SINGAPORE: One-, two- and three-room HDB households will benefit from a S$24.8 million Climate-friendly Household Package to be rolled out by this year, announced Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli on Wednesday (Mar 4).
This will include a one-off S$150 voucher offered by the National Environment Agency (NEA), to help households living in one- to three-room HDB flats invest in energy and water efficient refrigerator models, he said, making the announcement during the Committee of Supply debate.
These vouchers can be used to purchase energy-efficient refrigerators that are rated three-ticks and above, said Mr Masagos. According to NEA, more than 300,000 one-, two- and three-room HDB households will qualify for this voucher.
“Not only will this help fight climate change, households can also benefit from electricity cost savings of up to S$60 annually,” he added.
Mr Masagos noted that refrigerators are among the top three highest energy-consuming household appliances.
Refrigerators account for about 17 per cent of the total electricity consumption in Singapore households, based on the NEA's 2017 household energy consumption survey. Less than 7 per cent of households today are using energy-efficient refrigerators, said the agency in a separate media release.
“Many households continue to purchase one to two ticks refrigerators, partly due to the higher upfront costs of energy-efficient models, without considering the savings from electricity consumption over the long term,” said Mr Masagos.
“Similarly, showering takes up a significant proportion of water consumption, yet many households are choosing the less water-efficient fittings.”
Mr Masagos also announced that all one- to three-room HDB households will receive a S$50 voucher to offset the cost of changing their shower fittings to more water-efficient three-tick models.
“If all eligible households make the switch, we can collectively reduce emissions equivalent to taking around 12,600 cars off the road, and save up to 400 million gallons of water annually,” he added.
MORE LED LIGHT VOUCHERS
Mr Masagos also announced that the Switch and Save - Use LED programme, first launched in 2018 for one- and two-room HDB households, will be expanded to all three-room HDB households.
As part of the Climate-friendly Household Package, each three-room HDB household will receive a S$25 voucher to buy LED lights, which are 80 per cent more energy-efficient than incandescent lights and 40 per cent more energy-efficient than compact fluorescent lights.
About 233,000 HDB households will benefit from the programme expansion, of which 64 per cent are not using LED lights, said NEA. If all these households switched to LED lights, they could save the equivalent energy required to power about 4,000 three-room HDB flats, or 12.4 million kWh.
Since the programme was rolled out, about 8,700 one- and two-room HDB households across Singapore had used the vouchers and switched to LED light bulbs, said NEA.
REDUCE USE OF CLIMATE-UNFRIENDLY REFRIGERANTS
In addition to the S$24.8 million package, Mr Masagos also announced a slew of measures targeted at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from refrigeration and air-conditioning.
Introduced to reduce Singapore’s greenhouse gas emissions arising from the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in the refrigeration and air-conditioning sector, the measures will be implemented by NEA in phases from 2020 to 2023.
“HFCs can be found as refrigerants in refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, and could leak during installation, maintenance and disposal. Some forms of HFCs trap a much larger amount of heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide,” said Mr Masagos.
NEA will also introduce a voluntary climate-friendly label to help households identify refrigerators and air-conditioners that use alternative refrigerants with lower global warming potential (GWP), said Mr Masagos.
GWP refers to a measure of the warming effect of a gas relative to the warming effect of an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide, usually over a 100-year period.
According to NEA, about 10 per cent of registered air-conditioning unit models in Singapore use refrigerants that are climate-friendly, while most of the registered refrigerator models in Singapore already use a climate-friendly refrigerant.
NEA will launch a new grant to support companies who want to make an early switch to more climate-friendly commercial water-cooled chillers, announced Mr Masagos.
“From 2022, we intend to restrict the supply of commercial water-cooled chillers and household refrigerators and air conditioners that use HFCs with high global warming potential,” he added.
Later this year, NEA will launch a training course to train and certify technicians to handle refrigerants properly, said Mr Masagos.
NEA is working with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and Temasek Polytechnic (TP) to introduce training courses for household air-conditioner technicians and chiller technicians respectively, it said in a media release.
The training and certification scheme aims to establish the proper handling of refrigerants during installation, maintenance and decommissioning of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, said NEA.
The training courses conducted by ITE for household air-conditioner technicians will commence in the second half of 2020, while the courses for chiller technicians conducted by TP will commence in 2021.
Companies carrying out these services are also encouraged to send their technicians for training and certification. From 2022, these companies will be required to employ at least one certified chiller technician.
Along with the training and certification of technicians, NEA will be mandating the recovery and reclamation or destruction of spent refrigerants from 2021, Mr Masagos announced.
E-waste recyclers and certified chiller technicians will be required to recover refrigerants from the decommissioned equipment, and facilities that handle the reclamation and destruction of spent refrigerants will have to obtain a Toxic Industrial Waste Collector license from NEA, said the agency.