New academy to teach people to go green

From left: CDL CEO Grant Kelley, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources and Health Amy Khor and SEAS chairman Edwin Khew viewing a model of the Singapore Sustainability Academy. It will open in March, have 300 sq m of solar
From left: CDL CEO Grant Kelley, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources and Health Amy Khor and SEAS chairman Edwin Khew viewing a model of the Singapore Sustainability Academy. It will open in March, have 300 sq m of solar panels and produce its own power. PHOTO: DON WONG FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

A $2 million Singapore Sustainability Academy is being developed to teach businesses, students and residents how to operate in more environmentally-friendly ways - whether it be using solar panels or reducing energy consumption at home.

The zero-energy building - which will produce its own power - is being built on the roof terrace of City Square Mall in Serangoon Road and will have 300 sq m of solar panels.

The size of around four five-room flats, it is being developed by real estate developer City Developments Limited (CDL) and non-profit organisation Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS).

It will open next March and offer programmes lasting from a few hours to a day, according to SEAS chairman Edwin Khew. They will be free initially, although a charge may be imposed at a later stage.

SEAS currently focuses on providing courses for professionals, including those wanting to become energy managers through the Singapore Certified Energy Manager Programme.

But Mr Khew noted that there are still many things that ordinary Singaporeans do not understand about being sustainable, for example, how reducing energy use saves money as well as the environment.

"We will create programmes on reducing energy consumption at home, and programmes where people will actually get to touch and feel a solar panel, see how it is wired and so on," said Mr Khew.

SEAS currently offers around 300 energy-efficiency courses for professionals but it will create 30 to 40 more that target the community.

The Singapore Sustainabilty Academy will also be the first building in Singapore to have its construction materials verified by a system that ensures they come from responsible sources.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2016, with the headline 'New academy to teach people to go green'. Print Edition | Subscribe