Thursday, April 30, 2009

URA, NParks Introduce Schemes To Promote More Sky Gardens In S'pore

Source : Channel NewsAsia, 29 April 2009

Singapore developers will enjoy new incentives to include skyrise greenery in their projects.

Highrise buildings at the financial district of Singapore

The government wants to see more sky terraces and rooftop gardens, as part of a multi-billion dollar sustainable development blueprint for Singapore for the next 20 years.

The initiative is known as Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High-rises (LUSH).

Fun Siew Leng, group director of Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), said: "A lot of people place premium on having greenery at their doorstep. And it doesn't mean that by going high-rise you don't have access to greenery.

"So, one of these ways is to encourage and require more greenery to be built in the development itself, either at the ground level or even at the upper levels."

Come December 1 this year, new projects and re-developments within the central business district, Kallang Riverside and Jurong Gateway areas will be required to have green landscape at least equivalent in size to the development site area.

These can include ground floor landscape areas, as well as roof gardens and sky terraces. As a guide, 40 per cent of these areas are to consist of permanent planting.

Developers will also be given additional gross floor area of up to 200 square metres of roof space or 50 per cent, whichever is lower, for greening their rooftops for use such as outdoor refreshment areas.

This will be allowed over and above the Master Plan maximum allowable gross floor area for the site.

And it is not just new buildings that will stand to benefit from the initiative. NParks is introducing a pilot scheme later this year to encourage existing building owners to green-up their roof tops.

NParks is spending S$8 million over the next three years in cash incentives to co-fund up to half the cost of installing green roofs.

A green roof is defined as a lightweight growing system, which requires a proper selection of plant material for easy maintenance. The cost of installing a square metre of green roof typically ranges from S$150 to S$180.

"There are also benefits in reduction of heat as well. The green roof reduces the heat load going into the building as well as the ambient temperature of the roof itself," said Simon Longman, director of National Parks Board.

So far, there are more than 100 developments in Singapore with approved sky terraces.

NParks will start giving out the cash incentives in September 2009.

NParks plans to transform some 9 hectares of existing rooftops into green roofs over the next three years.

The URA is targeting to add 50 hectares of skyrise greenery by 2030. - CNA /ls

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