Singapore is fitting out public housing flats with new air-conditioners, photovoltaic solar panels and smart meters as part of a new energy-efficiency test-bed.
The project is a collaboration between the Energy Market Authority (EMA), the Housing and Development Board (HDB) and the Economic Development Board (EDB). It will be implemented in March 2012.
Energy-efficient air-conditioners will be installed in ten HDB flats, paired wirelessly to a “home energy management system,” a smart meter that will monitor the amount of electricity, water and gas used by each household. These measures aim to cut each household’s electricity consumption by 50 percent, and in the long-term, reduce total energy usage in public housing by up to 75 percent.
Report: Punggol to test-bed smart energy solutions [Today, 2 Aug 2011]
In addition to these facilities, Panasonic Corporation has agreed to install photovoltaic panels on the roof of an HDB block in Punggol. The panels will supply energy to the building, providing power for elevators, water pumps and lighting in common areas.
Excess electricity will be stored in lithium-ion batteries, which will serve as backup electricity generators in the event of a power outage.
Report: Panasonic launches household-level energy management project in Singapore[Environmental Leader, 2 Aug 2011]
The new initiative is part of the Punggol Eco-town, a “living laboratory” designed to test new ideas and technologies and promote green living in Singapore. Buildings utilise natural elements in planning and design, and facilities like cycling paths, electric vehicle charging stations and car sharing spaces encourage emission-free commuting.
Report: Punggol to be Singapore’s first eco-town [AsiaOne, 28 Jan 2010]
Given Singapore’s limited alternative energy prospects, former Minister of Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim has said that energy efficiency must be the main thrust of Singapore’s strategy to combat climate change.
By 2030, the Singapore Sustainability Blueprint aims to reduce energy intensity by 35 percent from 2005 levels and reduce energy consumption in new and mature housing estates by 20 and 30 per cent respectively. Improved power generation technology and more productive energy usage have reduced Singapore’s energy intensity by 19.4 per cent from 2005 to 2008.
Full Report: Sustainable Development Blueprint [MEWR]
Even then, there is much room for improvement, as the industrial sector accounts for about 60 percent of the country’s energy consumption. Analysts have said that energy efficiency measures in this segment are “critical” for Singapore to achieve its overall sustainability targets.