Innovation has been a key driver in our decarbonisation journey and one of CDL’s top-voted material ESG issues since 2017. The Green Building and Technology Application team was established in 2020 as part of CDL’s Sustainability portfolio. The team works closely with the Enterprise Innovation Committee (EIC) in strategising how to leverage scalable technology to reduce our carbon footprint in the way we design, build, and manage our assets. CDL recognises that circular economy is the way forward. We have started exploring circularity practices and solutions, such as adopting advanced low-carbon construction methods and materials as part of our efforts to reduce embodied carbon.

Enterprise Innovation Committee

CDL’s EIC was formed by CDL Group CEO in 2018 as an anchor platform for multidisciplinary collaboration to drive innovation and business transformation. Chaired by CDL Group Chief Operating Officer, the EIC has put in active efforts to scout, implement and invest in customer-and digital-centric solutions that create near and long-term business value for CDL.

These activities are powered by three mutually-reinforcing engines: (1) Innovation Pipeline; (2) People and Culture; and (3) PropTech Investment.

Innovation Pipeline Piloted and scaled across diverse innovation themes
We source for quality leads, qualify them and pilot and/or scale up the implementation of solutions that meet our criteria. CDL constantly identifies and assesses new PropTech and other solutions that will futurefit CDL’s businesses. Quality leads are prioritised and some will eventually be scoped and executed as pilot projects.
People and Culture Created innovation capability building opportunities
We create opportunities for staff to build new capabilities, stay abreast of pertinent industry trends and apply innovation approaches to work. As CDL levels up the innovation maturity model, we aim to have more widespread staff participation in CDL’s innovation projects. In 2021, CDL organised multiple capability building opportunities for our staff to gain greater awareness of the company’s innovation strategy, broaden knowledge on PropTech and uncover design thinking approaches.

In addition, CDL shares bite-sized information about the latest building innovation, global trends, and inspirational reads via EIC’s monthly internal e-newsletter. It acts as an innovation stimulant that puts forth business challenges and allows employees across the company to contribute ideas.

PropTech Investment Continued to work with existing and new investees
We invest in and partner with selected venture capital funds and start-ups. CDL invests in Venture Capital (VC) funds and companies that are synergistic to CDL’s core businesses. Key objectives are to implement investees’ solutions that value-add to CDL’s assets and explore emerging trends or solutions with potential financial upside.

In 2021, CDL invested in Taronga Ventures, an APAC-based PropTech VC fund. This investment will provide CDL access to a steady stream of pipeline and portfolio start-ups with innovative technology and business models, with a focus on Asia as well as on ESG.

Championing Innovation through Partnerships

R&D and technology are key for a net zero future. Connecting a building’s sustainability performance to its design and incorporation of smart technology not only propel energy efficiency but enhance its resilience to climate change. CDL’s extensive network of longstanding partnerships with key R&D players creates business value and helps us navigate towards our net-zero goals.

Expanding EV Adoption with Porsche Asia Pacific and SP Group

In December 2021, CDL partnered with Porsche Asia Pacific and SP Group to expand EV charging infrastructure at the South Beach mixed development and four CDL commercial properties — City Square Mall, King’s Centre, Palais Renaissance and Quayside Isle. Under the CDL Green Procurement Guidelines for property developments, EV chargers are mandatory provisions at our new commercial properties.

EV charging carpark lots at Republic Plaza

Since 2010, CDL has been at the forefront of supporting the transformation of the local urban mobility scene by providing carpark lots with EV chargers. Our efforts support the Singapore Green Plan 2030, where Singapore aims to install 60,000 EV charging points at public car parks and private premises by 2030.

Innovations by NUS-CDL Smart Green Home

Since 2017, CDL has formed an R&D partnership with the NUS College of Design and Engineering, formerly known as NUS School of Design and Environment (SDE). In addition to the NUS-CDL Tropical Technologies Laboratory (T2 Lab), which has been operational since late 2018, the NUS-CDL Smart Green Home was opened in 2019. It is located at NUS’ SDE Building 4, Singapore’s first new-build net zero energy building. Designed as a 100m full-size home for testing, analysing, evaluating, and piloting smart home innovations in a “plug-and-play” real-life environment, the NUS-CDL Smart Green Home serves as a platform for holistic and innovative experimental studies for sustainable living.

An innovation developed by the NUS-CDL Smart Green Home, the Acoustic Friendly Ventilation Window (AFVW) prototype was installed at Irwell Hill Residences’ showflat in March 2021 for test trials and system refinement. The AFVW allows building occupants to enjoy better indoor air quality, aural comfort, and wellness. The prototype is currently being improved for commercialisation. CDL will explore scaling up the use of this novel system in future projects.

Collaborations with SERIS

Since 2017, CDL has supported and partnered the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) to pilot two projects – Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) modules and bifacial BIPV art wall. In 2021, these projects were installed at Central Mall and City Square Mall respectively. Data is being collected and evaluated to provide insights into potential scaling-up at existing CDL assets and new developments.

Cost-effective high-power density BIPV module at Central Mall

Benefits of BIPV Modules

  • Improves indoor thermal and visual comfort as well as electrical performance
  • Offers a cost-effective high-power density solution
  • Easily integrates into buildings
  • Combines with prefabrication technology (i.e. Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction (PPVC)) to greatly reduce the cost of BIPV integration and improve construction productivity since it is applied modularly at a construction site

The pilot for BIPV modules will continue till December 2022. Current results show that BIPV integration with different building elements is feasible and can lead to significant generation of PV electricity. The two-year pilot will conclude with additional data on thermal comfort effectiveness as well.

First-of-its-kind bifacial BIPV panels piloted at City Square Mall

Benefits of Bifacial BIPV panels

  • Customisable aesthetic feature
  • Power generator

Data of the performance of these bifacial BIPV panels has been collected for analysis to explore opportunities for scaled up implementation.


Investing in PropTech and Sustainability Solutions

Besides investing into VC funds (Fifth Wall and Dragonrise Capital), we have also invested in several PropTech and sustainability solutions that include:

  • Pupil – UK-based spatial data company Pupil builds and captures digital twins of the built environment. Pupil’s digital surveyors scan a residential unit with a LIDAR camera to capture datasets. Within 24 hours, their ‘Spec’ technology delivers 3D walkthroughs and millimetre-accurate floorplan of the actual build unit. CDL utilised ‘Spec’ for its UK residential properties. In January 2020, CDL invested in the company’s Series A round.
  • Gush – Following the successful mould prevention pilot of Gush paint at Nouvel 18, CDL invested $3 million in the Singapore start-up that produces sustainable paint which purifies air, eliminates bacteria and regulates humidity. In 2020, CDL utilised the paint for fit-out works at its residential properties for lease. The paint will also be used at new residential developments, notably Haus on Handy.
  • Incubator For SDGs – In partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) and Social Collider, Incubator For SDGs at Republic Plaza was launched in 2019 to provide rent-free workspace and access to management experts for selected social enterprises and start-ups that are aligned with one or more UN SDGs. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, part of the Incubator For SDG programme was put on hold. Nevertheless, start-ups were still able to utilise the rent-free shared workspaces in 2020 and 2021. In 2021, CDL engaged Global Green Economic Forum (GGEF), an experienced impact investing accelerator with global connections. GGEF further enhanced the Incubator’s programme and welcomed a second intake of impact innovators to join the Incubator. Current incubatees include:
    • Bountifood (Food Science Tech)
    • ESG Tech (Global ESG Data Exchange Platform)
    • Green Materials Trading (Sustainable Construction Materials)
    • SGP Foods (Sustainable Urban Protein)
    • Soristic Impact Collective (Social Impact Consulting)

Developing PropTech Solutions In-House

DigiHUB is a proprietary smart enterprise platform for building performance management developed by CBM Pte Ltd, a wholly owned building and facility management subsidiary of CDL. DigiHUB is a predictive and integrated facilities management (FM) solution, leveraging three key technological advances in the digital age – the Internet of Things (IoT) Sensors, Edge Computing, combined with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning. DigiHUB synergises the different IT capabilities and has revolutionised the delivery of FM services, by allowing central monitoring of multiple assets on asset management functions and improves efficiency in resource deployment. Its proof-of-concept and pilot was first carried out in 2019 at Republic Plaza, and its completion in 2021 was endorsed by Infocomm Media Development Authority. Through DigiHUB, CDL is the first Singapore company to secure a discount on a sustainability-linked loan through the adoption of an innovative project that supports the UN SDGs on a large-scale basis.