THE CASTLE

The Castello Energy Centre is our flagship concept headquarters in Puchong. Creatively designed as an European castle, the eye-catching building is completely energy efficient and features several energy saving technologies which enables it to use about 40% less energy than a building of equal size.

Features:

  • Calcium silicate bricks
  • Curved double cavity walls
  • Solar street lights
  • Temperature regulating fish pond
  • Water permeable carpark
  • Environmentally designed basement carpark
  • Elevated ground floor/Longhouse concept
  • Extra high ceilings
  • Solar panels forming a double roof for cooling
  • Extra high ceilings
  • Solar panels forming a double roof for cooling
  • Double-paned tinted windows
  • Maximum natural sunlight into the lobby
  • Central low-energy ventilating system
  • Rain water storage and retention
  • Energy saving LED lights
  • Energy saving inverter air conditioning units
  • Recycling bins for waste segregation
  • Creative use of recycled wood for interior decorating

Castello

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Ventilation system

The castle starts stirring at the crack of dawn, around 5am, when outside air is at its coolest. This is when the central ventilation system starts up. The system consists of a series of large exhaust fans which suck cool air from the outside and push hot air right out of the building through the main stairwell. Ah… now the building is cool, and ready to welcome its inhabitants.

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The tower

The round tower was designed with its entrance facing west, so that its curved walls faced the harshest hours of the afternoon sun. This is because round surfaces are exposed to much less direct sunlight compared to flat surfaces. The 360 degree panoramic view from the top of the tower is beautiful. There are plans to build a green space here as a staff recreational hangout, but this is still in the works.

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The Great Hall

Huge wooden doors open into the main foyer of the castle. The air conditioning isn’t on, but it’s still cool. In fact, the building uses 40% less power for air conditioning than a comparable build-up. How is this possible? A combination of building materials, building design, ventilation system and double-paned tinted windows make this possible.

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Illuminating the castle

Large, tinted medieval windows circle the tower, allowing natural sunlight to enter whilst keeping out the glare and heat. The cantilevers above the windows provide shade until late afternoon every day. We’ve put in energy saving LED lighting, that saves us up to 90% on our electricity bill compared to conventional CFL bulbs.

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The Gardens

The pathway to the carpark is lined with greenery. These are the Group’s experiments with plants to cover vertical surfaces, which they plan to incorporate on the building’s exterior walls in time to come.

A pretty fish pond sits partially under the sweeping staircases leading up to the main doors of the castle. It acts as a cooling system, with the difference in air temperature above the water keeping the air circulating at the entrance of the building.

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The carnival grounds

The open air carpark features a water permeable surface area for managing storm water. It allows water to drain through the pavement surface into a stone recharge bed and infiltrate into the soils below the pavement. The design promotes filtration, improves water quality and eliminates the need for a retention basin. The area is illuminated by LED solar street lights.

During celebrations, Castello inhabitants make merry here, erecting tents and providing food and drink to travellers near and far.

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The stables and cellars

Guests can tether their weary steeds in our basement carpark, which sits under the castle. The carpark’s ceiling ends a few feet above ground level, allowing natural ventilation and light to enter.

The whole castle is raised from the ground, breaking the heat flow from the hot ground into the building foundation. The industrial zone where we are located consists of mostly concrete and asphalt which stores heat from the sun well into the night, so it is important that we prevent that heat from seeping into the building through contact with these materials. This separation from the ground is called the ‘Longhouse concept’.

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The castle wall

In order to remain cool throughout the day, the cool air has to be kept in and the hot air out. To achieve this, all the west-facing walls of the castle are doubled bricked, with a 3-inch cavity between them. The cavity is filled with Greenstuff insulation materials – a combination of sheep wool and cellulose fibres from recycled newspaper which helps control humidity and ultimately the building’s internal temperature.

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The building materials

Calcium silicate bricks are made by mixing quicklime with silica sand and water, then cured in a high-pressure autoclave. It uses significantly less energy during production than conventional clay bricks and doesn’t pollute the air at all. Unlike clay bricks, these ones have excellent thermal heat insulation properties, which prevent radiant heat from entering the building. Plus, it’s reusable, durable and can be recycled without quality loss.

We have also recycled waste wood for the use in our interior decorating of walls and ceilings to give that distinct pattern that is seen in rustic country homes all over the Swiss countryside.

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The roof

Our roofs house 12kWp of solar panels, creating clean, renewable energy to be fed into the grid. We are now planning for an additional 40kWp of panels to be added, which will be channelled towards our factory for own consumption, and act as a test site of different solar photovoltaic technologies. The roof is also home to the building’s rainwater harvesting system, which collects water for cleaning, cooling and watering plants.

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