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Electricity use down at MAS Building

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Green and smart designs, energy saving features were incorporated into the 33-year-old building's infrastructure renewal plans.

THE Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is another recipient of the Best Energy Efficiency Practices Award in the public sector category this year. Its building, completed in 1985, is an early adopter of energy efficient practices, being among the first to implement electronic ballast for its lightings.

Through concerted efforts by staff and support from management, MAS recorded a 23.5 per cent saving in electricity in the financial year 2017/2018 from the financial year 2013/2014 baseline.

Before attaining the Green Mark Platinum rating in 2015, the MAS Building was featured in BCA's inaugural Building Energy Benchmarking Report 2014 - Top 10 Offices (Government Buildings) category.

MAS embarked on a journey, starting in 2012, to rejuvenate its 33-year-old building to meet Green Mark Platinum rating. Green and smart designs and energy saving features were incorporated in the building infrastructure renewal plans eg lift & power upgrading, office renovations and central air conditioning system. To better manage these renewal plans and subsequent energy system optimisation, the MAS facility management team underwent training to acquire useful energy efficiency knowledge.

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The key energy improvement measures implemented are: energy- efficient central air conditioning system with 45 degree chilled water piping; energy recovery system for pre-cooling of fresh air; new controllable variable air conditioning system in office with constant heat map monitoring; AHU condensate recovery; and occupancy based lighting and ventilation control in toilets; energy efficient lighting (eg LED and T5 fluorescent) in offices; lunch hour light-off; smart metering for electricity and water consumption per floor; smart lifts; and three floors or less, take the stairs.

At MAS, staff are encouraged to contribute towards environmental sustainability by embracing "green" lifestyles and office practices. Some MAS staff volunteered in the Green Special Interest Group to organise energy efficiency and sustainability related workshops and projects for staff.

"MAS is committed to achieving energy efficiency and being a more environmentally friendly organisation. We want to do our part to reduce energy consumption and contribute in our own small way to slowing down the pace of global climate change," says Chiang Yew Choy, director and head, Property & Building Services Division, MAS.

"The biggest challenge we face in this endeavour is the age of the MAS Building. It was built in 1985 and there is a limit to how much we can do to turn it into a 'green' building, such as changing the entire building façade to further reduce solar heat gain or expanding the roof area to harness solar energy.

"Having said that, we try to tap every opportunity to conserve energy and resources. Each time the building systems and equipment are due for renewal, we consciously incorporate "smarter" and "greener" technologies. For example, we have incorporated smart lifts and meters, energy efficient chillers and pumps, heat recovery systems, and a building automation system."

During a revamp of its office spaces, MAS took the opportunity to introduce energy efficient air conditioning and lighting systems, including occupancy based lighting and ventilation, where appropriate.

"Adopting good energy management and conservation practices are only effective to the extent that employees embrace these practices and do their part. We continually educate our staff so that they adopt good habits, such as powering down office equipment after office hours, reducing printing of documents, and opting to take the stairs instead of the lift when travelling up or down three storeys or less," Mr Chiang adds.

The management support was also instrumental in driving these initiatives and empowering staff to make positive changes. Taking all the initiatives together, MAS managed to achieve energy savings of 23.5 per cent from 2013 levels without having to make major changes to building design or disrupting its operations.

"Improving energy efficiency is an ongoing journey. We need to ensure that we continue to do as much as we can to make a positive impact towards having a sustainable environment for all of us to live, work and play in," says Mr Chiang

The MAS has been building in-house capabilities in energy management competence since 2010. To date, one employee has been trained as a Singapore Certified Energy Manager by NEA, and four others have attended the Green Mark Professional and/or Green Mark Manager programmes conducted by BCA.

"Whenever there is an opportunity, we will apply our acquired expertise and skills to design and implement initiatives to enhance energy efficiency, eg upgrading power supply networks for our data centre and compressed air system," Mr Chiang adds.

As for plans for promoting energy efficiency going forward, he says that MAS will continue to explore areas in which it could further improve to help the MAS building to become a Super Low Energy Building (SLEB). To achieve this will require an integrated approach to optimise building energy use, including the use of more sensors to capture environmental data.

'We will also continue to galvanise staff support and encourage them to adopt environmentally sustainable practices as a way of life in the workplace," says Mr Chiang.

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