Climate change is one of the most divisive topics to talk about; some people believe it, while others think that it’s plain BS.
But no matter which side of the fence you’re on, the numbers tell the most honest tale. Here are some facts about climate change in Singapore:
- According to a report by the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS), sea levels are expected to rise between 0.25 metres and 0.76 metres by the end of the century. In fact, tidal gauges in Singapore Strait and Johor Strait has risen at a rate of 2 to 4 cm per decade in the last 25 years.
- Because most of Singapore’s landmass is only 15 metres above the mean sea level (and about 30% of the country is less than 5 metres above mean sea level), this makes Singapore "particularly vulnerable" to rising sea levels, according to one report.
- But that’s not all. Since 1950, 10 of the hottest years in Singapore have all occurred within the last 22 years. Annual mean temperatures have increased by 0.25 degree Celcius per decade from 1946 to 2006.
During his National Day Rally 2019 speech, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that Singapore might need to spend $100 billion in the next 100 years to protect the city-state from the inevitable effects of climate change.
In this year’s Budget 2020 speech, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat reaffirmed the government’s commitment to tackle climate change in Singapore and its emissions by introducing several key measures.
These include a new coastal and protection fund and HDB Green Towns Programme – which will introduce sustainable features in HDB estates, including rainwater recycling and greenery integration to create a more sustainable environment for residents. Households will also be encouraged to use energy-efficient appliances, and lower-income families will be given incentives to help with the cost.
That got us into thinking: What are the green/sustainable features found in HDB towns are helping champion urban development and combat climate change in Singapore?
#1. Rainwater harvesting system
One of the most interesting, sustainable features in HDB towns, is the implementation of the rainwater harvesting system to help reduce water demand.
From an economic and environmental perspective, even a small-scale system like this can create a massive difference in terms of water consumption and water bills.
According to HDB, the advantages of the rainwater harvesting system are:
- Helps to save up to 1000m3 of potable water annually for block washing
- Requires minimal maintenance
- Lowers energy consumption
In his Facebook post, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong has said that HDB has developed the UrbanWater Harvesting System (UWHS), one of the innovative water-saving initiatives that champion rainwater harvesting to reduce potable water demand. This was tested in Punggol Northshore and will be tested in other precincts as well.
#2. Sustainable energy systems
Everyone knows that fossil fuels are non-renewable energy resources that are bad for the environment (however, over 95% of Singapore’s energy still stems from natural gas). So, turning to sustainable energy sources is of paramount importance if Singapore wants to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
Case in point: Solar panel systems used in HDB flats, or SolarNova.
Spearheaded by HDB and several other government agencies, SolarNova is a project to drive growth for Singapore’s solar industry.
The programme aims to generate 420 GWh of solar energy per year, which is equivalent to powering 88,000 four-room flats. These solar panels help to convert natural sunlight into solar energy to power lifts, corridor and staircase lightings, and water pumps.
As of August 2019, over 2,000 HDB flats already have solar panels installed, with thousands more in progress.
But that’s not all, HDB also has other sustainable technologies in place; check out some of these:
- Elevator Energy Regeneration System (EERS)
- Outdoor LED initiative
- Green Homes Package
If you want to know more about these green initiatives, read it on HDB’s site.
#3. Green spaces
One thing that you’ll notice about HDB townships is the vast amount of surrounding greenery. This helps to reduce temperature and to provide more heat relief.
Not only that, but green spaces also help to improve air quality, biodiversity and landscape aesthetics.
According to HDB, green spaces can help to reduce temperatures by up to 3.1 degree Celcius. As these plants grow to increase their coverage, this will help to decrease the surrounding temperature even further.
Apart from that, HDB has also worked to integrate greenery in other ways; including rooftop and skyrise gardens and waterfront living, such as in Waterway Woodcress in Punggol and Hougang Capeview.
#4. Pneumatic Waste Conveyance System (PWCS)
A bit of a tongue-twister, but it’s basically an automated waste management system that uses a vacuum-like system to collect household waste via underground pipes, and transported to a waste container, before being picked up by trucks. Currently, PWCS is implemented in all 38 blocks in Greenprint@Yuhua.
This entire process helps to reduce the need for manual labour, while helping to reduce garbage spills, pest infestation and promotes recycling of waste.
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