Singapore is set to have its first smart-enabled public housing estate, Punggol Northshore Residences, which will be ready for occupation in 2021.
These new homes will come with capabilities such as smart power sockets and high-tech distribution boards.
Appliances that have been connected to a power source, such as fans and coffeemakers, can be managed via a mobile application. These devices can be controlled from anywhere, without having to be home. All that is needed is to just access or speak to the app. This app will most probably be able to support more appliances in the future.
Here are some of the technologies and smart planning tools used for these new flats:
- Wind flow
The use of computer simulations of wind flow through a town will aid planners in deciding how the buildings should be facing and of where to locate wind corridors to reduce the surrounding temperature and improve ventilation.
- Solar irradiance
Computers are used for analysing and monitoring the amount of heat gained and solar exposure in specific areas throughout the year. This is to identify spots with the highest heat concentration. It also helps planners to decide where greenery can be placed on the buildings for lowering down the surrounding temperature and for putting in place solar panels.
Use of computer simulations of the shadows cast by a range of buildings at different times of the day or year. This will help planners decide on where to input outdoor amenities such as playgrounds and fitness corners.
- Smart fans
There will be automatic activation of ceiling fans in community spaces, when there is a temperature rise and when there is a crowd. The speed of the fans is regulated, based on the amount of human traffic so as to ensure that there isn’t energy wastage.
- Smart lighting
Sensors will be installed for the lighting to allow for the automatic adjusting of luminosity, based on human traffic. When there is minimal traffic, the luminosity can be reduced to 30 percent. This could reduce energy usage by as much as 40 percent.
Solar Panel sensors
- These sensors will monitor the capability of the solar panels and predict when they will need to undergo cleaning and maintenance.
- Smart pneumatic waste conveyance system
Sensors will be placed within this system for monitoring of waste production volume. This will help in the assignment of people for collecting the waste.
As part of efforts for being more eco-friendly, Punggol Northshore Residences will come with centralised chutes for recyclables.
- Smart irrigation
Sensors will be installed for monitoring the rate of water retention in the soil. The information collected from this will be fed into an automated system that overlooks the landscape watering schedule, so that watering will only be done when needed.
- Smart carpark
Sensors are needed for monitoring parking demand for residents and visitors. It will be programmed to free up parking spaces for visitors when residents with season parking tickets are out. It also works to reduce the number of spaces for visitors in the evenings, especially when residents are home.
- Basement carpark planning
With computer simulations, basement carparks can be better designed for utilising an area’s wind flow, to allow for better ventilation. These spaces can also be designed to exploit natural lighting, so that 24-hour lighting is not needed.
These flats of this upcoming residence can expect to have smart uses within the home too:
- Smart door lock
The door can remotely be opened for others, using a smartphone app. In the event that house owners had forgotten their keys, they can still unlock the front door using their fingerprint.
- Smart energy meters
Residents are able to monitor their energy consumption using an app and manage their energy usage accordingly.
- Smart controller
Surveillance footage can be checked via an app. In addition, appliances in the house can be controlled using the app as well.
- Smart lamps
Lights can be controlled via speaking through the phone app.
- Panic button
This device can be placed next to the bedside, in the event of an emergency, this button can be triggered, and an alert will be received in a smartphone app, notifying other house members.
- Smart aircon
Air-conditioners can be remotely switched on via a smartphone app.
- Motion sensors
Motion sensors can be installed throughout the house. Alerts will be sent to smartphones in the event of unusual activity.
On these technology features, HDB said that it wants homeowners to benefit from using technology, without having to invest in their own smart power plugs and smart gateways. These could cost a few hundred in total.
Trials of these flats were conducted since 2016, in 3,200 flats in Yuhua. The trials include remote supervision on the safety of the elderly and for monitoring energy use via smartphone apps.
It was learned from the trials that homes have to be equipped with smart infrastructure in order for residents to adopt smart technologies. Otherwise, there will be a need by residents to purchase additional hardware to use the infrastructure.
Motion sensors will also be installed along the common corridors of Punggol Northshore Residences through which HDB will collect information on the human-traffic data for the strategic planning and building of community networking spaces and amenities. This is in an effort to create an “urban kampung”.
HDB is also working together with telco StarHub and tech firms for developing an open data-sharing platform.
Using this platform, app developers can extract data and based on it, create apps for purposes such as booking of amenities.
Punggol Northshore Residences will be the first of such smart-enabled estates in Singapore, with another upcoming one in Tengah.