There are three factors required to achieve a true Low Carbon District (LCD): The creation of technology standards and guidance, the development of scalable technologies that can be deployed widely, and establishing a clear definition a “low carbon district”, said participants at a roundtable during SIEW 2017.
The LCD initiative is intended to testbed and deploy low-carbon technologies at a district scale – to minimise energy consumption through the use of technology, the design of buildings and the district, and maximising onsite renewable energy production. Mr Tan Szue Hann, Head of Sustainability, Surbana Jurong, shared that an overhanging rooftop, for example, can help to cool a building and provide a larger area to install solar panels. Mr Peter Godfrey, Managing Director of The Energy Institute, Singapore highlights that it includes making sure that the whole supply chain uses resources in the most efficient and environmentally-friendly manner.
However, companies face many uncertainties in product and services development. Mr Rohan Rawte, Director, Head of Asia, IES, explained that companies do not have a clear area to focus on, as further research is required to identify the metrics and key performance indices that will give the highest impact on creating an LCD. They also have to discover ways to better use the available data effectively, and ascertain new data on design, operation and lifecycle of the LCD that will help in their work.
Energy businesses need to rethink the way they work and relook how they value the projects to realise a low carbon future, said Mr Godfrey. Different companies, traditionally not involved in energy, have entered the sector to provide services such as energy storage and electric vehicles.
Customers’ expectations have also changed, as they now expect products and services that represent their values – such as environmental sustainability. To keep up with these changes, energy businesses have to focus on three ecosystems: 1) Innovation – where they work with other companies to create innovative products and services, 2) Knowledge – where they invest in R&D to generate new knowledge and technologies, and 3) Business – to focus on creating value for customers.
Mr Godfrey added that the government can play a vital role in realising the LCD concept by providing the right incentives for companies and consumers to be more environmentally-friendly, and setting the benchmark for industry to fulfil.