New system to help boost HDB’s sustainability planning

French firms Electricite de France and Veolia Environment Recherche et Innovation reached an agreement with the Housing Development Board (HDB) on 3 July 2012 to help the agency develop a modelling tool that can test sustainable urban planning solutions in public housing estates.
( HDB hopes to achieve lower carbon emissions through the Greenprint scheme. Image courtesy of Thinkstock.)
Funded by the Economic Development Board (EDB), the new technology will be completed in a year.
It uses a complex systems modelling technique to simulate the man-made environment of a city and its impact on resources, the environment, people and costs. This will significantly streamline the calculations of figures for various developing elements such as energy, waste, water, transport and greenery, which used to be computed separately.
In an interview with TODAY, HDB Chief Executive Officer Cheong Koon Hean said, “This new tool will help us in formulating holistic and sustainable urban solutions that will ultimately benefit our residents.”
“The good thing about this system is that it can pick and recommend the best combination of strategies for the planner to adopt,” Director of the Centre of Excellence for Building Research at HDB’s Building Research Institute, Teh Poh Suan, told Channel NewsAsia.
“We do not have to do the trial and error physically, we can do it through the computer. So with that, we reduce the risk significantly of introducing something that isn’t so workable on the ground.”
Right now, the system is being tried out on the pilot Greenprint neighbourhood of Jurong East town to maximise the area’s use of solar panels using data on shading patterns and rooftop space. Through this, HDB aims to achieve lower carbon emissions.
One of the key initiatives in the Ministry of National Development’s Budget Debate 2012, the Greenprint framework was introduced to push for greener and more sustainable homes, and promote a more eco-friendly lifestyle involving cycling or walking.
“The complex systems model can simulate the different traffic conditions in the towns and behavioural patterns of pedestrians. This could be useful in identifying new locations of new cycling paths, bicycle parking spots, or allocation of resting points,” said a HDB spokesperson to The Business Times.
The modelling tool also has the potential to organise waste-collection areas based on the amount of waste a building generates, in order to assist HDB’s incoming pneumatic refuse collection system.
HDB told The Business Times that this technology will help them in planning greenfield projects (land previously unused for commercial development) so that developers can be better equipped to design and place new blocks to encourage wind flow within estates.
Also in the pipeline as part of the Greenprint scheme is the Green Home Package, where residents can take their pick from an array of energy-saving home appliances and enjoy cost savings.