Energy @ the Building Scale (E@BS)

This post is an Introduction, that leads to a chain of articles in the coming weeks, focusing on Energy @ the Building Scale. We felt this important scale merited further mention [an extension of ‘Part 4/5: The Red System (Energy), Singapore’ – Published: 28th May 2018].  These articles are also part of our effort to explore and possibly prove that ‘Passive strategies’ for Architecture are still vital for Energy efficiency and Sustainability in today’s world.

DPR’s Phoenix regional office – North and East facades; Sources: 1, 2

DPR’s Phoenix office cleverly combines passive strategies like Natural Ventilation and daylighting, with Active smart controls to create a Net Zero certified building that also acts as a Living Laboratory. Having achieved this in the harsh hot dry climate of the Sonoran desert, sprouts hope for Passive design.

DPR Phoenix Office – East facade ‘Shower Towers’ and operable windows; Sources: 1, 2

We at The Architecture Gazette are passionate about Passive Architecture and its potential. However, since the invention of the air-conditioned glass box [Part 2/5: The Red System (Energy), Singapore], coupled with harsher climate scenarios, stricter standards for productivity and efficiency, the Architectural community could question if Passive is still feasible.

The following articles and others to come, will be our effort to explore and possibly prove that Passive strategies, vernacular methods are still extremely useful and vital for Energy efficiency and Sustainability. We start by looking at examples from Singapore. Some buildings are using Passive strategies to not only reduce their own Energy consumption, but to positively affect their micro-climate, thus contributing less to the Urban Heat Island phenomenon.


The approach followed for this chain of articles is as follows –

  • Four building types are used – Industrial, Commercial, Residential and Institutional.
  • Passive Design principles are divided into two broad categories –
    1. Breathability
      • Vertical air movement
      • Horizontal air movement
      • Unit – thickness
    2. Integration with Green and Blue systems
      • Vertical green spaces
      • Horizontal green spaces
      • Site integration with green and blue
  • Five buildings are explored to see, how they apply consumption reduction strategies and affect micro-climate.

Air movement can aid to dissipate heat and improve micro-climate. The unit thick principle can help in natural ventilation and daylighting, thus reducing air conditioning and lighting loads. Integration with green and blue has a cooling effect on the surroundings, in addition to other benefits such as occupant well-being and health. This integration also aids to reduce consumption of energy.

building scale matrix

IndustrialCleantech One

CommercialPark Royal hotel and Capita Green


InstitutionalSchool of the Arts

We’ll leave you with this burning question –

Do you think Passive Architecture is a viable option in  today’s world?

Do let us know your thoughts, suggestions, other good examples you might have come across in the comments section. We would love to hear from you!

Thank you.

Meanwhile, look out for the Chain of posts in coming weeks, each focusing on one of our chosen buildings.

Segment 1/5: Industrial – Cleantech One

Segment 2/5: Commercial – Park Royal hotel

Segment 3/5: Commercial – Capita Green

Segment 4/5: Residential – Skyville

Segment 5/5: Institutional – School of the Arts


Graphics : All graphics are produced as part of a team project for M.Sc. Integrated Sustainable Design at National University of Singapore (Building Semester – Stage 1 – Complex Living Systems). Group Members – Gajender Kumar Sharma, Aditi Bisen, Huang Hongbo, Zhao Yanming
Text: Aditi Bisen


References/ Additional Reading:


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