$18m green makeover well under way in Yuhua

Yeo Sam Jo, The Straits Times AsiaOne 29 Dec 14;

SINGAPORE - The $18 million project to transform Yuhua in Jurong into Singapore's first "green" neighbourhood is well under way.

Among the initiatives rolled out thus far are a new bicycle parking system, a vertical green wall and LED lighting in carparks.

Under the Housing Board's Greenprint scheme announced in 2012, 38 blocks in the estate will be equipped with energy- and water-saving solutions.

So far, LED street lighting has been installed at all three open-air carparks and their driveways in the estate. It is estimated that this will reduce energy consumption by at least half.

New double-tiered bicycle racks have also been installed at the void decks of 28 blocks.

Known as a dual bicycle rack system, the frames allow for twice the number of bicycles to be parked in the same space.

Block 223 in Jurong East Street 21 has also received a green makeover - literally.

Its walls are now covered in plant creepers, which, besides enhancing the estate's greenery, are expected to reduce the building's surface temperature by up to 5 deg C.

Also afoot are works to install solar panels on the roofs of 29 blocks, as well as elevator energy-regeneration systems in 18 blocks.

The lift systems can shave off about 20 per cent in energy consumption, while the solar panels will be used to power common areas such as lifts, as well as corridor and staircase lighting.

Work has similarly begun on building a pneumatic waste conveyance system.

This automated method uses vacuum-type underground pipes to gather household refuse, hence reducing the manpower needed for waste collection.
These green initiatives, to be completed next year, are expected to save up to $144,000 annually, said the HDB.

Residents in Yuhua are getting on the green bandwagon with their own activities.

Through the HDB's Greenprint Fund, which supports the testing of green ideas, they have started three hobby farming zones, as well as two community "parklets" - landscaped corners at void decks where residents can rest and interact.

Research engineer Lin Min, 26, who lives in Block 231, said he feels lucky to live in Yuhua and likes the new bicycle racks.

"I grew up here and it's cool to see the estate having a fresher look, and with greener technology," he said.

"The novelty appeals to me, and it feels good to do something for the environment."