Formula One race

Light up the night, switch off in the day

The real problem associated with the Singapore Formula One race, besides the noise, fuel burn and some inconvenience to businesses in the vicinity, is the burning of thousands of lights to ensure visibility for the drivers and spectators (Relook the F1 race, by Dr George Wong Seow Choon; Sept 19).

Five years ago, I described the Singapore night race as "arguably the most energy-inefficient event in the world" (F1 at odds with S'pore's race for sustainability; Sept 27, 2012). As far as I can see, the situation has not changed.

When I discussed this at the time with a government official who was responsible for Singapore's drive for greater energy efficiency, he pointed out that all the lights specially erected for the F1 are left on for 24 hours a day during the course of the event.

That seemed total unnecessary and unacceptable to me, but, as far as I know, that is still happening.

It would be a wise move for the organisers, the sponsors and the government agencies which support this event to insist on an energy audit - based on measuring the total energy consumed in and around this event this year and in previous years - and put in place an energy-saving plan.

At the same time, it would be wise to conduct a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of the event.

I think the organisers will find the total cost of energy used to be very significant and one that can be considerably reduced by a smart energy-management process.

Switching off the F1 lights for at least 16 hours of the day would make immediate sense and save hundreds of thousands of kilowatt hours of energy and dollars.

Ken Hickson

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2017, with the headline 'Light up the night, switch off in the day'. Subscribe