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Housing & Development Board to collaborate with SP Group to develop smart and sustainable living spaces in Singapore

The Housing & Development Board (HDB) announced three new research agreements with industry partners at the World Cities Summit today. The projects aim to advance its goal of creating smart and sustainable homes for Singaporeans. Through these partnerships, HDB aims to further leverage technology to optimize energy usage, construction efficiency and design capabilities in HDB estates of the future.

Powering Tengah with Artificial Intelligence

The first project involves Tengah, HDB’s newest town announced in 2016. It will be Singapore’s first and largest smart and sustainable town, planned with green and sustainable features, and smart technologies from the outset. HDB will partner the SP Group to study the potential of developing Tengah into a Smart Energy Town. This involves developing and test-bedding a centralised energy software system, akin to a ‘brain’ that will collect, process, analyse, and learn data on energy consumption at the town-, neighbourhood-, and apartment-levels.

Called the Smart Energy Concierge, the system will be powered by artificial intelligence and designed to be connected to the energy grid, energy storage systems and solar photovoltaic (PV) generators. It will be programmed to identify patterns and anomalies in energy flow to minimise disruption to services, channel energy more efficiently to optimise energy use, and promote greater conservation of energy.

Additionally, an Energy Concierge App will be developed to tap on the artificial intelligence of the Smart Energy Concierge software, opening up the potential for innovative services to be created for residents. Future residents of Tengah, including the Town Council, could link their utilities account to the app, to view their energy consumption rates, pay utility bills, and much more.

This holistic approach to energy planning and management will be the first-of-its-kind for an HDB town and the largest of its scale in Singapore. It will enable a more efficient and sustainable model of energy management, will be conducted over a one-year period from July 2018.

Expanding Design and Construction Capabilities through 3D Concrete Printing

In the second project, another first for public housing, HDB will embark on a 3-year research project with Robin Village Development Pte Ltd and collaborators Witteveen+Bos South East Asia Pte Ltd and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), to explore the potential adoption of 3D concrete printing for the production of unique architectural forms and components which would otherwise be expensive and time-consuming to produce.

The research collaboration, costing an estimated $3 million, will look into developing digital fabrication technologies through the creation of a 3D concrete printer. If proven successful, it will offer more design options for HDB developments, and expand the capabilities in the construction industry. It will also raise construction productivity, and reduce the dependency on conventional precast fabrication workers, thus addressing potential labour shortages.

Exploring New Terrain to Expand Solar Capabilities in the Open Sea

To support the acceleration of solar adoption in Singapore, HDB is studying the use of its floating modular system – an in-house invention – for the deployment of solar panels in open sea conditions. It will partner ISO Landscape Pte Ltd to study and develop a Floating Solar System for coastal marine conditions, that can address the harsher environmental conditions at sea. The collaboration seeks to overcome the challenges of marine conditions, like strong winds, wave action, and the accumulation of marine organisms. The study is expected to be completed by 2019.

Enhanced Quality of Life through Landscape Planning and Design

HDB has developed a Biophilic Town Framework to guide the enhancement of existing natural assets and the development of residential landscapes that promote a greater sense of place, better health and well-being, and enhanced quality of life for residents. The framework is documented in a book, titled “Nature, Place & People”, in collaboration with NUS, and with support from NParks, and URA. It outlines the strategies needed to plan and design urban landscapes to achieve the larger urban development goals of sustainability, liveability, and resilience, through a comprehensive set of considerations in the aspects of soil, flora and fauna, outdoor comfort, water, and people.

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