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Tampines to be first town centre in Singapore with district cooling system, network operational in 2025  

SINGAPORE: Tampines will become the first town centre in Singapore with district cooling, it was announced on Monday (Apr 18).

Seven existing buildings across Tampines town centre will be retrofitted to plug into a distributed district cooling network (DDC), said SP Group and Temasek in a joint news release. The DDC will be completed and operational in the first half of 2025.

These buildings are Century Square, CPF Tampines Building, Income At Tampines Junction, OCBC Tampines Centre 2, Our Tampines Hub, Tampines Mall and Tampines One.

This system will be installed and operated by SP Group, with support from Temasek, Tampines GRC and the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment.

The DDC makes use of the existing cooling systems of selected buildings to produce chilled water to serve the building and the others around it. The buildings are interconnected using pipes to distribute and circulate the chilled water.

A supply agreement was signed at Our Tampines Hub on Monday, and the signing ceremony was witnessed by the adviser to Tampines Grassroots Organisations Masagos Zulkifli, who is also Minister for Social and Family Development.

The cooling network will help Tampines town centre reduce its carbon emissions by 1,359 tonnes annually, said SP Group and Temasek. This is the equivalent of removing 1,236 cars off Singapore's roads. The network will also achieve energy savings of more than 2.8 million kilowatt-hour (kWh) annually, which can power more than 905 three-room HDB households for a year.

"The significance of this project should not be overlooked because it illustrates how sustainable solutions can be integrated to transform existing townships," said Mr Masagos.

"In international forums, pressure to show and prove commitment to adaption and mitigation for climate change is mounting. This project is therefore crucial to Singapore given that a significant proportion of our building stock today will continue to exist in 2050."

The DDC network will provide building owners combined life-cycle economic benefits of up to S$50.8 million over 30 years, said SP Group and Temasek.

'SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION' TO CLIMATE AMBITIONS

The DDC network is specifically engineered for brownfield developments - already developed sites - to provide the same cooling comfort while saving energy and lowering carbon emissions at the same time.

Rather than build a new centralised cooling plant, a DDC makes use of existing chiller plants in buildings. These chiller plants have been carefully evaluated, said SP Group and Temasek, with a few injection nodes selected based on their "existing cooling capacity and superior energy efficiency factor".

By connecting the injection nodes through a piping network, the rest of the buildings can obtain chilled water for their cooling needs, and no longer need their own chiller plants. This optimises the installed cooling capacity, ensures chiller systems operate at maximum efficiency and leads to more benefits such as reduced equipment costs.

For the Tampines town centre, Century Square, Our Tampines Hub and Tampines One will serve as injection nodes. 

SP has also signed a letter of intent with Ascendas Reit to design, build, own and operate the chiller park at the Telepark. This would mean that the building could also be a potential injection node for the network in the future.

"Novel sustainable solutions such as distributed district cooling can help scale practical and sustainable benefits not only for cities, but also for businesses as well as communities around the world," said Temasek chief sustainability officer Steve Howard.

"We will continue partnering like-minded organisations and businesses to catalyse breakthrough technologies that mitigate the impact of the climate crisis, and pave the way to a low-carbon future."

SP Group's chief executive officer Stanley Huang noted that the widespread implementation of low-carbon technologies like distributed district cooling can make a "significant contribution" to Singapore's climate ambitions.

"We are encouraged by the strong support from building owners for this sustainable cooling solution, which will contribute towards Tampines' Eco-Town ambitions and will also create a long-term sustainable impact for Singapore's built environment,” he said.

Cooling contributes to Singapore's annual carbon emissions, as air-conditioning can use up to 50 per cent of a building's energy consumption.

"With more than 80 per cent of Singapore's landscape being brownfield, a wider application of such a sustainable cooling solution will contribute towards the energy goals under the Green Plan and Singapore's climate targets of reaching net zero by or around mid-century," said SP Group and Temasek.

Source: CNA/mt(rw)

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