Resorts World Sentosa: Not just a tourist destination

The iconic Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore has kept the visitors coming since it first opened in January 2010. Not only has it kept millions of visitors happy, entertained and comfortable, it has done so being one of the greenest and most sustainable developments anywhere in the city.

RWS siemens main
Resorts World Sentosa is one of the most sustainable and environmentally friendly venues in Singapore. It not only employs technology to cut down on its energy and water usage, it also uses solar energy extensively. Image: RWS

Even in a city full of icons, Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) – located on a tiny island off Singapore – is a standout.

The S$7 billion mega-resort offers a wide range of products and services, from six hotels, a casino, Universal Studios Singapore, conference and exhibition facilities, 1,600-seat Resorts World Theatre, one of the world’s largest aquariums – S.E.A. Aquarium and Southeast Asia’s only aquatic park integrated with marine life – Adventure Cove Waterpark.

It also has celebrity chef restaurants, brand-name boutiques and a half-kilometre long shopping and dining strip named FestiveWalk.

But beyond just being one of Asia’s most visited tourist destinations, the resort is also one of the region’s most sustainable and environmentally friendly developments, housing one of Singapore’s largest solar installations which can be viewed from afar as visitors approach Sentosa from the main island.

Due to its sheer size – Singapore’s first integrated resort spans 49 hectares – it was even more of an imperative for its owner, Genting Singapore, to integrate sustainability into the resort’s design right from the start.

“From the onset, RWS has set its sight on being a responsible corporate citizen by minimising our carbon footprint,” says Mr Lee On Nam, Senior Vice President, Resort Services, RWS. “From design through to construction and operations, we continuously improve our operations, seek out energy-saving technologies and work towards a sustainable business model.”

For its sustainability efforts, the resort has received multiple awards from Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

While the exciting rides, glitzy hotels and shops are the main attractions for most visitors, what happens behind the scenes is equally important.

Water and Sun

Given Singapore’s water scarcity, an integrated water management system is absolutely necessary for a resort of this size that uses water for its 24/7 operations.

This system not only collects rainwater and condensate water from air-conditioning systems to be used for irrigation of landscapes, it also stores the harvested rainwater and condensate water in an eco-lagoon the size of 12 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

An average of 5,000 cubic metres of rainwater falls into the lagoon a month, and it is then used for the general irrigation as well as for non-portable usage in rides and shows.

Another little-known fact about RWS is that it houses one of Singapore’s largest photovoltaic (PV) installations. This S$3.6 million PV system, at the rooftop of the Revenge of the Mummy ride, Ancient Egypt zone within Universal Studios Singapore, generates solar power to a grid-tied system, and can generate about 670 megawatt hours of electricity per year, equivalent to generating power for about 130 typical four-room flats in Singapore.

These different functionalities and attractions mean that managing the different environmental conditions, control strategies and comfort level requirements is a mammoth task. RWS needed a solution which can fulfil all these needs and integrate them into a single easy-to-use building automation system.

“From the onset, RWS has set its sight on being a responsible corporate citizen by minimising our carbon footprint. From design through to construction and operations, we continuously improve our operations, seek out energy-saving technologies and work towards a sustainable business model.”

Lee On Nam, senior vice president, resort services, RWS

This is when it engaged German technology and engineering giant Siemens, an expert in building automation technologies.

Siemens’ building automation integrates the numerous subsystems within the resort such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting. The entire resort comprises more than 38,000 input-output points. Co-ordinating all these required a building automation system designed for the resort.

Mr Peter Halliday, Head of the Building Technologies’ Solutions and Service Portfolio for Middle-East/Asia Pacific, Siemens, added, “Given the expanse of the resort, monitoring and controlling the numerous sub-systems could have potentially posed a challenge.”

“With a building automation system customised to their needs, RWS is able to better maintain the comfort and operate the building with ease. Our goal is essentially to improve the operational and energy efficiency for the customer.”

Keeping it cool

RWS is also using innovative methods to keep its public areas cool in Singapore’s humid, perennially hot climate. For a start, double-layered ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) canopy systems are widely used in the resort’s public areas such as walkways. These ETFE canopies cut off a substantial portion of the sun’s heat from the covered spaces below; reducing the temperatures in these spaces.

Eco-coolers within the integrated resort also help to cool the outdoor areas at Universal Studios Singapore by two to six degrees Celsius using only 20 per cent of the energy required by conventional air-conditioning. This eco-cooler system uses water to achieve cooling and consumes far less energy than a conventional chilled water cooling system.

All in all, more than 400 air handling units which regulate temperatures and ventilation, and six heat exchanger plants used in heating and refrigeration systems, are interfaced and controlled by the Siemens building automation system.

Also, to cater to the large demand for chilled water at all times of the day, the resort adopted an energy-efficient district cooling system, which is monitored by using programmable logic controller (PLC) system from Siemens.

With these technologies, the resort is able to maintain comfort and operate the buildings with ease by monitoring and controlling the equipment located in the different buildings from one centralised location, on one customised interface.

Energy consumption of the resort is constantly monitored to ensure that the development constantly meet its energy and water usage targets.

To reduce the effects of island heat and minimise heat gain to buildings, buildings throughout the integrated resort are covered with vegetated green roofs.

Some other features at RWS include a certified green data centre, and the preservation of 900 trees, of which, 200 trees were replanted around the integrated resort.

For its efforts, Universal Studios Singapore was certified the BCA 2012 Green Mark GoldPlus Award under the Buildings category.

RWS has also obtained BCA Green Mark GoldPlus awards for ESPA at RWS, Marine Life Park, Beach Villas, Equarius Hotel, Festive Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel Singapore, Crockfords Tower and Hotel Michael, as well as BCA Green Mark Platinum for Maritime Experiential Museum and Genting Hotel Jurong, making RWS a pioneer Green Mark certified district in Singapore.

Launched in October 2009, the BCA Green Mark for Districts a green rating scheme that promotes and recognises environmentally friendly and sustainable practices in the planning, design and implementation of district developments.

Despite these accolades, the sustainability journey for RWS continues. The managers are constantly looking for ways to use resources more efficiently and reduce the resort’s impact on the environment. This will ensure that the resort will always have a place in Singapore.

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