In the name of connecting Danish urban solution providers to Singaporean urban challenge owners, Access Cities facilitated a dialogue meeting in Singapore on February 26th, 2020. The focal points were district cooling, energy efficiency and Singapore’s objective of greening 80 per cent of its buildings by 2030.
A Danish business delegation to Singapore led by the the Danish Minister for Environment, together with a number of Danish companies in the region, literally received a warm welcome from Access Cities when they visited hot and sunny Singapore in the last week of February. While the weather was highly enjoyed by the Danes, given the wintery conditions present in their home nation, the locals were less pleased and were cranking up the air-conditioning.
Fittingly, cooling was a key topic discussed at the Access Cities Dialogue event, in particular district cooling and other energy efficient ways of cooling the city. Specific to district cooling, a key challenge highlighted during the dialogue is linked to the way urban planning is conducted in Singapore, where different parcels of land are owned by different stakeholders, thus making it difficult to move towards district cooling.
Ar. Tai Lee Siang, Executive Director of BuildSG at the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA), quoted the late former prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, at the Access Cities Dialogue, “Air-conditioning was a most important invention of the twentieth century” and pointed out the correlation drawn by the late former prime minister between productivity and air-conditioning. However, it was also discussed that Singapore is stuck in a vicious cycle, where waste heat from air-conditioners heat up the city, which then causes people to turn up the air-conditioning. This further contributes to the increasing problem of urban heat islands.
Apart from tackling the cooling issue, the Access Cities Dialogue also discussed other areas within the built environment, such as Green Buildings, Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) and Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD), where the targets for Singapore are to green 80 per cent of buildings by 2030, increase DfMA adoption rate to 40 per cent by 2020 and 75% by 2025, and seamlessly connecting players in the built environment through digital information. Within these broad strategic areas, some specific challenges include achieving super-low energy buildings in hot and humid climates such as Singapore’s, the logistics of DfMA and the journey of digital transformation to breakdown the many silos within the sector.
In addition to the built environment, areas where Singapore can benefit from Denmark’s urban solution competencies include holistic urban planning, citizen involvement and engagement, active mobility, intelligent traffic solutions, circular economy and waste management approaches, climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The dialogue also touched upon the broader export opportunities to Singapore and the region, particularly with Singapore serving as a living lab for new solutions and technologies to be tested, adapted and from there leveraging Singapore as a springboard to the rest of the region for further export. It was highlighted that the focus should not just be on technological solutions, but also business models, design and processes, collaborative frameworks, policy frameworks, etc.
In the next coming weeks and months, our Access Cities representative in Singapore, Mr. Allan Teo from Quercus Group, will keep narrowing in on the specific Singaporean urban challenges of relevance for Danish solutions. Feel free to call or write to Allan via phone +65 8102 6722 and email firstname.lastname@example.org