Budget debate: MND to fund technologies to make buildings more energy-efficient

Building owners can receive grants based on how much emissions are reduced through upgrading older systems, subject to a cap for each project. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A total of $45 million will be set aside for a programme to spur innovations such as energy-efficient cooling technologies in buildings which can then be showcased to encourage companies to adopt the solutions.

Building facades that improve air flow and a system to manage a building’s energy demand based on data from its electrical grid are other examples of innovations that can be developed by building owners and developers under the enhanced Green Buildings Innovation Cluster 2.0 programme.

The commercialisation of such solutions will be sped up through industry partnerships and this will help grow the number of firms with expertise in greening buildings, National Development Minister Desmond Lee said yesterday.

“This way, our companies can compete better in serving the growing global demand for sustainable urban solutions and take the lead to drive sustainable development across the Asia-Pacific – home to some of the fastest-growing economies in the world,” he added in Parliament during the debate on the Government’s sustainability plans.

The Ministry of National Development (MND) will also invest $64 million in research and development under the Cities of Tomorrow programme, which aims to address challenges that impact Singapore’s ability to have a liveable, inclusive and green living environment.

Mr Lee also outlined how Housing Board towns will be made more sustainable by tapping new technologies under the HDB Green Towns Programme.

For instance, new HDB flats use smart lighting for common areas and systems to collect rainfall to reduce energy consumption.

Solar panels are also being installed on top of existing HDB blocks to power common services such as lifts and lighting.

Mr Lee said this has been done for more than 2,700 blocks out of more than 10,000 HDB blocks in Singapore to date.

It is also exploring the use of a new technology called light emitting surfaces, or LES, for signages in residential estates. This can potentially reduce about 80 per cent of energy consumption, compared with the standard fluorescent block signage.

On efforts to transform Singapore into a City in Nature – where more greenery is being infused into the cityscape – Mr Lee said the authorities have restored and enhanced several habitats for native biodiversity.
This includes over 12ha of forest, marine and coastal habitats in Singapore
New parks were also added, such as those in Bukit Gombak and Pasir Panjang, while existing parks like the Coastal Playgrove at East Coast Park were also enhanced with more lush vegetation and natural landscapes.

Giving an update, he said that more than half the 2030 target of 300km of nature ways – tiered roadside planting designed to mimic forests – has been completed.

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