'As a result of its place as a net energy importer, Singapore has been progressive in reducing its dependency on foreign energy through improved energy efficiency, especially in building and households'
As a result of its position as a resource-poor country in terms of local energy sources, Singapore imports 100% of its energy, all of which is currently supplied by imported fossil fuels. There are limitations on implementing renewable energy programs because of Singapore's small size and high density. The country lacks a major river system necessary for hydroelectric power, while the calm ocean and low wind speeds that has made it an ideal port city limits its potential for tidal energy or commercial wind turbines. While there is potential for solar energy, land scarcity and regular cloud cover restricts the potential for large scale installation. Despite these limitations, research and pilot projects are being implemented for small-scale solar programs, as well as the potential for nuclear energy installation.
Due to its place as a net energy importer, Singapore has been progressive in reducing its dependency on foreign energy through improved energy efficiency, especially in building and households. Consequently, CO2 emissions have dropped from 15.4 metric tonnes per capita in 1990 to 11.8 in 2007 and energy use in terms of kg of oil equivalent per capita has dropped from 6,062 kg in 1997 to 3,828 in 2008. This may be partially attributed to the increase in electricity generation from natural gas, the majority of which is generated using highly efficient combined cycle technology.
The Treelodge@Punggol is a housing development that is the first Green Mark Platinum Award for a Public Housing Project. This new 'eco-precinct' has seven residential blocks with 712 units, designed with the intention of promoting energy efficiency, decreasing maintenance costs and ensuring the efficient use of resources.
The development includes passive design strategies, as the blocks were strategically placed with façade windows facing the prevailing winds from the north‑east. In doing so, the flats maximise natural lighting and ventilation. The buildings also include enhanced thermal insulation, energy-saving light fixtures in common areas, solar panels above the car park, external clothes drying racks and efficient lifts. All the blocks have sky rise greenery on the roofs, as well as facade greenery on the first three storeys of every building in order to lower ambient temperatures.
Treelodge@Punggol was awarded the Chicago Athenaeum's Green GOOD Design Award in 2010.
As a non-Annex I Party to the UNFCCC, Singapore is not subject to binding GHG emission reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. However, the government has pledged to reduce emissions by 16 percent below Business-as-Usual (BAU) levels by 2020.
The government has committed to invest $1billion over 5 years to support sustainable development programmes. Other goals include improving the energy efficiency of public housing estates by 30% for older Housing and Development Board (HDB) estates and 20% for new estates. This has the potential for widespread improvement, as 84% of Singapore's residents live in HDB flats.
As part of the HDB’s island-wide test of solar technology in public housing, solar photovoltaic panels have been installed in five precincts to supply electricity to common areas and lifts.
Singapore's Building and Construction Authority launched the Green Mark Scheme in early 2005 as an initiative to drive Singapore's construction industry towards more energy efficient construction. It is intended to promote sustainability in the built environment while also creating differentiation of buildings in the real estate market. This is anticipated to have a positive effect on corporate image, leasing and resale value of buildings.
The program aims to have 80% of existing buildings, including both private and public housing, achieving at least a Green Mark Certification rating by 2030. For new buildings within strategic districts, a higher rating of Green Mark GoldPLUS/Platinum will be a condition for land sales.
New buildings and existing buildings undergoing major retrofitting are also required to meet minimum requirements on environmental sustainability, equivalent to Green Mark standards.
As part of the government's Green Mark Scheme, the Gross Floor Area Incentive applies to all new private developments, redevelopments and reconstruction, including residential projects that are over 2,000 m2 or higher from 2006. The plan provides cash incentives to developers, building owners, architects and engineers for those who make efforts to achieve a Green Mark Gold rating or higher. The scheme covers the additional costs for the development to achieve a higher Green Mark standard.
The Building and Construction Authority also released a document handbook, available to developers, architects and interested owners, regarding PV systems and the ways in which to best integrate the systems into buildings.
As part of the Energy Efficient Singapore programme, the 10% Energy Challenge was launched to promote energy efficiency at home. This programme also helps people choose energy efficient home appliances with energy labels, which are now mandatory on air conditioners, fridges and clothes dryers