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Reflecting its ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability, DSTA partnered the Army in designing the Annex Building of the Ordnance Engineering Training Institute Engineering School to achieve high standards of energy efficiency, while still meeting operational requirements.

For tapping only renewable energy sources, the building is one of the SAF’s first facilities to achieve a Zero Energy Building status, under the Building and Construction Authority’s Green Mark for Super Low Energy Certification. To enhance sustainability, the DSTA team also introduced Mass Engineered Timber (MET) for the first time in SAF facilities.

While MET is a renewable material and has a lighter carbon footprint compared to steel or concrete, DSTA had to address the concerns of using a building material that was relatively new in Singapore, as it was one of the pioneer adopters of MET construction locally. The team made sure that adequate measures were put in place to ensure protection against fires, termites and moisture, to maintain the material’s durability and strength.

Furthermore, the team’s use of MET sped up the construction process significantly as it supports the concept of Design for Manufacturing and Assembly, where a substantial portion of work is done off-site in a controlled manufacturing environment. With the use of MET for the accommodation bunks, construction productivity increased nearly two-fold while the required manpower decreased by a third, as compared to conventional reinforced concrete construction.

In applying MET, it was important for the team to plan out the building design upfront. This ensured that the various MET components could be installed coherently with other systems when they were delivered on site. Using Building and Information Modelling, the team pre-determined how the MET components could interact with other systems, such as sprinklers, water pipes, lights and power cables, to facilitate fabrication of the MET components.

In designing the building to minimise the use of electricity, the team adopted computational fluid dynamics to simulate wind flow, and optimised the building layout accordingly to tap natural ventilation and reduce the use of electrical fans. Solar light pipes were also introduced to channel sunlight into the building interior instead of relying solely on artificial lights. In pushing for greater energy efficiency in a cost-effective manner, the team explored methods for the building to generate sufficient energy for its own use. As a result, solar panels were incorporated to help save close to 253MWh of electricity every year – equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of about 54 four-room flats.

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An overview of the building's features to enhance environmental sustainability