A SITizen's Dream to Building a Greener Future

Meet SITizen Loh Jun Han from the Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Building Services) programme.

Meet SITizen Loh Jun Han from the Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Building Services) programme.

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In a modern, urbanised world like Singapore, we are dwarfed by buildings that extend skywards, each perfectly sculpted to combine aesthetics and function.

But a then 17-year-old Loh Jun Han was disturbed by the built environment’s adverse impact on the climate. As a polytechnic student studying facilities management, he first discovered how green technology had the potential to power sustainable buildings. Since then, he envisions creating a win-win situation for humans and Mother Nature – by doing more with less.

When the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) launched the Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (SIE) (Building Services) degree programme in 2016, it didn’t take him long to decide to enrol into its pioneer cohort.

“In Singapore, buildings consume at least a third of our electricity,” Jun Han remarked. This revelation further convinced him of the need to design more energy-efficient infrastructure.

Great thinkers, great builders

Beyond providing students with a strong foundation in mechanical engineering to achieve green building goals, the SIE (Building Services) degree programme also equips them with supplementary competencies like energy simulation to boost their skillsets, and encourage dynamic thinking.

The degree programme’s breadth and depth, and his belief in the benefits of applied learning, inspired Jun Han to participate in numerous competitions, including the industry-organised BCA-CDL Green Sparks Competition, where he earned a merit award. 

Real-world experience soon followed during his Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP), a compulsory 12-month work stint all students need to undertake, and a key component of SIT’s applied learning pedagogy.

He joined a local construction company, and a huge opportunity arose when he had to coordinate work across different stakeholders including design consultants, site personnel and sub-contractors during the pre-construction phase of a school. Jun Han, who had the fundamentals drilled in since day one, refused to be overwhelmed and instead relished the bigger responsibilities.

“Working with professionals allowed me to connect the dots of what I learnt in classes, and on many occasions, I could offer them additional value,” he said.

He credits his SIT lecturers for nurturing critical thinking skills that have proven useful in his career and in life.

“Students fall into the trap of looking for defined instructions or the right answers,” he said. “But SIT has trained us to be self-sufficient. The lecturers did not provide all the answers. Instead, they taught us how to find them.”

The learning never stops

After graduation, he immediately returned to SIT for an eight-month Master of Engineering Technology in SIE (Building Services) to augment his skills in the profession.

While it was a challenge to juggle full-time work and night classes, the intensity strengthened his resolve to transform the industry.

The constant search for answers has helped him in his current job at a multinational property development firm, where he codes algorithms that enable automation to help in the design and construction of sustainable buildings.

The digital property lifecycle platform that he is currently working on aims to automate traditional and tedious processes, such as construction drawings and 3D modelling, to free up time and resources for more strategic work.

“Technology will increasingly be integrated in the built environment, which will be quite revolutionary for the sector because buildings are getting more complex,” he explained.

“The hard skills I acquired from SIT, such as engineering and Building Information Modelling (BIM), helped build a solid foundation for me to tackle a lot of common industry challenges.”

As the human population grows and more buildings are needed, Jun Han aspires to find a way to build greener, faster and better.