Singapore Launches New Central Body for Coordinating Community Sustainability Initiatives

Mar 2020

The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) in Singapore has set up a new SG Eco Office, which will serve as the central body driving and coordinating sustainability initiatives across communities in Singapore. The office will develop holistic benchmarks and indicators to measure and track the progress of projects, taking into consideration factors such as energy and water consumption, waste generation, and other aspects of sustainability such as food production and carbon emissions. MEWR will also launch a SGD 50 million (USD 34.5 million) SG Eco Fund to support the co-creation of sustainability initiatives with Singaporeans. The fund will be made available to all the 3P – People, Private and Public – sectors. More details on the fund, application procedures, and evaluation criteria will be announced in the second half of 2020.

The SG Eco Office will also administer the fund which will be disbursed over a period of five years. The fund will focus on supporting sustainability projects that nudge people and communities towards environmentally-friendly behavior. Examples of possible projects that the SG Eco Fund could support include a community farm that offtakes food waste from the nearby community for composting, or a collaboration with industry partners to testbed new sustainable technologies in an HDB town.

A key project under the SG Eco Office is to transform Singapore’s existing developments into “Eco Towns”. Under the new Green Towns Program of the Housing Development Board (HDB), which is responsible for public housing development in Singapore, HDB will make enhancements to the built environment to make them more environmentally sustainable, and also more livable for residents. The plan will focus on three key areas: reducing energy consumption, recycling rainwater, and cooling HDB towns.

Tampines, Choa Chu Kang, and Nee Soon towns have been earmarked as Singapore’s Eco Towns. The SG Eco Office is currently working with the SP Group (SP), the  sole electrical grid and gas grid operator in Singapore, with support from Temasek, a sovereign wealth fund in Singapore to transform Tampines town into an Eco Town. One initiative is the installation of Eco Boards in several HDB blocks. These Eco Boards are digital displays which will utilize data from smart meters to enable residents to get real-time updates of their block’s aggregated electricity and water usage. Residents can also track the amount of carbon emitted from their consumption practices, and pick up tips to lower their consumption. In addition, the Eco Boards will feature block-level competitions, to spur adoption of a greener lifestyle.

(Source: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore)

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