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Design for Efficiency Scheme (DfE)

Why Adopt Efficient Design

It is beneficial for companies to look into energy (e.g. electricity, natural gas) and resource (e.g. water) efficiency early at the design stage of a facility. Reasons include:

  1. Many system design synergies are only available early in the design process before system choices are locked in.
  2. Facilities, on-site utilities and supply utilities tend to be oversized at the expense of energy efficiency. Designing a facility to be energy and resource efficient can reduce the capital cost of the systems (due to reduced capacity needs in upstream utility systems) and dramatic savings in resource use. Therefore energy and resource efficiency can lead to lower capital cost, lower operating cost and lower maintenance costs. For example, reducing thermal loads and stress leads to lower maintenance costs and improved uptime, delivering top-line value as well as cost savings.
  3. Retrofitting existing facilities is generally more expensive than introducing energy efficiency measures at the design stage. Incorporating energy efficiency at the design stage is the most cost effective approach to improving energy performance of the facility.
  4. Once the facilities are built, the emphasis usually switches to production yield and quality, not resource efficiency.

Success Stories

International Rectifier (Singapore) Pte Ltd

On 24 Feb 2014, International Rectifier (IR®), a world leader in power management technology, commenced production at its new state-of-the-art ultra-thin wafer processing facility in Singapore. This is IR’s first and currently only wafer processing facility in Asia.

Improve energy and water efficiency through design workshops
To identify opportunities for energy and water efficiency optimization, IR conducted a series of design workshops, which were co-funded under the Design for Efficiency (DfE) scheme. The design workshops were facilitated by a team of energy consultants with the participation of various stakeholders including IR’s facilities and finance teams, building contractor for the new facility, vendors and suppliers.

 Photos taken during the design workshops


In the design workshops, the energy consultants and IR stakeholders reviewed the detailed design of IR’s cleanroom and facilities. Some ideas generated from the design workshops included right sizing of equipment, the use of more energy efficient equipment, installation of variable speed drives for equipment with variable loads, and improved piping design.



 Improved Piping Design


This collaborative process involving diverse stakeholders helped IR identify cost-effective EE solutions early in the design stage. For example, by designing the piping and ducting with the minimum number of sharp bends and right angles (see photos), the pressure drop across the piping and ducting could be reduced. This in turn required smaller motors to pump liquid or blow air. The capital cost saved from the purchase of smaller motors was then used to purchase variable speed drives for the motor-driven equipment with variable loads. Smaller motors further reduced the heat load of IR’s facilities and hence lowered IR’s energy costs.

The ideas identified in the design workshops could potentially help IR achieve energy savings of about 40% (compared to a typical clean room and infrastructure facilities design) and water recovery of about 50% from the reprocessing of used Ultra-pure water. All of the savings were achieved without additional capital investment by IR. Key success factors included support from IR’s senior management, the involvement of various stakeholders especially the IR operations team, the involvement of the energy consultants before the detailed design commenced, and the full cooperation of the building contractor.

Find out more about the other success stories here.

Objective and Form of Assistance

The Design for Efficiency Scheme encourages investors in new facilities or facility expansion projects in Singapore to integrate energy and resource efficiency improvements into manufacturing development plans early in the design stage. The scheme is administered by the National Environment Agency (NEA).

Grant Quantum
The maximum amount of funding is 50% of the qualifying costs or S$600,000, whichever is lower.

Qualifying Costs
The qualifying costs would include the design workshop fees comprising:

  • Consultancy fees, comprising manpower and overheads
  • Transportation and accommodation for consultants
  • Venue and other logistical costs for workshop
Singapore GST is excluded.

The cost of implementing the recommendations from the design workshop would not be supported under this scheme.

Disbursement of Grants
Disbursements will be made on a reimbursement basis. The disbursement schedule is:

Supported Cost Disbursement Amount Milestone
Design workshop fees First 40% Upon receipt of company’s contract with the energy consultant to carry out the design workshop
Next 40% Upon acceptance of the design workshop report* by NEA
Final 20% Upon submission of the assessment report** to NEA

*The design workshop report should cover the recommended design concepts for an energy efficient facility; as well as technical and financial evaluations and predicted energy savings.

**The assessment report should cover a technical and financial evaluation by the company on whether or not the recommended design concepts meet the company’s expectations, recommended design concepts that would be implemented, and explanations for recommended design concepts that would not be implemented.

What is a Design Workshop?

Energy efficient facilities are most effectively developed through a focused and collaborative design effort, known as a design workshop or design “charrette”, involving various stakeholders from the very beginning of the project.

The design workshop is an intensive, highly integrative and multi-disciplinary 2-3 day session that brings internal experts (“home team”) and external experts (“visiting team”) together at the design stage.

The “home team” can include, but not limited to the following:

  • Building owner
  • Building users
  • Building operator
  • Project Manager
  • Facility directors
  • Facility operators
  • Architect
  • Interior designer
  • Electrical engineer
  • Mechanical engineer
  • Contractors

The “visiting team” is the energy consultant that provides expert facilitation and process support; as well as technical expertise (general and specialised) to the design workshop.

By fostering cross-disciplinary interaction, design workshops encourage the exchange of ideas and information, allowing truly integrated design solutions to take form and generate solutions that would otherwise remain obscured by conventional thinking.

A design workshop requires 3-4 months of preparation for maximum success and is most effective when conducted very early in design phase.

Outcomes of a design workshop
The design workshop identifies technical opportunities in energy and resource efficiency (e.g. water, gases); waste reduction and reuse; cost-effective supply of energy, water, etc.

The other outcomes of the design workshop include conceptual designs for high-efficiency systems; and preliminary estimates of net cost and payback period.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the Design for Efficiency scheme:

  • The owner or operator of new industrial facility or the existing facility to be expanded must be registered in Singapore;
  • The new industrial facility or the existing facility to be expanded must be sited in Singapore; and
  • The detailed design of the facility must not have commenced at the time of application.
  • The energy consultants must be experienced and able to show good track record in carrying out design workshops of a comparable scale and scope. The capabilities of the selected energy consultants must be thoroughly assessed to ensure that they have the capability to design or advise on the design of the facility concerned.

Applications and Enquiries

All applications should be made on prescribed Application Form and submitted to the NEA before the commencement of the design workshop. The company must have selected (but not contracted) an energy consultant at the time of application.

All applications must be accompanied by the following documents:

  • Application Form fully completed
  • Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) Business Profile
  • Proposed contract with energy consultant
  • Detailed references and track records of energy consultant(s)
  • Company’s criteria for implementing design concepts

Please send completed applications to the following address:

Design for Efficiency Scheme Coordinator
c/o Director (Energy Efficiency & Conservation Department)
National Environment Agency
40 Scotts Road #19-00
Singapore 228231

Download the application form here.

For enquiries, please contact the following officer:

Ms Eunice Koh
DID no.: 6731 9739


Last Updated on : 08 May 2016
© 2012 National Environment Agency