By Yuan Soo Ng, Senior Director, Energy & Sustainability, Singapore

Last week, the Singapore government announced the appointment of Master Developers as the country’s new planning concept with the introduction of Punggol New Town. This is the first time that an appointed developer will have the flexibility to optimise and integrate different users’ needs by developing the district based on land use, including comprehensively designing and implementing pedestrian connectivity and public spaces.

With the launch of this new planning concept, master developers will also be able to plan and implement district-wide systems such as pneumatic waste conveyance systems (PWCS), which is a method of collecting and transporting waste automatically via a vacuum-type underground pipe network to a sealed container.

Such systems are not new to Singapore’s real estate infrastructure – Singapore’s government housing body, the Housing and Development Board (HDB), was one of the first to implement this in 2015.

The benefits from implementing wide-scale energy and sustainability initiatives such as PWCS are multi-fold. Aside from reduced carbon dioxide emissions as a result of reduced waste vehicle traffic, automating the process is expected to reduce overall manpower needs by 70 percent compared to conventional methods of waste collection. However, implementing it at a district-level will require much more coordination and planning in order to successfully achieve the benefits from such a system.

Based on my experience working with building owners on energy and sustainability requirements, it is critical that relevant environmental, economic, and social sustainability criteria are taken into consideration right from the design and conceptual stages in order to ensure a smooth roll-out for an initiative such as Punggol New Town. Engaging with the right energy and sustainability partner right from the design and conceptual stage is key in ensuring the sound development and implementation of cleaner and greener initiatives such as PWCS.

Ultimately, energy and sustainability solutions are not all just about the environmental footprint. It should also be able to lower operating costs, better manage environmental risk, report and benchmark performance, as well as achieve and maintain environmental compliance.

Yuan Soo is instrumental in setting up and growing the energy management business, achieving significant milestones and preferred vendor status in energy audit and procurement over the last 11 years. She also drives green and carbon management initiatives such as successfully registering the installation projects of chiller retrofit and LED lighting with Verified Carbon Standard (a leading voluntary greenhouse gas programme), and the pCDM programme from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.