Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Singapore: Improving energy efficiency will be govt's strategic priority

Government buildings are up for energy audits and there will be mandatory energy labelling for air-conditioners and refrigerators. These are among measures that are being put in place to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Singapore. The National Environment Agency (NEA) has been appointed as the lead agency on energy conservation and efficiency.

Carbon dioxide makes up a large portion of Singapore's greenhouse gases so the Environment and Water Resources Ministry is targeting sectors that consume huge amounts of energy. Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Environment and Water Resources Minister, said: "Improving energy efficiency is a strategic priority within the National Climate Change Strategy. Singapore is reliant on fossil fuels for much of its energy needs at present, but this does not mean we cannot do anything about greenhouse gas emissions. "Using more energy efficient equipment and appliances or designing more efficient buildings, can save significant amounts of money in the long run, without sacrificing comfort. As noted in a recent Newsweek magazine article, energy efficiency is 'one of the hottest topics in business - and a way to add billions of dollars to the bottom line'." The Ministry is implementing energy audits of large buildings to improve their energy efficiency. For a start, all government buildings, including schools, will be subjected to energy audits by March 2010. All new schools and large government buildings will also have to meet the Green Mark certified standard. Under the Energy Efficiency Improvement Assistance Scheme (EASe), introduced two years ago, the NEA co-funds half of the costs of carrying out an energy audit.

To help consumers go green, the NEA will introduce mandatory labelling for air-conditioners and refrigerators from July this year. It will, however, give the industry 6 months' grace period to comply with this scheme. Currently, labelling of the appliances is on a voluntary basis. NEA is also considering extending it to vehicles. This is to help consumers identify a more fuel-efficient car. The Ministry will also extend the Green Vehicle Rebate for another two years. Since the enhancement of the Green Vehicle Rebate in January last year, the number of green vehicles has gone up substantially from about 200 to 700.

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