Govt to spend S$1b on sustainable development projects

S$1 billion has been earmarked for greening Singapore’s infrastructure over the next five years.

Experts said the real challenge lies not in new developments, but in retrofitting existing buildings.

Lee Siew Eang, head, Energy Sustainability Unit, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore, said: “That forms approximately about 80 per cent of our existing building stocks and these lots of buildings will be operating for a long time to come, perhaps for the next 20, 30 years… we really should look into making sure that they are more energy efficient, more sustainable.”

One area to target is air conditioning systems, which consume about 60 per cent of energy in most buildings.

For buildings that are inefficient, this number can go up to 80 per cent.

A government subsidy for landlords to become more energy efficient will certainly help to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint.

Other initiatives to consider include more solar-powered public lighting, or motion sensor lights that remain off when no one is around.

But one problem that Singapore faces in the implementation of clean or renewable energy projects is the lack of local expertise.

Many of these projects currently rely on foreign consultants. But the government hopes to change that by subsidising professional conversion courses, so that a mechanical engineer retrenched in the manufacturing sector, for example, can undergo training, and then play a part in greening Singapore.

The Building and Construction Authority plans to train at least 8,000 specialists in areas like sustainable building design and energy management, over the next five years.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 26 Jan 2009

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