In the last decade, Singapore's population has grown by 25 per cent and this number will continue to grow for another ten years. With this rapid pace of growth coupled with the impending demand that follows, it comes as no surprise when a study last year by Shell Eastern Petroleum showed that four out of five Singaporeans surveyed ranked future energy needs as important as cost of living, job security and housing affordability. The rising need for energy in Singapore has become an increasing concern for the populace, and businesses too. There has been ongoing discussion, within the parliament as well as on the ground, and the introduction of government regulatory policies like the new Energy Conservation Act (ECA) and the Smart Nation initiative, on meeting the energy challenges of Singapore's growing population.
Evolving to a smart city will give Singapore capabilities to compete in the face of these challenges, even as the population grows to reach the target of 6 million residents set by the government. It will help the country support this anticipated growth in three ways. Firstly, we will see a more efficient city, and improved resiliency of the city's systems - such as public transport, electricity and public services - to any disruption. Second, we will have a more sustainable city, leading to lower operational costs as a result of optimized energy consumption, and a decreased need for massive infrastructure investments. Additionally, the first two benefits will also translate into a higher quality of life for residents, increasing economic competitiveness and the ability to attract and retain a new generation of talent.
Energy Efficiency and Smart Buildings
So how do buildings factor into this equation? Well, buildings make up the majority of the city's landscape and represent a huge opportunity for efficiency. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), today's buildings represent about 40 percent of the world's energy consumption - and will soon be 60%. While this may sound like a staggering figure to some, it definitely strikes a chord with those who pay electricity bills for their homes as well as those who own, operate and pay the energy bills for their buildings.
As Singapore continues on its growth trajectory, so will the demand for space in both the commercial and residential sectors. Making residential buildings smart will improve residents' quality of life, while for commercial office buildings it can increase employee productivity, generate energy savings of up to 30%, reduce carbon emissions and meet assessment criteria from energy management standards such as BCA-IDA Green Mark. While we definitely see a growing number of companies in Singapore adopting these measures to manage their energy consumption, companies can go beyond as well.
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