CLIMB Towards Conservation

CapitaLand Institute of Management and Business (CLIMB) garners Green Mark Gold Plus for the conscious eco efforts made by the CapitaLand family

Issue: Apr 2011

Exterior of CLIMB
The building that CLIMB is in was gazetted in 2004 as a building under conservation because of its historical value

Few buildings in Singapore can lay claim to being green both inside and out like CapitaLand Institute of Management and Business can. Established in 2006, CLIMB is CapitaLand’s learning and development institute for its more than 10,000 global staff.

Housed in a two-storey, colonial-style, historical building amidst lush greenery on the resort island of Sentosa, CLIMB is a green building in every sense of the word. Because of its environmental practices of its occupants, in addition to its eco and conservation features, CLIMB was awarded the Green Mark Gold Plus Award by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Singapore. The rating is the second highest in BCA’s scheme to encourage sustainability in the built environment and raise environmental awareness among developers, designers and builders. CLIMB is the first conservation building in Singapore to be awarded with the Green Mark Gold Plus Award. Earlier in 2008, CLIMB achieved the Green Mark Gold Award. In three years, the widespread adoption of green habits across the CapitaLand family as they take heart to be green while bonding together and receiving training at CLIMB was recognised with the Gold Plus Award.

Staff attending courses at CLIMB use reusable mugs
Staff attending courses at CLIMB use reusable mugs instead of bottled water and disposable plastic cups for refreshments

Changing the mindsets and behaviour of the users of the building is one of the ways CLIMB remains committed to the green crusade. During tenders and quotations, apart from capability, vendors are also chosen based on their green practices or products. Service partners are encouraged to go for ISO 14000 certification, the standard for environmental management systems. Caterers who provide 100 percent biodegradable disposable utensils are employed. Even the cleaners are roped into the act. They are educated on energy and water conservation such as making sure the water hoses they use do not leak.

In 2009, bottled water was replaced with reusable mugs for staff attending classes at CLIMB. This helped to save more than 6,000 plastic cups in the process to-date. Staff at CLIMB recycle used flipchart paper as wrappers for library book dispatches to CapitaLand staff at other office locations. Recycle bins are also provided along the corridors of the building as a constant reminder to staff to recycle as well as to make recycling easy and convenient. Keeping CLIMB a green campus is obviously a shared responsibility.

Built for a Good Cause

The restoration of the building, built in 1937 to store the British coastal defense artillery, is also a testimony of CapitaLand’s dedication to the environment. To keep to the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) conservation guidelines of preserving the character, original design and architectural heritage of the building, CapitaLand brought back as much of the original building as was possible. The old façade with its details such as the doors, roofs and fanlights were reinstated after much research. Deep corridors reminiscent of verandahs of old were preserved. Existing roof tiles and timbers were reused and USG drywalls and ceilings recycled.

Low VOC (volatile organic compound which, when released into the air, pollutes it) and mineral paints were used to paint the building. Even the furniture and carpets used are environmentally friendly, being made from eco-friendly, recycled material.

In an effort to conserve not only the building but the manpower employed to do so, the project team used an efficient construction method. Steel truss for the roof was employed instead of conventional concrete. The pre-fabricated framework shortened construction time and also used less sand in construction material.

Rooms in CLIMB Photocell sensor installed on the roof of CLIMB to control corridor lighting
Rooms are compartmentalized and individually cooled to reduce energy consumption
Photocell sensor installed on the roof of CLIMB to control corridor lighting

Energy-efficient lighting and air-conditioning systems, high quality electronic control gear, high frequency electronic ballasts, dimmers in training and meeting rooms, multi-lighting zoning and switches, motion sensors and timers in all toilets to control lights and exhaust fans as well as photocell sensors to control corridor lighting were all set up. These combined with daily monitoring of energy usage have all helped CLIMB achieve an Energy Intensity Usage of 95.5kWh/m2/year.

In addition to technology, the campus was designed to conserve energy consumption by allowing maximum daylight and natural ventilation into the building so that the need for artificial lighting and cooling systems are reduced. Special double-glazed glass panels and frosted glass windows for toilets were also installed to keep out the tropical heat.

Green practices permeate the operation of the building. Lights are switched on only when needed in places like the library, Heritage Gallery, pantry and meeting and training rooms. Façade lights are switched on in alternate sets and building facilities are completely shut off during lunch.

To ensure water efficiency, water usage is monitored daily and only fittings that meet the “Excellent” rating under the Water Efficient Labelling Scheme (WELS) are used.

In place is also an innovative rainwater harvesting system to collect rainwater in an underground tank, which then delivers the filtered water for general washing and irrigation. The plants are irrigated only during the coolest part of the day to help reduce water loss through evaporation. In recognition of CLIMB’s efforts, it was awarded the PUB Water Efficient Building and Friend of Water awards in 2010.

Exterior of CLIMB with lots of plants
The greenery around not only helps to bring down the temperature of the building but also lends a tranquil atmosphere to the campus

Base Camp
The Base Camp or “chill out zone” at CLIMB which was created around the existing conserved trees on the site

Green Throughout

As part of the conservation and greening of the building, the landscape around the building has been carefully and extensively cultivated. Trees native to the grounds have been preserved and a “chill out zone” called Base Camp was created around the existing trees, incorporating them into the design of the green space. The total green plot ratio of is 3.5, which is higher than the average of 2.0.

To protect the ecological life cycles of the birds that inhabit the area, insecticides are banned during the breeding season between April and August and compost from recycled waste rather than chemical fertilizers are favoured. Little wonder than that CLIMB is rich in wildlife with peacocks, squirrels and a variety of birds roaming the area.

In the midst of the flora and fauna of Sentosa, this pristine white building, CLIMB is truly scaling great heights in its conservation efforts, from its construction to its design and ultimately, to its operational practices and the green mindset of its users.

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