At the Committee of Supply 2021, National Development Minister Desmond Lee delivered a speech outlining the government’s plan to make urban environment more green and sustainable.
Madam, I now move from City in Nature, to Energy Reset. Buildings account for over 20 per cent of our emissions, so we need to push hard to make our city more sustainable. To achieve this, we will use cleaner energy and increase our energy efficiency.
Ms Cheryl Chan asked for an update on the Singapore Green Building Masterplan. Over the past year, BCA and the Singapore Green Building Council have worked together to develop the next edition of the Singapore Green Building Masterplan together with industry stakeholders and the community. The Masterplan captures our collective commitment to pursue more ambitious sustainability standards in our city.
First, we will green 80 per cent of our buildings by Gross Floor Area by 2030. This is an existing target, to ensure that the majority of buildings that we use in our everyday lives will be sustainable and energy efficient. To date, we have made good progress by greening over 43 per cent of our buildings, but we have more to do. Beyond that, we must push more owners of buildings to pursue best-in-class standards, and become Super Low Energy buildings, or SLE buildings. Super Low Energy buildings, which achieve at least 60 per cent improvement in energy efficiency compared to 2005 levels, represent the next wave of our green building movement. They are key to our transition to a more sustainable, low-carbon Built Environment.
Hence, our second target is for 80 per cent of new buildings to be Super Low Energy buildings from 2030. The Government will take the lead in Super Low Energy buildings. In so doing, we will build industry capability to develop Super Low Energy buildings and provide more use cases for the private sector to take reference from.
Our third target is for our best-in-class green buildings to see an 80 per cent improvement in energy efficiency compared to 2005 levels by 2030 , pushing the boundary further. We will ramp up research and innovation efforts to push the boundaries of energy efficiency, and accelerate deployment of cost-effective green technologies. Since 2014, our Green Buildings Innovation Cluster (GBIC) programme has supported the research, prototyping and demonstration of green building technologies, and helped to bring these solutions to market. We are seeing how we can further enhance funding support for GBIC, to help us achieve this ambitious third target.
Sustainability has always been integral to our transformation plans for the Built Environment. And we should build on the green movement to drive transformation across the entire value chain, and create more opportunities for our firms and our local workforce. Minister of State Tan Kiat How and I will elaborate on how we plan to do so at MND’s COS debate later.
Our new HDB towns will be greener and more sustainable. For example, Tengah will have centralised cooling systems, electric vehicle charging points, and extensive deployment of solar panels. HDB is also incorporating technology into the design of towns to improve ventilation and reduce heat gain. Within their homes, residents will be able to use technology and apps to monitor and optimise the use of their home appliances and equipment, enabling them to conserve electricity and save money, and participate in our sustainability efforts too.
Members also asked about our plans to make existing towns more sustainable. MND and MSE are working together to turn every town into an Eco Town, by encouraging residents to live more sustainably. To achieve this, we will make use of infrastructure solutions under the HDB Green Towns Programme to help our existing towns reduce their energy consumption by 15 per cent by 2030, from the levels in 2020. We will achieve this through both technology and design. For example, we are using smart LED lights to reduce energy use, doubling total solar capacity on HDB rooftops, and converting the top decks of suitable multi-storey carparks into urban farms, community gardens, and green landscapes.
Since we announced the Green Towns Programme last year, we have made good progress. So far, HDB has called or awarded tenders to implement solar panels on more than 5,700 HDB blocks. Installation of these solar panels is in progress and will be completed in the next two to three years, achieving more than 50 per cent of our 2030 solar capacity target of 540 megawatt-peak. HDB and SFA have also awarded tenders for urban farming at nine multi-storey carparks, and will be working closely to do more. In addition, residents or organisations with interesting ideas to promote sustainability can tap on MSE’s Eco Fund for their initiatives. And if these prove workable, MND and MSE will work together to see if these can be scaled to more HDB estates under the Green Towns Programme. We will share more about our efforts to enhance liveability and strengthen predictive maintenance in housing estates at MND’s COS.
We are also developing eco-friendly districts as demonstration projects to show how it can be done. For example, Jurong Lake District will be developed as a model sustainable mixed-use district. Future developments in the District will seek to meet higher sustainability targets that are above our national goals, where possible. We envision the District to be a model for how innovative solutions and technology can enable a more liveable, sustainable, and healthier urban environment. It can also serve as a testing ground for such innovative urban solutions.
Driving Research & Development in Urban Sustainability
Indeed, innovation enables us to keep moving forward on the journey of sustainable development. That is why R&D is part of our long-term strategy for urban sustainability.
Since its launch in 2017, our Cities of Tomorrow R&D programme has supported research and development that helps to address urban sustainability challenges. For example, HDB and NUS are exploring urban designs that harness solar heat to create temperature differences that enhance air movement through a building. This can help create natural drafts to cool the environment, thereby minimising residents’ air-conditioning needs. We will build on the good progress of Cities of Tomorrow, and extend it for another 5 years. Ms Cheryl Chan and Nadia Samdin asked how we will support R&D into nature-based solutions. Under Cities of Tomorrow, R&D that supports our efforts to become a City in Nature will be a key research area that we will significantly invest in. For example, we will support research and development of technology that seeks to enhance biodiversity, explore nature-based solutions for climate adaptation, and more.