NUS aims to develop an excellent infrastructure through the adoption of sustainable master planning, design and construction principles.
NUS’ Master Plan is anchored in a vision of a vibrant campus that provides an integrated sustainable living-learning experience for its students and staff. The Master Plan consists of a series of systems plans addressing building and land use, landscape structure, access and circulation, and housing and sustainability strategies. The sustainability strategies, in particular, recommend balancing integrative design and efficient use of space; optimising architectural designs for day lighting while minimising solar heat; as well as leveraging natural ventilation for circulation and open communal spaces. Other best practices and green features include enhancing the natural systems through existing slope and habitat preservation, implementing best management practices to introduce water by filtration, and improving alternative means of access.
The master planning process emphasises respect for natural resources, adapting to climatic conditions, and setting new standards for building performance. By living and learning in an environmentally-conscious setting, the NUS community of staff and students learn to consider the impact of everyday decisions, carrying the principles of sustainability beyond the confines of the University campus and into their lives as global citizens.
NUS has received numerous Green Mark building and district awards conferred by the Building and Construction Authority, including the inaugural Green Mark District GoldPLUS Award (in 2009). In 2012, the National University of Singapore became the first educational institution in the country to receive the prestigious Green Mark Champion Award. To qualify for the Green Mark Champion Award, building owners need to have at least 10 projects rated Green Mark Gold and above, including at least three projects rated Gold+ and at least three projects rated Platinum.
University Town (UTown) is a 19 hectare mixed-use residential, sports, educational and research development. An extension of NUS’ main Kent Ridge campus, UTown occupies the site of a vacated golf course which offered a unique opportunity to create a sustainably designed, built and operated precinct of this scale from scratch whilst retaining much of the original lush tropical terrain.
Masterplanned from the onset but constructed in phases, UTown comprises four residential colleges, a student residence, an education resource centre, a sports complex, a research and development complex and Asia’s first liberal arts college upon its completion in 2015. This extension campus is now where a total of 15,000 (on average) undergraduate and graduate students, staff and researchers work, live, learn and play – providing a holistic learning environment and a vibrant student experience.
As one of Singapore’s first Green Mark districts (awarded by Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority) and with all the buildings within the precinct at least Green Mark certified, UTown exemplifies NUS’ commitment to a more sustainable campus environment by realising three objectives – to achieve low carbon emissions, to conserve and encourage the growth of an ecologically biodiverse habitat; and to create a sustainable pedagogical environment enjoyed by all campus users.
UTown is NUS’ largest integrated sustainability-centric capital development to-date, and was awarded the International Sustainable Campus Network’s Sustainable Campus Excellence Award (Building and Innovative Infrastructure) for its exceptional sustainability performance in 2017. The sustainability principles guiding UTown’s design and development also serve as a “template” for subsequent capital development projects that the University embarks on.
The Eco-Food Court Certification programme, endorsed by Singapore Environmental Council (SEC), serves as a platform that seeks to engage Singapore food courts to reduce environmental impacts and raise awareness on sustainability.
Food courts are evaluated in the areas of Environmental Management System, Efficient use of Energy & Water, Waste Management System, Education Awareness of Environmental Messages, Environmental Friendly use of Resources and Potential Savings on Utilities.
Three of the four canteens in NUS have been certified as Eco-Food Courts, with the fourth canteen slated for renovation works and hence not applicable for certification.