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Tapping on technology to save water

SINGAPORE — At Asia Square Tower 1, which opened in November 2011, using water efficiently is not left to chance.

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SINGAPORE — At Asia Square Tower 1, which opened in November 2011, using water efficiently is not left to chance.

All 83 toilets in the building are fitted with water meters — the first building in Singapore with this feature — including major water usage areas. A leak detection system provides early warning of possible water leakage. Data collected by these systems are sent to the building’s Integrated Building Management System which is monitored 24 hours daily. Problems raised by the system are investigated by technicians immediately.

The building is among the eight recipients of the Gold certification under PUB’s Water Efficient Building (WEB) certification, in recognition of their “exemplary performance” in water efficiency. Along with 20 Silver recipients, they received their certificates from Ms Grace Fu, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and Foreign Affairs today (Sept 25).

Asia Square Tower 1 also recycles approximately 5,000 litres of condensate water produced from the air-conditioning system, which is used for irrigation, car park washing and the flushing of toilets. The various measures means that 90 million litres of water — which can fill about 20 Olympic-size pools — can be saved annually.

Sustainability Manager of Asia Square Tower 1 Philip Chan said: “I think (what is) more important is not the tangible savings, but the intangible savings… so that Singapore will be self-sufficient in water (consumption).”

Introduced in 2004, the WEB certification was launched with just Basic Certification to encourage businesses, industries, schools and buildings from the non-domestic sector to incorporate water efficient measures in the premises and day-today operations.

Gold and Silver tiers were added last year to recognise the efforts of water users who implement water efficiency management systems and are the top 10 and 25 per cent performers in water efficiency in their respective industries.

Another Gold certification recipient, Singapore Epson Industrial (Plating Division), reported a 55 per cent water recycling rate, and S$600,000 to S$700,000, which amounts to about 8 per cent, savings on factory expenses annually. In 2011, the firm developed an innovative Membrane Chemical Recycling System that “substantially” improved water recycling rate, up from 30 per cent in 2010. The company deals in electroplating production, which requires huge amount of water.

Singapore Epson Senior General Manager Fang Shunong said: “We plan to expand our waste water treatment facility and target a 70 to 80 per cent water recycling rate over the next two to three years.”

Four new sectors were included in this year’s certification – pharmaceuticals, tertiary institutions, data centres and hospitals, an indication that more non-domestic water users are implementing water efficiency measures.

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