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Greener, More Sustainable Homes as HDB Pilots UrbanWater Harvesting System in Existing Estates
Award of sixth SolarNova tender will also bring solar energy to 1,200 HDB blocks in existing HDB estates
As part of efforts to improve the sustainability of HDB towns, HDB will be extending the UrbanWater Harvesting System (UWHS) to existing estates for the first time through a pilot project covering 89 blocks in two HDB towns. HDB called a tender today for the installation of UWHS to harvest rainwater for non-potable uses at the common areas of 89 blocks across Yishun and Jurong. It is estimated that about 15 UWHSs will be installed, potentially reaping water savings of about 17,500m3 per year, or the average yearly consumption of potable water of over 85 units of 4-room HDB flats.
2 Separately, HDB has also awarded the sixth tender for the installation solar panels at about 1,200 HDB blocks under the SolarNova programme. These efforts, rolled out under the HDB Green Towns Programme 1, mark another step forward in HDB’s move to make our towns more liveable, resource-efficient, and sustainable for our residents.
3 First introduced in all suitable Build-to-Order (BTO) projects in 2018, the UWHS is designed to maximise the volume of rainwater collected by harvesting stormwater surface runoff from the ground area surrounding multiple residential blocks. The stormwater from surface runoff that is discharged into an estate’s surrounding drainage system will first be channelled into the UWHS’ harvesting and detention tank.
4 The system’s rainwater harvesting capability and water detention capacity allows for a single UWHS to harvest from and dispense water to as many as 12 residential blocks, for non-potable uses. Some of these uses include the washing of common areas and watering of plants in HDB estates, where the UWHS can save up to 50% of water usage for these purposes. In addition, the channelling of stormwater into the UWHS’ harvesting and detention tank can mitigate potential flood risks in an estate in the event of a heavy downpour, by slowing down the rate of discharge of stormwater into the drainage system downstream.
Schematic of how the UrbanWater Harvesting System works. [Credit: HDB]
5 Unlike in new BTO projects where the UWHS infrastructure can be planned and designed upfront to ensure it is located where the most amount of rainwater can be collected through the drain networks, retrofitting the UWHS into existing estates is more challenging as it involves analysing the flow of the rainwater in the catchment area and identifying suitable locations to accommodate the system amidst other essential services infrastructure that would already be in place underground.
6 Hence, the introduction of the UWHS to the 89 blocks in Yishun and Jurong will be a pilot project, to assess the utility of the UWHS as applied to an existing HDB estate. With the UWHS roll-out to existing estates for the first time, this will level up the sustainability provisions of existing estates to match that of newer HDB estates and help us to assess the extent of potential scale-up in future. The full list of blocks can be found in Annex A. The tender2 for the implementation of the UWHSs in Yishun and Jurong will close on 20 May 2022. Construction of the systems is expected to commence in 2023 and complete in 2027. HDB will study the cost-effectiveness of the system in reducing potable water consumption and mitigating flood risks in existing HDB estates, before deciding on the extent of future scale-up to other suitable estates.
7 In addition to launching the UWHS tender, HDB has awarded the sixth tender for the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at 1,198 HDB blocks and 57 government sites under the SolarNova programme. Under this programme, HDB aggregates public sector demand for the installation of solar panels across HDB blocks and government sites. This generates clean energy and helps to reduce carbon emissions, thereby mitigating the effects of climate change.
8 The tender, called in March 2021, attracted six bids from both local and foreign companies. HDB has awarded the tender to the joint venture of Digo Corporation Pte. Ltd and Terrenus Energy Pte. Ltd. Installation of the solar PV systems is expected to begin in 3Q 2022 and complete by 1Q 2025, reaping a solar PV capacity of 70 MWp. The list of government organisations and sites covered under the sixth SolarNova tender is attached in Annex B.
9 To date, HDB has called a total of seven solar leasing tenders under the SolarNova Programme. Including the last (seventh) tender which was called in February 2022, HDB has committed a total solar capacity of 380 MWp or equivalent to powering 95,000 4-room flats with solar energy, bringing us a step closer to realising our solar target of 540 MWp by 2030.
10 HDB’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Tan Meng Dui, said, “As part of HDB’s sustainability efforts under the Green Towns Programme, we developed the UrbanWater Harvesting System, which was first introduced in new BTO projects in 2018. With the vast majority of our residents staying in existing HDB estates, we have taken a further step to pilot the system in existing HDB estates. While such brownfield developments will be more challenging to implement, compared to building the system as part of a new HDB development, the extension of the UWHS to existing estates will help to level up the sustainability provisions of our existing estates, and bring the benefits of green and sustainable living to more residents and towns.”
11 Beyond the UWHS and SolarNova efforts, new initiatives under the HDB Green Towns Programme were also unveiled in the Committee of Supply 2022. We will be introducing more e-waste recycling bins within HDB estates and explore the use of Light Emitting Surfaces (LES) for block signages, to make our towns more sustainable. To encourage green commute, more dual bicycle racks and Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points will be provided in HDB estates. HDB will continue to push frontiers of sustainability for both new and existing towns, to create a more resource-efficient, sustainable, and liveable environment for our residents.
About HDB Green Towns Programme
As the master planner and largest housing developer in Singapore, HDB plays a key role in supporting Singapore’s commitment to sustainable development. The HDB Green Towns Programme is a 10-year plan to further this effort and bring sustainable living to all existing HDB towns, with large-scale implementation of green features to improve residents’ quality of life. It is a key initiative under the Singapore Green Plan which aims to build a more sustainable future in the face of climate change.
Since 2005, HDB has been driving sustainability efforts to achieve a 10% reduction in annual energy consumption in HDB towns as of 2020. Through the Green Towns Programme, HDB aims to reduce energy consumption by a further 15% by 2030. The programme focuses on three areas of sustainability and liveability: (i) reduce energy consumption, (ii) recycle rainwater, and (iii) cool HDB towns. It brings together initiatives that have already been implemented or trialled successfully in some HDB towns/estates, as well as new initiatives that have the potential for scaling up (please refer to Annex C).
About SolarNova Programme
The SolarNova programme, led jointly by HDB and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), accelerates the deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in Singapore and helps drive the growth of Singapore’s solar industry. It is also an integral part of the HDB Green Towns Programme (GTP), which aims to make HDB towns more sustainable and liveable.
Being the largest driver for the installation of solar PV systems in Singapore, HDB aggregates public sector demand for the installation of solar panels across HDB blocks and government sites. This generates clean energy and helps to reduce carbon emissions, thereby mitigating the effects of climate change.
1 The HDB Green Towns Programme is a 10-year plan to bring sustainable living to all existing HDB towns, with large-scale implementation of green features to improve residents’ quality of life. It is a key initiative under the Singapore Green Plan which aims to build a more sustainable future for Singapore in the face of climate change.
2 The tender bids will be evaluated based on the Price Quality Method (PQM), which will include key factors such as the tenderers’ track record in project delivery and safety, as well as its cost effectiveness such as design proposals of the system, and maintenance requirements.