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German Centre recognised for its push to save energy

"We believe that energy efficiency is a must-do for a modern company today," says Ms Ravens.

THE German Centre for Trade and Industry in Singapore has been conferred the Excellence in Energy Management award this year for its good energy management team with senior management support and for installing a good system to monitor and optimise its energy consumption. It achieved good energy intensity improvement over the last two years - more than 20 per cent in both 2014 and 2015. The centre has been recognised for its efforts in implementing energy efficiency measures both for itself and its tenants.

The German Centre Singapore is a member of Germany's Landesbank Baden-W├╝rttemberg (LBBW) Group. Officially opened in June 1995 in Jurong's International Business Park, it supports German companies in their business ventures to Singapore and South-east Asia. As an incubator centre, the German Centre provides office, storage and conference rooms, and market entry support as well as business services. Companies can benefit from large networks of German and local companies, institutions and service providers. It is the meeting point for German companies in Singapore and a showcase of German efficiency. The German Centre Singapore is a partner of the worldwide network of the German Centres.

Recognising that energy is a controllable operating cost and that lower energy consumption decreases operating expenses and maintenance cost, the German Centre here adopted an energy conservation strategy in 2012. It recognises that fossil fuels are a limited resource and when used can lead to climate change. Thus, it aims to raise awareness of such issues, achieve world-class performance in energy efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of energy use.

Katharina Ravens, managing director, German Centre Singapore, says that improving energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective ways to address the challenges of energy cost, energy security and global climate change. "The most visible benefit for our company is that we not only save energy resources but also save energy and maintenance costs. Another benefit is that we play a role in implementing environmental standards, so that future generations can still live in a healthy environment with no further waste of natural resources. Germany has a good reputation with regard to energy efficiency and many German companies offer solutions in that field. Being a showcase of German companies, we want to set an example as to what can be done to promote energy efficiency in our own building."

The LBBW Group has a strong sustainability policy with regard to corporate governance, business operations, human resources, communication, and commitment to community. It stipulates the framework for all sustainability activities at LBBW and is the foundation for integrating economic, environmental, and social issues into the business activities as a whole. "Being a part of the LBBW Group, we strongly follow this policy and believe that energy efficiency is a must-do for a modern company today. Fossil fuels are a limited resource, and we have the responsibility to diligently use any resources in a cost-effective as well as an environmentally friendly way," explains Ms Ravens.

The German Centre Singapore has a dedicated energy management team led by the head of building management and has members from different departments. The team has strong senior management support to develop the technical skills and competencies needed to effectively manage energy use in the organisation, and has attended professional training programmes such as Singapore Certified Energy Manager (SCEM), Certified Energy Manager (AEE-CEM) and Green Mark Facility Manager (GMFM).

The centre's goal is not only to implement energy efficiency measures for its own building services, but also to encourage tenants to use energy efficiency features. For instance, for lighting, replacing inefficient fluorescent tubes with LED tubes in the tenanted areas would be a financial burden for tenants. To lessen this burden and encourage tenants to achieve energy efficiency in their offices, the centre absorbed the cost of the new LED tubes for every tenanted office in the building that needed to be retrofitted with energy efficient lighting, even though it would not directly enjoy the energy savings achieved. This resulted in great energy savings for the tenants and reduced their energy bills.

The energy efficiency measures carried out by the German Centre from 2012 to 2015 achieved energy savings of about 711MWh/year and cost savings of about S$177,692 every year. Over this period, the German Centre reduced both its energy intensity and energy consumption by 38 per cent.

Ms Ravens highlights some of the energy efficiency-improving initiatives taken at the German Centre in recent years and how it has benefited from them. A series of conservation measures were implemented in 2013 and 2014 such as the retrofitting of the chilled water plant and the upgrading of the building management system. The project has improved German Centre's chiller plant efficiency significantly over the past two years.

Ms Ravens points out: "We strictly adhere to LBBW Group's sustainability policy and are very sensitive about energy costs and waste of energy. We encourage all our employees to think green and would also like to set an example in our building. We also want to encourage our tenants to use energy efficient features in their offices such as energy saving lights.

"We are pleased and proud that the National Environmental Agency awarded us the Energy Efficiency National Partnership Award for 2016 in the Excellence in Energy Management category. The recognition from this prestigious award will encourage and motivate our company to enhance our efforts in regards of energy efficiency in our building. We see sustainability as a continuous process, and we will strive for finding environmentally friendly and cost-effective solutions in the German Centre."