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Innovative Spaces at UWCSEA Dover: Retrofitting for the future

Kate Woodford, Senior Marketing Manager
23 December 2020

Retrofitting for the future

Both campuses have been awarded Green Mark Platinum Super Low Energy certification by Singapore’s BCA, recognising our efforts to maximise the sustainable design features of each campus. On Dover, many of these were incorporated during the 5-year campus rejuvenation, completed in 2016. A long-term commitment and significant effort saw existing structures (some dating back to the 1960s) retrofitted during the renovation, thanks to the efforts of our operations teams with support from our donors. Students are engaged in maximising these sustainable features, gaining valuable learning as changemakers in action.

A. AYE sports field

Using cork and coconut husk instead of recycled rubber means a significantly cooler and healthier playing environment, which is 100% recyclable. UWCSEA was the first organisation in Singapore to use organic infill for a sports field, an installation which was necessary to extend the days that the facility could be utilised by our learning community. 

B. Solar panel fields

Dover’s 1,572 panels generate approximately 500,000 KWH—equivalent to the electricity needed to power 125 units of 4-room HDB housing for a year. The student-inspired project kicked off with 63 panels on the swimming pool shelter and now Solar for Dover students are fundraising for a second installation on the High School building.

C. Cooling roofs and green walls

Integrated green roofing and vertical green walls result in less heat transmission to the building and more efficient air conditioning. Vine-covered walls provide a significant cooling effect and allow cross ventilation in non-occupied, non-air conditioned spaces (such as toilets and staircases) where higher temperatures from solar exposure are expected.

D. Natural light through clever design

Sunshades and light shelves bounce natural daylight deep into classrooms to reduce the need for artificial lighting. The unique 500m2 exam hall was designed with a light-reflecting acoustic ceiling and can be used without any artificial light. Roof-top solar tubes are installed in multiple locations to provide sunlight deep into interior spaces.

E. Retrofitting to reduce, reuse, recycle

The chiller plant retrofit in 2015–2016 used innovative energy saving design elements such as co-locating the chiller plant with the cooling tower, refurbishing existing equipment, efficient piping design and investment in web-based monitoring and management systems.

F. 3for2 energy smart office prototype

In optimal conditions, this allows construction of three floors in the conventional space of two without impacting occupant floor-to-ceiling heights. At the same time, it proposes to improve comfort of occupants and increase overall energy efficiency by a factor of two.

G. Recycled water strategies

Rainwater and AHU condensate collection from the Primary, Middle and High School blocks is filtered through a rain garden and used to provide irrigation water to around 50% of the landscaped areas. 

H. Food waste management

As much as 50 litres a day of fruit and vegetable peelings is turned into valuable compost for the campus gardens by student groups who separate and compost pre-cooked organic waste. Used cooking oil from the canteen is recycled by Alpha Biofuels.

I. Encouraging biodiversity on campus

A dedicated tree nursery raises native tree seedlings in collaboration with Singapore Botanic Gardens and also helped conserve existing trees during construction. The Flood Retention Pond has created a Biodiversity Wetland Area for educational use, and there are student initiatives tending rooftop vegetable patches and vertical gardens.

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