Speech by Senior Minister of State Desmond Lee at the Launch of the NUS-CDL Smart Green Home & NUS-CDL Tropical Technologies (T2) Laboratory
Good afternoon. Thank you for inviting me to this launch, which sees a marvellous cooperation between academia, industry and government.
A Sustainable Singapore is Our National Priority
Many of you would have flipped through today’s papers and seen a photograph of Singapore from outer space. You would have seen the lights of the city enveloping almost the entire island. As a small island city-state, we recognise that we face acute resource constraints. Therefore, sustainable development and prudent use of our limited resources have always been important national priorities.
Green buildings are the building blocks for a sustainable city in Singapore. Back in 2005, we launched the BCA Green Mark scheme to promote sustainability in our built environment and to raise environmental awareness among developers.
Within ten years, we have also introduced three Green Building Masterplans, each focusing on an important aspect of green buildings: first, developing new green buildings, second, retrofitting existing buildings to make them green and thirdly, and possibly the most difficult challenge is to engage end-users – everyday use of buildings and offices. Today, we have greened close to a third of our built-up area and by 2030, we envision that 80 per cent of Singapore’s building stock will be green and environmentally friendly.
We are also bringing sustainable living directly into the lives of Singaporeans in our housing estates. In 2012, we piloted the HDB GreenPrint initiative in Yuhua at Jurong East. Today, we have transformed 38 HDB apartment blocks there. The estate now has a slew of green features ranging from solar panels and rainwater harvesting systems that promote energy and water conservation to green roofs.
We will continue to lead this effort and have since extended the GreenPrint initiative to Teck Ghee in Ang Mo Kio. In 2014, we earmarked the Punggol Northshore district as Singapore’s first smart and sustainable eco-district. Now when completed, this district – Punggol Northshore will have lighting in common areas that are smart and energy-efficient as well as smart fans that respond to wind conditions, human traffic and temperature.
But the public sector is but one part of this push for green and we cannot do it alone.
Partnerships are Crucial to the Greening Journey
Partnerships are therefore crucial to advancing our movement to make our city green and sustainable. We are indeed fortunate to have had many industry partners on board over the years. Many of you here today have played a big role in our journey towards a greener built environment.
On this front, CDL has been at the forefront, continuously pushing the boundaries of environmental sustainability. CDL remains the first and only Green Mark Platinum Champion award recipient and, to date, has over 80 BCA Green Mark developments – the most amongst local developers in Singapore.
The late Mr Kwek Leng Joo, former deputy Chairman of CDL, was widely recognised for his pioneering efforts in environmental sustainability and was awarded the highest accolade on this in October last year, the President’s Award for the Environment.
His leadership was key in shaping CDL into the green leader that it is today. I hope that CDL and our many other industry partners will continue Mr Kwek’s legacy.
Smarter Solutions for a Greener Future
Well we can and indeed should do more. The research and development that you all support are crucial in the next leg of our green journey. In 2014, we shared with everybody the Building Energy Efficiency Research and Development Roadmap.
This roadmap charts the path and prioritises potential technologies that will make significant contributions to our vision for vastly improved energy efficiency in buildings for the tropics. The roadmap identified a lack of test-bedding opportunities as one of the key technical challenges.
Hence, we set up the Green Buildings Innovation Cluster or GBIC as a one-stop hub for researchers to experiment, exhibit, and exchange knowledge of promising building energy efficiency solutions with industry practitioners. GBIC prioritises research and innovation solutions with high market potential and therefore accelerates the adoption of promising and smart green building solutions – it has to be commercially viable to be adopted.
The NUS-CDL Smart Green Home and NUS-CDL Tropical Technologies Laboratory will also make an important contribution Singapore’s R&D ecosystem by creating more opportunities for test-bedding.
The solutions you produce and test-bed in them, can translate into tomorrow’s smart green buildings. For instance, these could be smart green home features, smart building materials or passive building systems.
These laboratories will also deepen partnerships between researchers and industry stakeholders – a very critical partnership if I must say. The public sector on our part will continue to strengthen these partnerships too. EDB, as a supporting partner for the laboratories, will play a strong role to match-make other industry partners. These efforts will cement Singapore as a hub for smart, sustainable and exportable urban solutions. Now we want these technologies to benefit Singaporeans, we want Singaporeans to live in an environment that is green. We are a small city. We nevertheless should lead by example and play our part by living in a green and sustainable way, especially in the tropics, but we can also be an industry leader in innovation and in technology.
It is encouraging therefore to know that our research institutes and industry partners are working closely to design and develop new and innovative green living solutions to advance Singapore’s green movement. I wish all of you every success. With your support and innovation, an endearing, liveable, smart and green Singapore will be within reach. Congratulations to all the partners on the successful launch of these laboratories.
Source: Ministry of National Development