Start Being Green When Young

Start Being Green When Young by Minister Khaw Boon WanMarsiling Sec Sch students sharing their greening effortsWe promote sustainable development. And the cultural change needs to start from young.

To get this going, BCA launched its inaugural BCA Greenovate Challenge. It is to get secondary students thinking of green building solutions and applying them in their schools.

The competition generated much interest from 14 schools, with the students looking for interesting and innovative measures to save energy and water for their schools.

Marsiling Secondary School came in first. I visited them to check it out.

The students worked with the Energy Service Company which was assigned to them to audit their energy usage. This practical tie-up with the industry gave both students and teachers an opportunity to learn from real world experts about energy efficient strategies and consumption.

Armed with the school’s energy audit, students came up with good ideas. One practical action was to adopt solar leasing whereby photovoltaic panels were rented to harness the sun’s energy. The energy harvested was then used to offset part of the electricity needs of the school. They worked with a commercial partner to install, pro bono, a large quantity of solar panels and procure the solar energy harvested at a reduced rate. This arrangement made money sense.

The students also experimented with pre-cooling ambient air for greater efficiency of the air-condition compressor. The school experienced over 30% energy savings! For schools with extensive air con usage, this can translate into $60,000 savings yearly!

Our younger generation are taking an active interest and concrete steps to preserve the environmentAnother winning factor for Marsiling Secondary was their innovative way of harvesting rainwater. The students joined ten one-cubic metre recycled plastic containers with PVC pipes to create a water storage area. The school can harvest 1,371 m3 of rainwater for gardening and washing of toilets per year. The school has decided to increase the capacity of the system.

As one student whom I chatted with said, “Mother Earth is ours, therefore we have a responsibility to look after her.”

Next month, BCA will be hosting the International Green Building Conference, as part of the Singapore Green Building Week. We expect to receive more than 10,000 local and international participants from over 30 countries.

Marsiling Secondary has been inspired by the inaugural BCA Greenovate Challenge. They will now be applying for BCA’s Green Mark certification for Existing Schools.

Meanwhile, BCA plans to adapt the Greenovate Challenge into an annual programme.

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