Singapore

HDB working on cooler homes to minimise air-conditioning

As temperatures rise, the Housing Board is seeking to turn out cooler homes with integrated smart systems that reduce the need for residents to turn on the air-conditioner.

It has teamed up with German industrial giant Evonik to study incorporating a high-performance insulation material into the roof panels of blocks of flats to reduce heat gain and transmission.

The aim is to reduce indoor temperatures by 2 deg C.

It involves using the company's new silicon-based material, called Calostat, which has already been adopted in buildings in Germany, Switzerland and England.

The study on its use for HDB roofs is expected to start early next year.

If the tests are successful, the material could potentially be used in other parts of HDB buildings, such as the facade and the intersections of roof parts.

The joint effort was inked in an agreement between the board and Evonik (SEA) at the Government's fifth Urban Sustainability R&D Congress yesterday.

HDB and Evonik will also research the use of 3D concrete printing in construction, a move that will reduce the time needed to build flats and offer buyers more design options.

Unlike the present fabricating process, which takes up to two months to complete, 3D printing does not require the creation of customised mould sets.

It will also address the issue of labour shortages by reducing the dependency on conventional fabrication workers.

Studies to improve the strength and flow of 3D-fabricated concrete will begin in the last three months of this year.

Meanwhile, experts interviewed welcomed the move, noting the urgent need for sustainable urban solutions amid global warming.

"Even a 2 deg C reduction in temperature can reduce air-conditioning consumption by a large amount, especially in top-floor units," said Dr Lee Nai Jia, senior director and head of research at property consultancy Knight Frank.

"It is good the Government is taking the lead, as such research can be very expensive. When the technology is more widely adopted and the price drops, more private sector players can then come in."

Environment