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High-tech planning tools for new-generation HDB homes

SINGAPORE — In keeping with its goal to develop more eco-friendly public housing estates in terms of better energy conservation, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) said it would progressively tap into using “smart” planning tools to improve the planning and design of homes under the Smart HDB Town Framework.

SINGAPORE — In keeping with its goal to develop more eco-friendly public housing estates in terms of better energy conservation, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) said it would progressively tap into using “smart” planning tools to improve the planning and design of homes under the Smart HDB Town Framework.

Two of such modelling tools that help visualise heat, shade and wind flow have been used in districts such as the waterfront Punggol Northshore and Yuhua in Jurong, the Government housing agency said in a news release today (Dec 27). 

And going ahead, it will explore applying them to existing and upcoming towns and estates.

While working on the Treelodge @ Punggol precinct, for example, town planners used the Urban Environmental Modelling tool, which simulates environmental conditions such as wind flow and the amount of energy generated by the sun per unit area. With that, the blocks in the precinct were oriented to maximise wind flow, allowing for natural ventilation. 

The tool also helps planners to identify areas getting the most heat from the sun, and the locations of shaded areas, so that greenery may be planted to reduce heat build-up, or facilities may be built for recreational activities under shade.

Another tool, called Complex Systems Modelling, simulates how the green solutions work and their impact on the environment, to more accurately take into account the trade-offs of these plans. 

This was used in Yuhua, to calculate the energy savings of “smart lighting” — which adjusts the lighting intensity along corridors based on human traffic throughout the day — against the higher cost of installing such lighting at these locations, which are normally lit by LED lights. 

The HDB said the tool is “particularly useful for our town planners because they cannot afford experimentation with actual developments in land-scarce Singapore”. 

In future, the tool may also help to assess the feasibility of rolling out more eco-friendly plans in existing estates, as part of the HDB Greenprint programme, the board said. CHANNEL NEWSASIA

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