New HDB flats go all green
RESIDENTS at new Housing Board flats here will soon be washing their hands in a basin that sits above the toilet cistern.
The water used for washing your hands will be redirected to the cistern for the next flush. This feature is set to become a housing standard in all new flats, along with an array of other eco-friendly touches.
The pioneer batch of 3,139 HDB flats incorporating such features was launched in yesterday's Build-To-Order (BTO) exercise. Welcome to green HDB.
And these features will extend beyond flat interiors into common areas as well.
LED lights with motion sensors will line common corridors, and covered bicycle parking spaces to encourage cycling will pepper void decks.
Lifts which plough energy from braking and moving back into the grid for other purposes - such as lighting for common areas - will also be installed.
This is the second time the HDB has gone big on eco-friendly facilities since the 2007 launch of its pilot eco-precinct, the Treelodge@Punggol.
The pilot project was a success, with energy and water consumption there lower than the national average, said the HDB, prompting it to embark on this large-scale project.
When contacted, environmental experts said that this might mean a higher upfront cost, but that the enhancements would pay for themselves through cost savings within one to three years.
Mr Nilesh Jadhav, a senior scientist at Nanyang Technological University's Energy Research Institute, said the regenerative lifts - which are most effective in tall buildings - can save up to 30 per cent to 40 per cent of energy compared to conventional elevators.
But he said that the LED lights with motion sensors would bring about the largest daily cost-savings.
"LED lights are known to give 50 per cent to 60 per cent more energy savings compared to compact fluorescent lamps, and combining them with motion sensors will help the overall savings to be in the range of 60 per cent to 80 per cent," he said.
But Professor Heng Chye Kiang, the dean of the National University of Singapore's School of Design and Environment, noted that while the motion sensors might be useful, there might be security concerns due to the darkness.
He said: "A minimum acceptable level of ambient lighting should be provided to supplement the motion sensor-activated LED light."
But the good news is that home buyers are unlikely to be paying higher prices for these new-fangled flats.
Mr Nicholas Mak, executive director of research and consultancy at SLP International, said: "Such features are going to be standard across the board soon, so it won't be a case of difference in price between the haves and have-nots."