environment, occupant and operator. As we read up and found out more, we realized that these 3 stakeholders work hand-in-hand, in terms of improving the entire green building architectural ecosystem since technological advancements have continually served their needs and better the system of operation in terms of cost, energy savings and improving occupant comfort.
At this point, we wanted to learn more about Singapore's green building field. How have we progressed? As a key player in the field located in the tropics, Singapore has pioneered numerous technologies suited to its climate and the effects and outcomes of these technologies are what we hope to establish in this project, through a balanced and synthesized approach.
Link to Web-report page
Click HERE to access web-report
Link to Video page
Click HERE to access Video
Mentors
Mr James Tan (SGBC)
Mdm Chan May Lun (Hwa Chong Institution)
Team Leader/Members

(Name & Class)
Reflections
Team Leader :

SHAUN LAYCOCK LEE TZ WEI 4H1
This project saw us working with Mr Mong from the Estate and Dr Chew (I/C Staffroom Redevelopment Concept) to recommend green features for Hwa Chong. Our project focuses on green features tailored for the tropics, culminating in a proposal for the staffroom- comprising information on cost, implementation and mitigation avenues to address operation weaknesses. To understand the green building architectural ecosystem- one that involves multiple stakeholders whose interests have to be considered for a sustainable green building model, we studied the impacts of green technology on the environment, occupant and operator. We collaborated with the Singapore Green Building Council, (with our liaising agent being Mr James Tan), to better understand the landscape of the field and technologies available. Through Mr Tan, we had interviews with architects like Mr Tan Szue Hann and embarked on site visits to BCA Green Mark certified buildings: BCA Academy Zero Energy Building- a test bed for green technologies and Republic Polytechnic- which helped us understand the long-term management process of green technologies, alongside their weaknesses (and mitigation efforts). In terms of knowledge acquisition, we learnt most at test bed, which allowed us to understand green features in specific domains: Lighting, Air Cooling, Temperature Control. Since the test bed focused on technologies suited for Singapore, we learnt about solutions that resolve or tap on the problems we face in Singapore such as that of Urban Heat Island effect and intense insolation. For instance with respect to the former, BCA has researched on paint coatings suited for rooftops and pavements. These coatings absorb less thermal energy, thus reducing radiated thermal energy. Furthermore, they help to reduce energy needed for cooling and increase comfort for people since their implementation result in the reduction of ambient temperature. For the latter, BCA has tested ways to bring in natural lighting to the indoor environment to reduce reliance on artificial lighting through equipment such as mirror ducts, which channel daylight through total internal reflection into the building. Our visit to Republic Polytechnic gave us a fuller picture of green building design performance in real-life settings since we managed to understand weaknesses of green features in their operation, and realised that the design community always works on the best case scenario when imagining future maintenance, and thus it is common for actual energy savings to differ between 50%-80% from theoretical expectations. Affectively, it is heartening to learn of the evolvement of the green building industry and how government regulatory bodies work together with corporate partners to seek improvement in the industry by taking the lead in testing new technologies tailored to reduce the impact of the built up environment on the natural environment, shown in BCA’s green building masterplans. One problem faced was how we initially fumbled for a definition for our problem identification. At the Prelims stage, we merely had a sketchy aim of integrating green features in school spaces. However, we did not know what type of features or for what purpose, since we had yet to identify aspects worthy for rectification. To solve this, we consulted the Mr Mong, and understood that lighting and air cooling efficiency had room for improvement. We then specifically worked on these aspects, capitalising on our knowledge derived from the test bed and proposing features that could allow energy efficiency improvement and increased occupant comfort. Another problem was the worry that the nature of our project might not cohere with the requirements of the category. STEM requires testing and implementation phases of proposed solutions, followed by analysis to determine feasibility of the solutions. Yet since we could not participate in any product testing, we could only utilise the testing results of BCA to prove feasibility of solutions in simulated real-life settings. Faced with such limitations, we made an effort to request additional information pertaining to energy efficiency and cost from the BCA personnel we liaised with. In addition, we met up with the category manager, Mrs Ng Siew Hoon, whom we expressed our concerns with. She suggested that we could bounce off Mr Mong’s opinions on the green features for the evaluation process to present a more balanced stance on these green features and to give qualitative backing to the evaluation. Milton and I are heartened to have the support our mentor, external partners, estate department, Dr Chew and our category manager throughout the project. We have done our best in solving the problems we encountered and are pleased with the results of the solutions we had. Still, should logistics and time permit, our project could have been backed up with quantitative data to provide a balanced view of the lighting and air cooling problems in the staffroom.
Group Members :

WONG TZE SHENG, MILTON 4H1
Shaun and I embarked on this project to explore green technology, being individuals very interested in the mechanisms that really are at the forefront of Mankind’s fight with the potential devastation of the environment. More optimistically, we hoped for green technologies to be implemented right here in Hwa Chong Institution, where we could see first hand attempts at doing our part to save the environment, by promoting efficient energy use while looking out for occupant’s comfort. This culminates in a proposal for the Hwa Chong Institution Estate Department, documenting the green technologies Hwa Chong could look into implementing. Of course, to produce such a proposal needs hard work. We conducted Environment Impact Assessments, in-depth reviews and analysis on green technology and features, and site visits to study the effects of green technology implementation, the rationale for implementation, and to have a first-hand experience to see how the environment has been modified to reduce the environmental footprint, amongst many other research processes. I guess I really loved the site visits because it gave me an eye opener to what people are doing to save the environment and it is all really cool! Undoubtedly, I have learnt and grown in the process. In terms of knowledge, I have learnt so much about green technology, especially in the site visits (and more notably, that of the BCA’s Zero Energy Building). The BCA Zero Energy Building was essentially a testbed for green technologies, and the many exhibitions and real-life instalments was really inspiring and intriguing to me, as I was exposed to so many creative yet effective technologies like mirror ducts, solar panels, landscape greenery and much more. Hence, in the cognitive domains, I grew by understanding how green technologies worked, which we later applied to the Hwa Chong context (taking into account structural limitations, costs etc). We further analysed our proposal and finally evaluated the various proposed technologies (which helped us further eliminate some technologies that were ultimately decided to be too unfavourable for recommendation). In the affective domain, I guess it was really about appreciating the idea that we live in a heavily urbanised environment, one that would soon bear the brunt of climate change, and there was hence a need to align ourselves with the shift towards sustainability in terms of environmental usage and impacts through the use of green technology. It was really heartening to see that the government and so many learned individuals are coming together in the green technology circuit in Singapore to come up with ways to save the environment. I guess one of the main problems Shaun and I encountered in this project was to tackle the science part of the category. We were, after all, taking a more humanities slant in a rather science-heavy category. This meant that while other groups were talking about the results they got from their experiments, we could only present on our more theoretical findings on green technology. Also, when other groups could do the evaluation of our results, we were stuck as to what we would present on. This kind of made me feel very worried and empty, to think that we were not able to put up much of a presentation. To tackle this problem, Shaun and I consulted Mdm Chan, our mentor, who pointed us to the direction of consulting our external mentor, Mr James Tan of the Singapore Green Building Council, to see if we could get access to some green technologies or first-hand research experience. Sadly, we were not allowed to do so. Mdm Chan also suggested consulting all the other experts that we have met along to way to gain as much technical knowledge which would prove useful, all of which we darted to get done. It is worth mentioning how there was thought that we do a model, but after some thought on how it was difficult to nail the technicalities in the construction of the model, as well as how it does not help to prove any science beyond being a wonderful visual aid, we scrapped that idea as well. Shaun and I also had the fortune to meet the category manager of STEM one afternoon, who suggested we could do our “Results and Evaluation” by bouncing off our ideas on the individuals who are in charge of Estate and the redevelopment of the staffroom, Mr Mong and Dr Chew. This would help to value-add the work that we were doing, and give more qualitative backing of our project, which we did. I guess the way we tackled the problem was adequate, and I am proud of such. But I guess the judges really wanted some quantitative data, which would be near impossible to gain because we can’t exactly say that green features would help because we cannot possibly implement those features yet. Perhaps we should have done some testing in the staffroom, eg. to prove stuffiness, but we didn’t do it thinking it didn’t exactly prove the logical effect of our project, but more of the backing of the problem.