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Punggol eco-town to test-bed energy solutions for public housing

As published on CNA
03 Aug 2011

Punggol ecotown to testbed energy solutions for public housing

SINGAPORE: One block of public housing in Singapore's Punggol eco-town will be a test-bed for environmentally-friendly energy solutions.

The project is a collaboration between Japanese electronics giant Panasonic and government agencies - the Housing and Development Board, the Economic Development Board and the Energy Market Authority.

It aims to get 10 households in the block of HDB flats to participate and may include more homes later.

An integrated energy system will help families reduce their carbon footprint and utilities bill.

Energy-producing solar panels will be fitted on the block of flats and these will power lifts and lighting during the day.

Excess electricity generated by the solar panels can be stored in batteries, which households can tap on for energy at night. This potentially means zero emissions being generated in powering an entire housing block.

In the participating homes, appliances like air-conditioning will be upgraded. Panasonic said it will help households fit new air-conditioning systems at no cost to them.

Low Beng Huat, general manager of regional planning group at Panasonic Asia Pacific, said: "Just by changing the air-con to a more energy-efficient one, which is the inverter model, we already expect around 50 per cent of savings in terms of electricity consumption.

"And this time round, we are going to introduce a new technology, which is Home Energy Management Systems, and also potentially linking up to the smart meters of the potential smart grid in future."

The smart grid is being explored by authorities to enhance Singapore's power network.

Chee Hong Tat, chief executive of Energy Market Authority, said: "Unlike a traditional grid which relies on the passive transmission of electricity from generators to consumers, a smart grid can integrate the actions and responses of connected parties such as the grid operator, utility retailers, businesses and consumers to reap efficiency-savings and other system benefits."

The project will start this year and will run until 2013.

Panasonic said it will approach the households to convince them to participate in the project. Participating households will not incur any cost.

Once participants are on board, physical installation of the system for the project is expected to commence next year.

- CNA/fa/al

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