SUTD sets up new green library; promotes the concept of sustainability

07 Dec 2021

Lianhe Zaobao, 7 Dec 2021, 新科大设立绿色图书馆 推广永续发展观念 (translation)
The concept of sustainability must be cultivated from an early age. The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) announced a series of sustainability plans, including a collaboration with North West Community Development Council (CDC) to set up a green library made of recyclable cardboard on the ground floor of residential Housing Development Board (HDB) buildings in Bukit Panjang.

Professor Tai Lee Siang, Director of DesignZ, SUTD’s newly established Design Centre focused on sustainability, shared at a virtual press conference yesterday that this is to encourage residents to donate old books, provide more reading opportunities to disadvantaged families, and promote the recycling of books. The plan is expected to start before the third quarter of next year.

Prof Tai said: “What does this have to do with sustainability? In fact, this is about shaping behaviours. When learning to share and recycle things that we don’t need or hoard, we learn to change our behaviours towards many other things.”

The green Library will also use environmentally-friendly materials designed by SUTD faculty and students that can be quickly set up and torn down. SUTD students from different majors such as architecture, engineering, and information systems have also used design thinking to help come up with activities to promote energy and water conservation of households in the district, and reduce food waste.

SUTD president Professor Chong Tow Chong said: “Sustainable solutions are not only about pouring resources to build infrastructure... Changing behavior is a long process, so we should start with the young.”

The new sustainability plan from SUTD takes a “human-centric” approach as the primary consideration, using technology and design thinking to “build a happier and sustainable world” through design.

The school will collaborate with public and private organisations, including the redesign and reconstruction of the My Tree House children’s library on the ground floor of the Central Public Library on Victoria Street, with the support of City Development Limited (CDL). My Tree House was completed in 2013 and refurbished in 2017. It is the world's first green library for children.

Prof Tai Lee Siang, who is also the head of SUTD’s Architecture and Sustainable Design programme, revealed that the team plans to move the green tree house closer to the atrium, to “let natural sunlight and greenery pour into the center of the green tree house” and this could lead to savings in electricity. The project is expected to be completed in 2023.

Another collaborative project with CDL is the expansion of CDL’s Green Art Gallery at the Singapore Botanic Garden with a new sustainable construction methodology, including a new green library.

In addition, SUTD and SingHealth have also a long-term collaboration plan to transform the Changi General Hospital and the new general community hospital that is expected to be completed in Bedok North in 2030 into smart, green and low-carbon campuses. A future healthy living laboratory will be established in the Bedok North campus to test sustainable solutions in building technology, hospital designs and planning.

SUTD’s 150,000-sqm campus in Changi has previously been certified with the Platinum Award for the Green Building Mark.

With the goal of turning the campus into an “Open Arena for Sustainability Innovation and Solutions”, the school will test grey-water recycling and waste-to-energy technologies, and by 2030, reduce campus carbon emissions and waste, and increase energy and water use efficiency.