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NTU campus, a living lab for sustainability, gets greener

Walking the green talk, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is building the region’s first sports hall with a unique long-span timber roof structure that provides five times better heat insulation than concrete. This will reduce its energy consumption by at least 40 per cent.

The university is also building Singapore’s first high-rise buildings where whole rooms complete with internal fixtures are built at the factory and then put together on-site. This saves up to 40 per cent in manpower and 20 per cent in construction time.

These two new facilities are designed with sustainable features, in line with NTU’s emphasis on sustainability research and ambition to achieve a 35 per cent reduction in energy, water and waste by 2020 under its EcoCampus initiative.

 “NTU is well-known for sustainability research but we also put it in practice by designing our lush, green campus based on sustainability principles,” said Associate Professor Kwok Kian Woon, Associate Provost for Student Life.

To be ready in 2016, the new sports hall and residential buildings have already clinched the Green Mark Platinum – the highest award for sustainable building design in Singapore awarded by the Building Construction Authority (BCA).

Inspired by nature

apart from sustainable features such as energy-saving LED lighting and solar powered systems, the sports hall and residential building are designed to take advantage of their natural surroundings. Using computer modelling of the sun and wind patterns on-site, the buildings’ designers aim to harness natural winds so students will enjoy good ventilation with average wind speeds calculated at about 0.5 metres per second.

To reduce the need for air-conditioning, all rooms in the residential hall will have windows that reflect heat using a special coating, and louvres that shield any direct sunlight.

The sports hall will also have a similar feature, with two-layer walls designed for heat insulation on hot days. The walls will have special metal coils with cold water flowing through them. This cools the wind that enters the hall and removes hot air quickly through convection.

These eco features will save over 40 per cent energy and 30 per cent in water consumption, and also give students a unique sports experience. Students will be able to play badminton without any wind disruption from fans or the need for air-conditioning to stay cool.

Championing sustainable construction

Breaking new grounds in sustainable construction methods, the new residential hall and sports halls will soon become NTU’s new icons in sustainability.

Using an innovative wood construction method, the sports hall will have a continuous wave-like timber roof arching over 70 metres long. Not only does it provide five times better heat insulation, it also saves up to 40 per cent in labour costs.

Similarly, the prefabrication method used in the North Hill residential buildings, which is Singapore’s first “Lego-style” public high-rise buildings, saves up to 40 per cent in manpower and 20 per cent in construction time.
Whole rooms units complete with internal fixtures will be produced off-site, which ensures consistency in workmanship and better overall construction quality.

Much anticipated facilities

The new sports hall will double the seating capacity of the current one with almost 1,000 mechanised seats that can be retracted and turned into 13 full-sized badminton courts or three basketball, volleyball, and netball courts.

The three-storey sports hall will house a weights training gym, three activity rooms with floor-to-ceiling mirrors for aerobics and dance, two multi-purpose activity rooms, a VIP lounge, and an activity space for various student activities.

The new 13-storey residential halls will be a one-stop integrated hub with eateries, shops and common spaces such as rooftop gardens with BBQ pits, lounges and study rooms. It will accommodate over 1,850 students, and will house the campus’ largest fully-equipped gym, which is about five times the size of a four-room HDB flat. There will also be a new multi-purpose hall for various sports and activities such as badminton, basketball, and the popular inter-hall games.

Professor Kwok said, “As a residential campus, we focus on providing a holistic education for our students. Residential living and sports are important components of a vibrant campus life and provide opportunities for students to develop positive attributes such as teamwork, leadership, discipline, and confidence. “

The sports and residential halls are part of NTU’s campus master plan. By 2016, NTU will be able to house an additional 5,000 students on campus with hall places for almost 14,000 NTU students.

NTU is also set to become the greenest eco-campus in the world, with its aim to have a 35 per cent reduction in energy, water and waste by 2020.

About Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It has a new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.

NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).

A fast-growing university with an international outlook, NTU is putting its global stamp on Five Peaks of Excellence: Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, New Silk Road, and Innovation Asia.

The University’s main Yunnan Garden campus has been named one of the Top 15 Most Beautiful in the World. NTU also has a campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.

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