HDB to fund green ideas for its estates

Daryl Chin Straits Times 21 Feb 13;

THE Housing Board is providing funding of up to $100,000 to spur the development and testing of green ideas for its estates.

The money for this first-ever initiative will come from a $1 million Greenprint fund that was launched yesterday.

The ideas need to be original and revolve around areas such as saving water and electricity, increasing recycling rates, reducing heat in the environment and improving the quality of life.

The test-bedding site is in Yuhua, specifically Blocks 209 to 240 along Jurong East Street 21.

"This provides anyone, from industry experts and students to ordinary members of the public, with the chance to put their great green ideas into action and see them developed," said the HDB.

Ideas that prove to be workable after testing could be implemented in other towns, it added.

Interested participants can apply on their own or form a team of up to five members. They can also be companies or schools.

Proposals will be evaluated by a panel of experts from the HDB, among others, who will also determine the grant amount.

Environment consultant Eugene Tay said the initiative will help raise awareness of eco-issues. "When residents see the actual solutions being implemented in their backyard, they will have a better sense of what it takes to save the environment and in turn try to pitch in," he added.

He is optimistic that the "substantial" funding will help generate good ideas.

Applications, which have opened on the HDB website, will close on May 20.

The projects will run till next year and the HDB will also gather feedback from Yuhua residents.

The latest move is part of the HDB Greenprint, which was announced in October last year.

So far, various activities are already up and running for residents in Yuhua.

For example, the HDB is working with vendors to sell energy-saving appliances such as air-conditioners, refrigerators and lighting fixtures to residents at discounted rates.

The board is also implementing by next year a pneumatic system that sucks rubbish from flats to a central collection point via an underground network of pipes.

Under another programme, the HDB has also committed some $15 million to put up solar panels in areas like Punggol.

The energy is used to power facilities such as lifts, lights in corridors and staircases, as well as water pumps.

The hope is to test-bed such technology in 200 public housing blocks by 2015.