Currently, 71 of the world’s tallest 100 buildings under construction are in Asia, and 79 of the 100 proposed highest buildings are in the planning stages here.
In Singapore, about 12 buildings are currently in various stages of design and construction, up to 2021. The city-state’s building sector plays a critical role in meeting its Paris Agreement emissions targets. Buildings are Singapore’s second largest energy consumer, using almost a third of the nation’s electricity. It was also identified as one area for energy efficiency gains, as studies show that commercial building owners and tenants share almost equally, (51 per cent vs 49 per cent, respectively) on energy consumption.
Today’s modern building facades are often as much as 80 per cent glass—but glass as we’ve known it is increasingly less compatible with the sustainability and energy efficiency goals now being mandated by governments to cope with urbanisation and climate change. These diverging interests will continue to be a challenge to countries combating the effects of global warming.
Technology, of course, is the answer.
While the sun can power solar panels and roof tiles to create sustainable energy, it can also have a negative impact on the energy efficiency of a building. Installing smart-tinting windows can reduce a building’s energy consumption by 20 per cent, on average, in comparison with low-emissivity or low-e glass, thus reducing the load on the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system. Energy savings are even higher when compared to glass without low-e coatings.
Smart-tinting glass dynamically changes between clear and dark, through the course of a day, based on data from thermal and light sensors, time of day, the sun’s position, and other data.
Integrating smart-tinting windows with the central management of the lighting system can also save about 20 per cent of a building’s energy consumption. For instance, the building management system sets a uniform illumination level throughout the day, which can be achieved with a combination of natural and internal office lighting. As the day progresses, glass tinting is adjusted along with the office lighting to maintain a constant brightness inside while at the same time, managing the heat gain and minimising the demand on the air-conditioning system.
Such fine grain control of the glass not only meets the needs of individual office users, but also forms the basis for total smart building management. It also provides a window of opportunity to identify areas for potential efficiency improvements to reduce costs while keeping an eye on occupant comfort.
With such smart-tinting glass technology in place, we expect to see greater industry adoption through our global joint venture with AGC Asahi Glass, making it an upcoming development to watch in Singapore and Asia Pacific as countries make a greater commitment to sustainability, carbon reduction, and energy savings.
If every new home, office, and skyscraper around the world were built with smart-tinting glass, the result would be a commendable reduction in the world’s energy consumption. If Asia is to continue to reach for the sky in construction terms, then such a move is surely close to becoming legislation?