The island of Singapore has emerged as one of the leaders in the Asian energy market. This notion was further solidified, in my mind, a few months ago when I had the chance to speak about the future of energy management at the International Green Building Conference 2017. The buzz at the event was refreshing. Thousands of people from all across Southeast Asia, and beyond, gathered to gain insights into the steps that Singapore was taking toward greater energy efficiency.
So, what makes the Singapore market so interesting?
The country has been quick in implementing mandates related to energy and has set aggressive targets. In 2001, Singapore started the process to deregulate its electricity market which allows consumers the freedom to shop for the best deals available. It is expected that by the second half of 2018 everyone who consumes electricity in Singapore will be free to shop around for the best price in the market. Creating competition has kept energy prices under control and led to more customized price plans for commercial users. Since prices are low, energy consumers need other requirements and acts to reduce consumption.
For instance, companies in the industry sector must abide to specific energy management practices that include having an energy efficiency improvement plan in place &provides regular reporting of usage. On a national scale, and to meet Paris Agreement requirements, a goal has been set to make 80 percent of the island’s buildings carbon neutral by 2030. To accomplish this, the country plans to implement Southeast Asia’s first carbon tax. The proposed tax is expected to be between S$10 and S$20 a ton on emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases— this could translate to a price increase of up to four percent on electricity. Public meetings scheduled to be held in March 2018 will give more definition to this plan.
The landscape of having low energy pricing and pressure to meet specific sustainability goals, has created a demand for technology that focuses on reducing overall kWh used. This might not sound unique, but —within most regions— the focus is usually to reduce the amount spent on energy based on pricing and tariff structure. In the Singapore scenario, this could lead to reductions in actual consumption.
With Singapore’s climate being tropical and humid, there’s nearly a year-round need for air conditioning. Thus, HVAC presents one of the biggest opportunities for energy reduction and chiller optimization has become critical among building owners and facilities teams. Chiller optimization is critical to achieving better building performance and should not be viewed as a siloed technology that is separate from the building. A similar analogy is of a car whereby there are a lot of mechanical parts that work together to determine performance and ultimately fuel efficiency. Buildings operate in almost the same way. Building owners/operators in Singapore are beginning to embrace a holistic approach when looking at how their sites perform. They are learning how various systems within a building can impact HVAC performance and vice versa.
BuildilngIQ’s 5i platform is the unifying technology that can incorporate these systems, and various other variables, using its advanced modeling and machine learning capabilities. Creating models that outline a building’s thermal characteristics, usage patterns and occupant comfort, allows our cloud-based platform to understand performance on a building-wide scale. Using this model, our team of experts can visualize, analyze, and predict performance and turn into actionable control that ensures the building follows the best path to the greatest energy reductions.
I think it won’t be long before technologies like BuildingIQ become standard across Singapore, and other countries in Southeast Asia. Singapore’s deregulated market, its strong government mandates, and a shift to holistic thinking make it a prime target to disrupt traditional methods of energy management. And I think it will continue to be the foundation and pilot for forward-thinking initiatives and advanced technology.
Roy Arindam, VP of Sales at BuildingIQ, is responsible for direct and channels activities across South-East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He has an extensive experience across energy optimization technologies, building automation systems, integrated extra low voltage systems (IELVS- OBSI), energy metering and reporting solutions, fire detection and fighting solutions, and security solutions.