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Property showcase: Green architecture (Designing for tropical climates) - Features that we love

With the growing shift towards the inclusion of green credentials in buildings, Singapore has been leading the way in sustainable development. As the main obstacle is the initial construction cost, some developers have taken to upgrading older buildings. According to a study by the Urban Land Institute, retrofitting systems could cut energy costs by 15% to 35%, subject to the level of investment.

With the pressure from government regulations, as well as a higher demand for environment construction, greenfield developments will need to become green developments. Melissa Baker, senior vice president of LEED Technical development at U.S. Green Building Council is a strong advocate: “Apart from the obvious environmental benefit, going green in real estate investment also offers significant operating cost savings, shorter payback periods and an overall increase in the asset value.”

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If retrofitting is the desired objective, we have found some beautiful and practical features that one can implement:

Green Gardens | Not just pretty things to look at

Beyond decorative planting, the popular trend of building sustainable features, like sky gardens, has shown to reduce carbon dioxide and pollutants and humidity in its surrounding area. Attracting the growth of fauna like bees and birds, these are tangible benefits that add to our quality of living. Mr Hassell of WOHA Architects envisions an entire district of buildings with clusters of sky gardens where one could bird-watch.

It is entirely possible as the 36-storey Newton Suites development with cantilever sky gardens exceeds 130 percent of the site was achieved within a standard commercial budget. Wouldn’t that be a dream come true, where urban concrete and nature meld together so effortlessly?

Be Shaded by a Canopy of Solar Panels

With fresh breeze caressing our skins, the canopy of the South Beach remains several degrees cooler than the exposed streets in the blistering sun. Shaded from the heart by a solar-paneled covered canopy, such energy-efficient buildings are driving positive change at decarbonising cities.

Another top favourite of ours: Paris-based Vincent Callebaut Architecture marries vegetation and solar panels. The roof is layered with solar panels and shades its green rooftop terraces. This conserves energy needed to cool its mixed-used complex.

Stay Cool with Water Features

Water features can be collected and recycled to reduce water waste. Designed by Safdie Architects, Jewel Changi Airport is made out of unique material that reduces the dependence on air-conditioning to cool its interiors. Other applications of water features also extend to using rainwater to irrigate gardens within the development. Developments that harvest and reclaim water, such as the ParkRoyal Collection Pickering & the filigreed roof and veil, as well as reflective pools in National Gallery Singapore, are noteworthy examples to study.

What’s your favourite green feature? We would love to hear from you. Connect with us on Instagram!

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