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New Standards for a Sustainable Singapore

  • Date
    17 Nov 2009
  • In This Story
  • Reference Number NTE/36/09

1. SPRING Singapore is stepping up efforts to strengthen the national standards and conformance infrastructure to help Singapore achieve sustainable development and greater energy security. For a start, SPRING is developing standards to support the national initiative to increase the use of alternative energy sources and raise energy efficiency. These include solar power, electric vehicles, green data centres and energy efficiency measures for buildings.

2. At the Quality and Standards 2009 Conference today, SPRING announced the completion of two new energy efficiency standards for buildings that will help to reduce energy consumption in Singapore. These standards support the Green Mark Scheme of the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), which promotes resource-efficient buildings in Singapore and targets to have 80% of Singapore’s existing buildings Green Mark certified by 2030.  Buildings are one of the Top Five energy consumers in  Singapore, accounting for 16%1 of the national total energy consumption. Both standards deal with air-conditioned buildings. Air conditioning typically accounts for half the energy consumed in a building.

3. The first standard is the Singapore Standard on Code of Practice for Mechanical Ventilation and Air-Conditioning in Buildings (SS 553). It sets out the requirements in air-conditioning engineering and mechanical ventilation practices to attain an energy-efficient indoor cooling environment. The second standard is the Singapore Standard on Code of Practice for Indoor Air Quality for Air-Conditioned Buildings (SS 554) which takes into consideration the comfort and health of the occupants in an air-conditioned environment.

4. Speaking at the event, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Dr Amy Khor said Singapore is well-placed to innovate and create sustainable development solutions with partners across the globe. “Our progress in this area is evident in our high quality living environment, clean air, sustainable water resources, greenery and urban biodiversity. We are a good laboratory for companies and research organisations to develop and test their ideas in an urban setting because we have skilled people with environmental management and system integration expertise,” she added.

5. The need for sustainable development is spawning new industries around the world. Hence, it is critical to develop common standards to establish common industry platforms to streamline operations, reduce costs and risks, accelerate improvements and support innovation. It is also necessary to ensure that regulatory requirements arising from these developments do not become new technical barriers to trade. SPRING actively participates in international standards and conformance fora to stay abreast of key global developments and be in a position to address the interests of Singapore’s industries.

6. Mr Png Cheong Boon, SPRING’s Chief Executive said, “Our robust and internationally-recognised standards and conformance infrastructure has contributed significantly to the development and growth of our industries and enterprises. For emerging areas like sustainable development and energy efficiency, having common standards provides a common language and allows industry players to work together to develop innovative solutions, thereby reduces costs and risks, and accelerates the development and growth of the industries. Such internationally-recognised standards will also help our companies market their solutions overseas.”

7. Some 400 people attended SPRING’s Quality and Standards 2009 Conference, which highlighted the importance of quality and standards as key enablers of enterprise growth for the emerging sectors. Mr Alan Bryden, the current Ingénieur Général in the French High Council for Industry, Energy and Technologies and the immediate past Secretary-General of International Organization for Standardization (ISO), was the keynote speaker. He shared on global trends in sustainable development and energy use, and the related standards and conformance needs of the industry.

1 Source: National Energy Policy Report published by Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI)

Fact Sheet on SS 553 : 2009 Singapore Standard on Code of Practice for Air-Conditioning and Mechanical Ventilation in Buildings

What is SS 553 and what does it cover?

SS 553 establishes the minimum requirements in design, construction, installation, testing and commissioning, operation and maintenance of mechanical ventilation and air-conditioning systems.

The standard helps companies to attain an acceptable indoor thermal environment in an energy efficient manner, taking into consideration indoor air quality, and maintainability of the equipment.

Why is SS 553 important?

Buildings1 constitute one of the top five energy consuming sectors in Singapore, accounting for 16% of our total energy consumption. Energy cost2 constitutes about 20% to 40% of the total operating cost for a typical building. By making buildings more resource efficient, businesses can save on electricity bills, thereby reducing operating costs.

Most of the electricity3 used in buildings in Singapore is for air-conditioning (40 – 50%), mechanical ventilation (about 20%), and lighting (15 – 20%). Used complementarily with SS 530 or Singapore Standard on Energy Efficiency for Building Services and Equipment, these standards can help businesses achieve 10% to 30% reduction in energy consumption. This translates into significant savings in utilities, which increases cost competitiveness for companies.

The standard also helps Singapore work towards its national goal of having 80% of Singapore’s existing buildings to achieve Green Mark certification by 2030. Introduced by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), the Green Mark Scheme aims to promote more resource-energy efficient buildings in Singapore. Reducing the energy demand of the resource-intensive building sector will contribute to the enhancement of energy security nationally. It will help Singapore develop in a sustainable manner, thereby increasing the competitiveness of Singapore in the long run.

Who uses SS 553?

SS 553 is intended for use by qualified personnel, architects, engineers, contractors and owners to comply with in matters relating to air conditioning and mechanical ventilation.

What are the key highlights in SS 553?

The revision of CP 13:1999 has aligned the general guidance on energy efficient and energy recovery requirements for air-conditioning and mechanical systems with national and international standards. It incorporates new maintenance requirements for air conditioning and mechanical ventilation systems given that good maintenance contributes to efficient energy usage.

The key changes include :
  1. Grouping of appropriate clauses into the main sections of air-conditioning system, mechanical ventilation system, auxiliary equipment, and operation & maintenance. This is to facilitate the user's reference to specific energy efficiency requirements for these systems.
  2. Alignment of general guidance on energy efficiency requirements for Air- Conditioning and Mechanical Ventilation (ACMV) systems with national and international standards. In particular, a new clause on general guidance in energy recovery for ACMV systems has been introduced.
  3. Expansion of clauses on maintenance

Who developed SS 553?

SS 553 was developed by a Working Group that included Mechanical and Electrical engineers, academia, regulatory authority, as well as, industry association and professional institutions.

During the development stage of the SS 553, the Working Group worked closely with the SS 554 Working Group, which addresses the specific indoor air quality concerns to minimise potential health hazards. The SS 554 complements the SS 553 by providing more specific and complete IAQ requirement guidelines.

1 Source: National Energy Policy Report published by Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI)
2 Source: Sustainable Blueprint published by Inter-Ministerial Committee on Sustainable Development (IMCSD)
3 Source: National Climate Change Strategy published by Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources

Fact Sheet on SS 554 : 2009 Singapore Standard on Code of Practice for Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) for Air-Conditioned Buildings

What is SS 554 and what does it cover?

SS 554 specifies indoor air quality (IAQ) that is acceptable to building occupants and minimises the likelihood of the occurrence of adverse health effects due to poor indoor air quality. The standard covers all types of air-conditioning and air-distribution systems.

It is applicable to all air-conditioned premises where air-conditioning is used intermittently or continuously, with the exception of residential premises, factory production areas, hospitals, polyclinics and laboratories. Environmental factors, which include thermal, physical, chemical and biological factors, are taken into consideration when developing the standard.

For the recommended minimum ventilation rates, the standard should be used in conjunction with the SS 553 which provides guidance for the design, construction, installation, testing and commissioning, operation and maintenance of air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation (ACMV) system.

Why is SS 554 important?

With Singapore’s highly built up environment and large number of people working in air-conditioned workplaces, IAQ has becomes one of the main occupational and environmental health concerns. IAQ refers to the quality of the air in an air-conditioned building or premises. Poor IAQ can cause ill health which affects productivity, comfort and well-being of building occupants and persons at the workplace.

Good IAQ helps to :
  1. Improve Productivity at Workplaces
    Better air quality improves comfort and quality of the work environment, thereby enhancing work productivity.
  2. Safeguard the Health of Building Occupants
    As people spend more time indoors, better air quality helps to minimise incidences of sick building syndrome and other building-related illnesses.
  3. Increase Competitiveness of Singapore
    The implementation of the standard will help to enhance Singapore’s image as a world class city to work and live in. It also supports the growth of local enterprises involved in the estate management sectors as it will help to build capabilities in indoor air quality control and management.

What are the key highlights in SS 554?

The standard specifies the IAQ parameters and acceptance criteria and provides information on appropriate measures to improve the quality of air in an air-conditioned environment.

What are some of the limitations of SS 554?

SS 554 does not apply to residential premises, factory production areas, hospitals, polyclinics and laboratories.

It does not prescribe specific ventilation rate requirements for zones that contain tobacco smoke. ANSI/ASHRAE 62.1 may be referred to if smoking zones are present.

The indoor air quality may not be acceptable to all people despite meeting SS 554, due to the following reasons :
  1. Diversity of sources and contaminants in indoor air;
  2. Other factors that may affect occupant perception and acceptance of indoor air quality, such as air temperature, humidity, noise, lighting and psychological stress;
  3. Wide range of susceptibilities and preferences in the population; and
  4. Outdoor air brought into the building may be unacceptable or may not be adequately cleaned.

Who are the users?

Users of the SS 554 include architects, engineers, consultants, contractors, equipment manufacturers/suppliers, facilities managers and building owners/developers.

This standard is useful to building owners, management corporations, building occupants, and those responsible for designing, operating and maintaining the building environment, as well as others involved in servicing the ventilation and air-conditioning systems.

The standard is expected to be referred to by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Workplace Health and Safety (WSH) Council, Building and Construction Agency (BCA) and National Environment Agency (NEA). Occupiers and employers are encouraged to use this standard to fulfill their general duties as specified in the Workplace Safety and Health Act.

Who developed SS 554?

SS 554 is developed by a Working Group which includes health specialist, engineers, academia, manufacturers/suppliers of air filtration products, as well as end users of the standard such as building owners and regulatory authorities.