Focus on building design to cut air-con use

Much effort has been spent on reducing Singapore's carbon footprint.

From September next year, it will become mandatory for air-conditioners to have a minimum energy-efficiency rating of two ticks to meet higher energy-saving standards ("Less energy-efficient air-cons to be phased out"; last Thursday). This Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) also applies to other appliances.

Yet many condominiums are allowed to be built with full-height glass panes that are fixed, and side windows which open at angles of 45 degrees.

Such designs result in poor ventilation and the need for air-conditioners or fans to be switched on at all times, contributing to unnecessary high energy consumption.

Moreover, there are no eaves above windows, so the very few side windows that can be opened have to remain closed, especially at night, because when it rains, the room gets flooded.

Again this necessitates the continued use of air-cons or fans, even on cool nights.

Condos are meant for residential living and should not be designed, like office buildings.

My condo faces the Bukit Batok Nature Reserve, yet I am unable to enjoy the fresh air from it because of the poor window design.

Down the road, one HDB dweller said her open windows let in cool breezes from the reserve, which is like air-conditioning to her entire flat.

Would it not be logical for the authorities to focus more on building design and to also mandate energy-efficient residential buildings so that air-conditioning is not even necessary?

This should effectively reduce carbon emissions on a larger scale.

Lim Siat Foong (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2015, with the headline 'Focus on building design to cut air-con use'. Print Edition | Subscribe