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    Sep 12, 2014

    Jetsons-style homes for the heartland?

    HOUSING Board flats of the future could be going the way of homes in the Jetsons science-fiction cartoon.

    They might come with energy sensors that monitor consumption, as well as motion sensors which sound the alarm if an elderly resident is in trouble.

    The first sneak peek of what such flats could be equipped with in the future will be in the upcoming precincts in Punggol Northshore, said HDB chief executive Cheong Koon Hean.

    If the features are seen to be feasible there, HDB could roll them out to future projects.

    Speaking at the HDB Peak Forum yesterday, Dr Cheong said the use of smart inventions will focus on four areas: the home, the estate, the environment and the planning process.

    "We want to leverage on information and communication technology to make HDB towns and estates more liveable, efficient, sustainable and safe for our residents," he said.

    Such technologies will be used for town planning, estate management and maintaining environmental conditions.

    Common areas, for instance, will have smart fans that can regulate their speed according to the temperature and humidity measured by sensors.

    Refuse systems, lights and other amenities will be similarly fitted with sensors to aid in maintenance and lower energy usage.

    Computer simulation tools will also be used when towns are planned. Together with data analytics, they can assess green installations such as solar panels and LED lighting, and determine how cost effective they are.

    "Such a tool will better inform planners of the optimal solution for towns, balancing the costs involved with the environmental goals set," explained Dr Cheong.

    Experts said that this push for technology not only offers convenience, but can lead to savings in the long run.

    "Unlike private developments, the volume and homogeneity of HDB projects make these technologies easily replicable and adaptable," said Sing Tien Foo, who is deputy head of the real estate department at the National University of Singapore.

    Operations manager Herman Shah, 26, who lives in an Yishun five-room flat, said: "I don't mind paying more if the energy tracking system can help me to save money eventually."