Top Green Asian City the Place to Invest in Energy Efficiency
Singapore came up tops in the first Asian Green City Index for its management of waste and water resources, also scoring consistently above average in the other categories, such as sanitation and environmental governance. Meanwhile, the latest batch of recipients of the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) Eco-Office Label said they saw savings of between 5% and 30% in utility costs, plus Singapore has the greatest investment potential in South-east Asia when it comes to energy efficiency improvements, says a new report funded by the British government.
Cheryl Ong in the Straits Times (15 Feb 2011):
THE little red dot is green, too. An inaugural study commissioned by European technology company Siemens has found Singapore to be the greenest city in Asia.
The Asian Green City Index, put together by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), ranked 22 major cities – including Tokyo, Delhi and Shanghai – in eight categories.
Singapore came up tops in its management of waste and water resources. It also scored consistently above average in the other categories, such as sanitation and environmental governance.
EIU senior consultant Jan Friederich, who led the team that carried out the study in Asia, said Singapore fared well thanks to the Government’s emphasis on long-term sustainability.
“It’s building on a long legacy of focusing on sustainability, and also on long-term planning that yields results only after a certain period of time, and that’s something not as prevalent in other Asian countries,” he said.
According to benchmarks set by experts from the United Nations and the World Bank, Singapore is a winner for the way it collects and disposes of waste. The index noted that the Government has raised its target to recycle rubbish from 56 per cent in 2008 to 65 per cent by 2020. Singapore also fared well in its plans for green transport systems, such as investing in doubling the rail network by 2020, and installing new cycling paths in neighbourhoods.
Dr Amy Khor, Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, accepted the Green City Award handed out here yesterday.
“Our reputation as a clean and green city is the result of continuous effort, involving all stakeholders from the Government, industry and community,” she said.
The closest runner-up in overall rankings was Japan, whose three cities rated in the study – namely Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama – ranked highly.
“The study of Asian cities shows one thing very clearly: higher income does not necessarily mean higher resource consumption,” said Mr Friederich.
He said while countries used more resources as their annual gross domestic product (GDP) rose to €15,000 (S$26,000) per capita, consumption dipped when GDP rose further than that thanks to more efficient infrastructure and greater environmental awareness.
But while Singapore fared well in most of the categories, it raked up carbon emissions on a par with cities like London, and higher than any of the other cities in the study. The study also found that air pollution levels are relatively high in the cities it covered.
Siemens commissioned similar studies of Europe and Latin America in the past two years, in which Copenhagen and Curitiba were found to be the greenest cities.
Siemens’ chief sustainability officer Barbara Kux said the study helps countries to learn from each other, and to do so quickly because of the growth of new cities all over Asia.
The United Nations Population Division estimates that more than 40 per cent of people in Asia now live in cities.
This latest finding comes two days after a study by consultancy firm Solidiance compared cities in the Asia-Pacific region according to eco-friendliness.
Singapore was among the top four cities, behind Tokyo, Seoul and Melbourne, for its policies on green buildings and water management.
Yesterday evening, Siemens also handed out its inaugural Green Technology Journalism Award.
The Straits Times’ environment correspondent Jessica Cheam picked up the top prize in the sustainability category.
She had submitted a Saturday Special report, published in The Straits Times on Dec 18, about sustainable forestry, which trumped over 190 other entries from Asean countries including Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.
Besides the €1,000 in prize money, she will go on a sponsored trip to Germany to attend a seminar organised by the Technical University of Berlin on sustainability and new technologies, and visit Siemens research centres.
Nine other journalists also walked away with awards that covered three categories: industrial productivity, energy efficiency and sustainability.
Wayne Chan Channel News Asia (16 Feb 2011):
SINGAPORE: Taking the effort to ‘green’ offices has paid dividends.
The latest batch of recipients of the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) Eco-Office Label on Wednesday said they saw savings of between five and 30 per cent in utility costs.
Gammon Construction Quality Assurance Manager Thng Seng Huat said they made efforts to orientate the site offices to be north-south facing to reduce heat gain, cutting down the need for air-conditioning.
They have also designed the layout of lighting and air-conditioning at their offices to maximise energy efficiency.
“(The staff) make an effort to switch off the computer and also the wall switches when they are leaving the office,” Mr Thng said.
“After meetings, they switch off the meeting room lights. When they go out, they try to car pool. They cut down on overseas travelling by using the video-conferencing.
Another recipient, Changi Women’s Prison, said simple changes like installing energy efficient light bulbs, and water saving taps and flushes, helped them achieve their target of 20 per cent savings in water and up to 30 per cent savings in electricity.
22 new recipients received their certificates on Wednesday, bringing the number of green offices in Singapore to 73 since the Eco-Office label was first launched in 2005.
Executive Director of the Singapore Environment Council Howard Shaw said the eco certification scheme will be rolled out to two more sectors in the second quarter of this year.
“We’ve identified the retail industry where there are significant issues such as energy consumption, packaging and waste as well. Singapore having such dense shopping districts and there are more and more coming up all the time, we feel that some standards in this field would be useful.”
Building and Construction Authority CEO John Keung said that beyond the use of energy efficient technology, it takes commitment from users of buildings to achieve results.
He said this was especially so for tenanted buildings where the landlords face the challenge of reducing total energy consumption although individual tenant’s energy use is usually out of his or her control.
Mr Shaw said: “There is a general perception that if you go green in the office, it’s going to mean greater inconvenience for people and added cost to the business, when many cases, the opposite is true.
“All our eco-certified offices have actually reported that they’ve saved on their operating costs, especially in the area of energy.”
He added that one of the biggest wasters of energy that is often overlooked is standby power. Many companies often leave appliances on standby overnight even when not in use.
Singapore was recently ranked first in green building policy in the Asia Pacific, doing better than cities like Tokyo, Seoul and Sydney.
By Grace Chua in Straits Times (14 February 2011):
Singapore has the greatest investment potential in South-east Asia when it comes to energy efficiency improvements, says a new report funded by the British government.
The benefits of such initiatives are clear, as the investments would help the region’s businesses cut back on energy consumption while maintaining output.
The report, by boutique investment firm ReEX Capital Asia, assessed investment potential in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam based on energy prices, regulatory conditions and the market size in each country.
Singapore could take up to US$1.1 billion (S$1.4 billion) worth of investments in energy-saving technologies and techniques, according to the report.
The figure could swell sixfold if the power sector was included – for example, if generation companies invested in such changes at their plants – said ReEX managing director Frederic Crampe, who presented the report on Friday at an energy efficiency seminar organised by the British High Commission.
Improvements in industrial and commercial buildings could save as much as US$341 million here each year, he said.
Singapore falls midway in the list by market size, but its high, unsubsidised energy tariffs mean that boosting efficiency would pay off faster.
It also enjoys strong government support and has a healthy supply of experts able to implement such projects.
For example, companies here can apply to a $10 million scheme that pays for up to half the cost of their energy audits.
And come 2013, legislation will require energy-guzzling companies to appoint energy managers.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) is already training managers and accrediting experts to carry out energy-use appraisals.
However, academic and former NEA chairman Simon Tay, who also attended the seminar, asked how much demand there was for such solutions and investments, and what the level of awareness was.
The Economic Development Board’s resource development director, Mr Chiu Wen Tung, said big energy consumers such as pharmaceutical manufacturers were already implementing energy-saving programmes.