12/28/2010, 00.00
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Singapore gets 712 new eco-friendly flats

by Jeremy Lim
The city-state’s Housing and Development Board (HDP) hits the one million mark since its creation in 1960. Called Treelodge@Punggol, the latest project is eco-friendly with solar power, rainwater collectors and a playground fashioned from recycled materials.
Singapore (AsiaNews) – A new, government-funded housing project with solar power, lush greenery and rainwater collectors was inaugurated on 19 December in Punggol, a suburb of the city-state of Singapore. Called Treelodge@Punggol, it is the most eco-friendly project to date, with 712 housing units distributed between seven, 16-floor blocks. With it, Singapore’s Housing and Development Board (HDP) hits the one million housing units.

“In just 50 years, HDB has built one million flats,” said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean at the launch of Treelodge@Punggol. “This is no mean feat, and few other countries can lay claim to such an outstanding achievement in so short a time.”

For its achievements, the HDB received the UN Public Service Award 2008 and UN Human Settlements Programme Scroll of Honour Award 2010.

A UN press release said that Singapore’s HDB earned the latter award “for providing one of Asia’s and the world’s greenest, cleanest and most socially conscious housing programmes.”

The release noted, “HDB and Singapore are global pioneers when it comes to thinking of the needs of various sectors of society – young couples, the elderly, or disabled.”

Such thoughtfulness of design is evident in Treelodge@Punggol, which boasts a plant-filled eco-deck above the car park. The eco-deck includes a jogging track, exercise areas for the elderly and a playground fashioned from recycled materials.

Although the eco-friendly flats are more expensive than regular ones, their solar panels will cut energy consumption by an estimated 80 per cent. Rainwater collectors can store 7,000 litres of water, which will be chemically treated and used for cleaning.

The Housing and Development Board celebrated its 50th anniversary this year. Set up in 1960, its original purpose was to build housing quickly and cheaply for a rapidly expanding population.

Over the years, the Board has diversified its offerings, from one-room ‘studio apartments’ to five-room flats for large families. Through a quota system, the government ensures that residents share their block with neighbours of different races and income groups.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the population lives in public housing.

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