The Building and Construction Academy (BCA) Zero Energy Building is an experimental project for the exploration of future energy use strategies and green education programmes in tropical climates. An extensive renovation has converted a three-storey institutional building into an energy self-sufficient school and workplace.
The project works twofold to achieve net-zero energy consumption and generate 100% of the institution’s energy needs by means of solar power. First, passive systems are implemented to reduce building cooling loads. Secondly, these are supplemented by intelligent active feedback systems that require minimal dependence on natural resources.
Passive design moderates the building’s solar heat gain and natural ventilation by means of green walls, a green roof, shading devices, low-E glass, solar film coatings, and composite wall panels. Meanwhile, mirror ducts and a system of light shelves, pipes and tubes carry natural daylight deep into the building’s spaces, and an exhaust system channels hot air from each level through the building’s walls and roof to be dispelled by an exhaust chimney.
A Building Management System functions as an active feedback mechanism, monitoring real-time continuous data streams to maintain user comfort and minimal power usage. It utilises photovoltaic panels to generate 100% clean renewable energy. So that none of this energy is wasted, any excess power is distributed to the BCA Academy campus or into the city grid.
The Zero Energy Building contains offices, research laboratories, classrooms and an open hall for larger functions. A visitor centre performs as a community educational facility, showcasing the technologies and strategies incorporated into the green building’s design.