LET BRIGHT IDEAS LIGHT UP SINGAPORE
Give subsidies for efforts to use reusable sources of energy for city light-up
(27 MAR 06, TODAY)
I refer to the article, “Lighting up S’pore’s Skyline” (March 25 – 26)
The various incentives to encourage building owners to light up Singapore, especially in the central business district and Marina Bay, must be applauded.
Gone are the days when buildings were grey and lifeless, especially after sunset.
For Singapore to have a vibrant image and create life after dusk, this must surely be a move in the right direction.
But wait a minute. Are we not forgetting something? The Government will allow owners to claim up to half-a-million dollars to cover half of the costs.
While the Urban Redevelopment Authority claims that such a light up should not cost more than 1 per cent of total energy bills, I think that 1 per cent is still too wasteful.
We must bear in mind that energy bills for a large building can run into millions each month. This is blatant disregard of the energy crisis currently gripping the world.
Let no one forget that we have not yet found a suitable renewable energy source that is sustainable and economical.
Perhaps a wiser curse of action for Government would be to encourage building owners to invest in renewable sources of energy such as solar or wind to power such a light up.
Any funds, subsidies or tax allowances should be directed at such efforts that will reduce Singapore’s reliance on oil and gas, a depleting and increasingly-expensive fuel option.
If we do so, we will be paying homage to Mother Nature while not sidelining our objective of lighting up Singapore and showcasing a dazzling city life.
Who says we cannot have our cake and eat it as well? All it takes is some bridge ideas and illumination in the right departments and we can environmentally responsible and rake in tourist dollars at the same time.
- Letter from Sonny Yuen Chee Choong
LIGHT-UP PLANS = MORE CO2
Increased night lighting will contradict undertaking to cut down pollution
(28 MAR 06, TODAY)
I WONDER if there is inconsistency in Singapore Government’s policies when the Minister of National Development Mah Bow Tan unveiled plans to encourage owners in the new and iexisting Central Business District to light up their commercial buildings (“Lighting Up S’pore’s skyline”, March 25 – 26).
The contradiction refers to the undertaking by Environment and Water Resources Minster Yaacob Ibrahim to comply with the Kyoto Protocol on cutting down the emission of environmentally-polluting carbon dioxide gas, which is produced during the generation of electricity using fosil fuels.
The proposed increased lighting of commercial buildings at night will result in the quantitative increase in carbon dioxide emission, which will worsen the global warming situation.
It is not difficult to envision the effect of rising sea levels on a low-lying littoral country such as Singapore.
The CapitaLand spokesman said the “the attractive appearance (of Capital Towers as a result of the lighting) has helped to pull in blue chip tenants”.
Surely an office building’s attractions lie more in its large column-free structure, efficient and adequate lifts, good connectivity, location, security and effective building management?
Also, the tenants would have had committed to the rental even before the building had been completed and its ‘changing of the hues of the light’ had becomes apparent. External lighting serves no functional use and should therefore be minimised in the spirit of the Kyoto Protocol, to save our environment.
- Letter from Bin Hee Heng
LIGHTING'S NO LONGER A LUXURY, IT'S NECESSARY
(1 Apr 06, TODAY)
I refer to the letters "Let bright ideas light up Singapore" by Mr Sonny Yuen Chee Choong (March 27) and "Light-up plans = more CO2" by Mr Bin Hee Heng (March 28).
Mr Yuen and Mr Bin expressed concern that the Government's plan to light up Singapore's skyline would lead to a quantitative increase in energy consumption and carbon dioxide emission from the burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity, which will worsen the global warming situation.
We would like to assure them that the Government is mindful of the need to strike a balance between making our city more attractive through lighting and keeping energy consumption low. Good night lighting can be a city's competitive advantage amid keen competition among the cities of the world today to attract investors, tourists and talent. World cities such as Paris, New York and London understand this and have already set themselves apart through establishing distinct and recognisable night identities through lighting.
To remain competitive in the world arena, Singapore has put in place a lighting plan to encourage building owners in the Central Business District (CBD) and Marina Bay areas to incorporate external building lighting as part of the overall architectural design of their buildings. Night lighting will help to strengthen the identities of the buildings and the city centre and develop a memorable image for Singapore at night. It will also enliven the city and make it more appealing for activities after dark.
While good city lighting has become more of a necessity than a luxury for Singapore, the Government is also mindful of the need to optimise energy use and that night lighting is not overdone.
To keep energy costs manageable and focus lighting efforts at specific times, URA encourages buildings to be lit up only on weekends, during festive occasions and national celebrations from 7pm to 11pm.
Based on these lighting times, exterior building lighting makes up less than 1 per cent of the total energy bill of a building. The biggest proportion of energy usage for a building comes from air-conditioning, which can go up to 50 per cent of the total energy bill.
With good lighting design, building owners can save on energy costs by cutting down on over lighting, while improving the lighting effect on their buildings. New lighting technologies like energy-saving bulbs and reflectors have also drastically reduced electricity consumption.
The Government will guide building owners to design lighting that is economical, durable and energy-efficient. We thank the writers for their feedback and concern.
LER SENG ANN
Director (Conservation & Development Services)
Urban Redevelopment Authority