Singapore Exceeds Greening Targets Two Decades ahead of Schedule

Singapore exceeds greening targets

Singapore exceeds greening targets two decades ahead of schedule:

Urban greenery in the form of vertical gardens has been widely embraced in Singapore, with the city hitting its greening targets two decades ahead of schedule. Not ones to rest on their laurels, the Government has decided to raise the bar significantly.

As of last year, plants covering building exteriors totalled more than 61ha, an area the size of 195 school fields. This far exceeded the target of 50ha the government had hoped to hit by 2030. The new target is now 200ha of building greenery by the same deadline.

A spokesman from the National Parks Board (NParks) attributed the rapid increase of skyrise greenery to several programmes, including: the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s enhanced Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High-Rises (Lush) programme, and NParks’ Skyrise Greenery Incentive Scheme, which offers incentives and subsidies to encourage the installation of skyrise greenery.

The greenery targets were outlined in the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint – first in 2009 and again in the latest document released this year. Green roofs, vertical greenery, and gardens in the sky can reduce urban heat gain, which could translate into energy savings, said Mr Tan Seng Chai, group chief corporate officer of CapitaLand and chairman of the CapitaLand Sustainability Steering Committee.

“In land-scarce Singapore… more skyrise greenery can maximise the use of space to bring about many benefits,” said Mr Allen Ang, head of innovation and green building at property developer City Developments.

This new target of 200ha of building greenery by 2030 should lead to many innovative and exciting projects, so stay tuned.

photo credit . wiki

Raising The Roof on Urban Landscape Design: Greenroof Future

Citygreen - Raising The Roof on Urban Landscape Design: Greenroof Future

Raising The Roof on Urban Landscape Design: Greenroof Future

As humans, we focus on what we see every day. It stands to reason that much of the discussion of urban canopy and landscape projects and developments take place at ground and subterranean level.

With each passing year for approximately the past 15 years, however, more and more design visionaries and their taskforces are raising their eyes upward…to our rooftops. With the massive amount of square miles taken up by buildings, re-purposing their roofs help us reclaim some of the lost land and create a whole other kind of landscape.

Diana Balmori of Balmori Associates, NY couldn’t agree more. “We need to create a different balance between the inert surfaces and the living surfaces,” Balmori said. With the exception of pockets of urban parks, cities have the sky, the earth, and stories of glass, metal, cement and rock between them. Watching how city dwellers flock to those park spaces, Balmori realizes that there’s a wealth of untapped, unutilized potential not only for the human city dwellers, but the flora and fauna grasping for a foothold in a gray world.

A robust example of the success a rooftop landscape is Balmori’s own 667 acre Public Administration complex in Sejong, Korea. Balmori Associates says, “We proposed a new approach to city-making, one that starts with landscape architecture. The master plan consists of a continuous linear park on a continuous roof joining all the ministries.” In conjunction to providing a reprieve for persons, the task of building a green roof with wildlife in mind requires a whole other set of considerations. “Creating biodiversity on a green roof or green wall is significantly different than restoring it on ground level. On a rooftop there is no preexisting ecology to enhance; everything is from scratch,” states the Green Roof Service webpage of Jörg Breuning, owner.

Given this, the plants, animals and insects are essentially living under an altered set of circumstances, which could affect their continuing habitation and ability to thrive under the new conditions, even with a perfect replication of a landscape indigenous to any particular area.

From an infrastructural standpoint, the installation of green roofs presents vast benefits, including prolonging the life spans of rooftop materials, decreased use and energy consumption of HVAC units, stormwater management, and significant moderation of the Urban Heat Island effect.

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Community webpage states, “Through the daily dew and evaporation cycle, plants on vertical and horizontal surfaces are able to cool cities during hot summer months and reduce the UHI effect. The light absorbed by vegetation would otherwise be converted into heat energy.” With such evidence of benefits being discovered and explored from several standpoints: the human element, ecology, and infrastructure, a future with more green roof designs should be just on the horizon for landscape design experts, scientists, engineers, and others.

photo credit: Green Roof GardnerCC

The Economic Benefits of Green Buildings

Citygreen - The Economic Benefits of Green Buildings

The Economic Benefits of Green Buildings:

The World Green Building Council has released a report reviewing the costs and benefits for developers, investors and occupants for turning buildings green.

The report called “The Business Case for Green Building” provides insight into different case studies of green buildings around the world. It said that there is an increasingly compelling business case for green buildings.

“The evidence presented highlights that sustainable buildings make clear business sense – it’s not just about saving the planet. These benefits range from risk mitigation across a building portfolio and a citywide economic benefits, to the improved health and well-being of individual building occupants,” the report said.

Also, green buildings nowadays can now be delivered at a price that’s comparable to those for conventional buildings. “These costs can be recouped through operational costs savings and, with the right design features, through a more productive workplace. Design decisions made at the start of a project will impact the long-term value of the building and its return on investment.”

Aside from that, studies around the world show that green buildings attract tenants more easily and command higher sale and rent prices.

“In markets where green has become more mainstream, there are indications of emerging ‘brown discounts’ where buildings that are not green may rent or sell for less.”

However, the report said that in order to effectively transform the global marketplace, there is a need for more data and for even more case studies from all over the world.

Businesses can partner with each other or with academia and government to better understand the financial implications of a green building.

“What is clear is that there is a mounting evidence that in many markets across the world, part of being a better quality building means being a green building. In premium markets in particular, green is increasingly expected by tenants and owners – it is just part of what good ‘quality’ means,” the report said.

Rick Fedrizzi, Chairman of World GBC, said that the report “confirms yet again that when environmental strategies – along with program management – are integrated into the development process from the beginning of a building’s life cycle, green buildings save energy, save water, save precious resources and most importantly save money”.

The report highlights the best business case evidence available today for green buildings. It also shows how governments can leverage green building policies to support local economies and meet their long-term goals.

“With this foundation, we call on the private and public sectors to use their collective knowledge and strength to move the green building agenda forward, knowing that it benefits people and the environment – and their bottom lines.”

Citygreen - Eco Showcase Newcastle Launch Event

Green tech needed as CO2 emissions increase

Green tech needed as CO2 emissions increase

 

Carbon dioxide levels in the northern hemisphere hit 400 parts per million for the first time in human history, according to an article by the Sydney Morning Herald.

(more…)

The Future of Cityscapes Depend on Green Infrastructures

Green Infrastructures

An investigation by a research group called The Resilience of Cityscapes, published in the international Biotope City journal, showed that green roofs, living walls, and greened permeable pavements has a multitude of positive effects.

“The impact of green infrastructure on an urban fabric has been visualised by computer modeling tools. The computer model results showed that all tested green technologies provide benefits to the urban microclimate and water storage capacity,” the report said.

It showed that green infrastructure is the solution to the resilience of cityscapes worldwide. The report said there is a huge trend in urbanisation with more than 50 percent of the world’s population now living in cities.

“Two effects of this influx can be observed: the occupied city area grows and
density increases. At the same time citizens request more infrastructure from cities such as public transport, recreation and sewage systems. City planners are challenged to combine the pressure of growth and integration of satisfactory infrastructure.”

The research monitored 14 green roofs, five living walls and nine surface consolidation methods in the city of Vienna to see their microclimatic effects.

Compared to surfaces like plaster or brick, plants convert sun energy into oxygen and air humidity.

“It is assumed that plants ameliorate the urban microclimate (by adding humidity and reducing radiation and wind speed) while regular surfaces
reduce the thermal comfort of cities. Aside from the positive microclimatic effects plants are also able to store water.”

Plants also improve the predicted mean vote (PMV), which describes the human thermal wellbeing. The research tested an urban area in Vienna under different types of “scenarios”. These include the climate scenario, greening scenario, the minimum greening scenario, and the maximum greening scenario.

The tests found that green infrastructure can act as a buffer for climatic extremes.

“By means of computer simulation, the measurements at test sites have been transferred to representative urban typologies of the City of Vienna. To find out, which microclimatic effect could be achieved by green infrastructure, two greening scenarios have been applied on urban typologies and subjected to today’s and future climatic framework conditions. The simulations make clear, that the urban microclimate can be ameliorated by integration of green infrastructure.”

It emphasised that green infrastructure is the “one appealing solution to improve the resilience of cities against climate change”.

“Apart from the microclimatic effects and the positive influence on thermal comfort, green infrastructure provides a broad range of added values: water retention, health promotion and psychological effects (stress reduction), habitat and habitat connection for fauna and flora, biodiversity and urban farming.”

The report also realised the hindrances to the implementation of green infrastructures such as different types of value on facades where some are often protected. There are also things like different regulations in different cities or the fact that most buildings are privately owned and therefore needs incentives for their properties to be developed into green infrastructure.

These are things that need to be overcome as the report also said that just a single green infrastructure would not be effective in the bigger scheme of things. In order to have the full effect of the benefits of green infrastructures in cityscapes, “a combination of different types of green infrastructure and a network of green infrastructure throughout the city is necessary”. CTA_Full Treepit Library

Benefits of Green Roofs, Walls and Facades

Benefits of Green Roofs, Walls and Facades

Image from Fytogreen. This is Fytogreen’s vertical garden project in 1 Blight St, Sydney.

Winter is coming to Australia and with the cold weather comes heating costs. However, heating costs may soon be a thing of the past with an alternative greener concept.

Victoria’s Growing Green Guide, a project by The University of Melbourne, The Inner Melbourne Action Plan and several industry experts, is pushing for green roofs as a more cost-effective alternative to answer heating needs.

The guide provides technical advice on how to design, build and manage green roofs, walls and facades so they can provide multiple benefits over a long period of time.

According to the guide, green roofs, walls and facades provide several benefits to the community and its residents. Here are some excerpts from the report:

  • Building owners and developers are increasingly installing green roofs, walls or facades to add a point of difference, increase commercial returns, provide visual appeal and turn a building into a local landmark. It increases property value as well as other benefits for building owners. Green roofs can lengthen the lifespan of a traditional roof surface. They protect a roof’s waterproof membrane from solar radiation and add insulating materials to reduce severe temperature fluctuations on the roof surface. The report says early design discussions will help ensure that the roof, wall, or façade can be planned and incorporated in other building aspects such as drainage, irrigation, lighting and weight loading.
  • Green roofs absorb and retain rainwater and can be used to manage stormwater run-off in urban environments. They can also filter particulates and pollutants. Stormwater run-off can be reduced or slowed because it is stored in the substrate. Additional water storage capacity in green roof systems can be provided through incorporation of a water retentive layer or drainage layer at the base of the green roof.
  • It reduces building heating and cooling requirements. Green walls and facades can reduce heat gain in summer by directly shading the building surface. Green roofs reduce heat transfer through the roof and ambient temperatures on the roof surface, improving the performance of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
  • Green walls, roofs and facades reduce the urban heat island effect. Temperatures can be reduced by covering a roof or wall with a layer of vegetation that shades building materials, which would otherwise absorb heat. Evapotranspiration provides cooling effects, as water is evaporated from the soil and plants transpire by taking water in through roots and releasing it through leaves. The report suggests a city-wide strategy to implement green roofs, walls and facades to help mitigate some of the negative consequences of the UHI effect.
  • Green roofs can contribute to and enhance biodiversity by providing new urban habitats and specific habitats for rare or important species of plants or animals. It can also provide a link or corridor across urban ecological deserts and assist in migration of invertebrates and birds.
  • These green infrastructures can increase amenity and provide opportunities for food production, recreation, relaxation or commercial ventures. Green roofs, walls and facades can be used for multi-level greenery designs that connect with ground level green spaces.
  • Finally, they also contribute to the removal of gaseous pollutants from the air. Plants with a high foliage density or with textured leaf surfaces that trap small particles also assist in removing particulate pollution, through dry deposition on the foliage or through rain wash.

The good news is that most building surfaces have the potential for greening. It’s just a matter of knowing how to do it properly to get the most benefits out of it. A copy of the guide is free to view for those interested.

Cities Alive: A Green Path to The Future

Cities Alive: A Green Path to The Future

 

Cities Alive: A Green Path to The Future:

Years from now, the urban landscape will be a linked “city ecosystem that encompasses parks and open spaces, urban trees, streets, squares, woodland and waterways”.

This is according to a new report called “Cities Alive: Rethinking green infrastructure” by Arup. It says cities should rethink green infrastructure to help create “healthier, safer and more prosperous cities”.

“To realise this vision, green infrastructure has to now take a more influential role in the planning and design of cities and urban environments,” the report said.

Cities Alive is supported by the Landscape Institute and Royal Botanical Gardens of Kew. It says that cities in the future need to look very different from what they are now.

“They will need to address the challenge of rapidly rising urban populations, adapt to the detrimental effects of climate change and provide much more integrated solutions for everything, from energy provision to transport.”

The study has five key points on the future of urban designs. Here are some of the excerpts from the report:

1. Urban green needs to be more than just an aesthetic consideration. It is a fundamental part of an urban ecosystem, which improves social interaction and physical and mental health. Vertical farming may become more popular as urban population grows and available space shrinks. The use of roofs, vertical spaces and basements to grow arable crops could result in shorter, more environmentally friendly distribution routes, healthier diets and fresher foods.

2. Make landscapes work harder, for several end-users and to improve climate change resilience, through a multi-functional design approach. With land at a premium, creating city space for people will call for courageous design. As cities expanded in previous times urban railways went underground – why not underground roads now? Burying key highways will significantly lower pollution, noise, congestion and barriers to movement. This will create huge gains by freeing up city space for people and enhancing the city environment.

3. Designs need to be creative to deliver a green city ecosystem – from both citywide strategic projects to more imaginative uses of space within the layers of the city. Green roofs, walls and facades are likely to become more prominent in cities as we need to exploit and retrofit the layers of the city to find space for recreation and nature. Extensive green networks through the city are the aim of a green infrastructure design approach. Networks can be formed over time to create an encompassing city ecosystem that can support the sustainable movement of people, rebuild biodiversity and provide substantial climate change adaptation.

4. By capitalising on advances in technology to measure the value that nature delivers through ecosystems services, we can optimise the planning and design of urban space to meet future demands. Permeable paving and soft landscape areas will help urgently convert grey to green in future city environments – a simple but vital technology that improves water absorption and slow down rain water run-off. Adaptable public spaces can be designed for multiple functions such as meeting places, markets, entertainment and education places.

5. There needs to be an integrated approach to delivery that links and connects policy to transgress silo-driven cultures and achieve long term benefits. This requires landscape architects to work closely with government, authorities, developers and associated city design consultants. We have to recognise the potential of green infrastructure, but also understand how it can be integrated with other urban systems like energy, transport and resource management. Green infrastructure has to take a more central role in the planning and design of cities.

CTA_Full Treepit Library

Australian Plants for Green Roofs and Walls

Australian Plants for Green Roofs and Walls

Image credit

(more…)

Load More...