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  Channel NewsAsia 16 Apr 07
Treetops@Punggol oversubscribed by four times

Today Online 30 Mar 07
Only Day 2, and eco-precinct has drawn 615 applications
Sheralyn Tay

Today Online 29 Mar 07
HDB goes eco-friendly
Its first build-to-order Eco-Precinct is as green as it gets
Sheralyn Tay

Channel NewsAsia 28 Mar 07
Singapore to use less concrete for building construction in future: Mah


Channel NewsAsia 28 Mar 07
First eco-friendly precinct at Punggol may be built by 2011

SINGAPORE: Everything about Treetops@Punggol, which is under Housing and Development Board's Build-to-Order system, spells eco-friendly.

The new eco-precinct has been designed to harness the elements of nature such as light, rainfall and wind to promote sustainable green living. There will be more greenery with an eco-deck above the car park, skyrise greening on its roofs and a community garden. These features are expected to lower the surrounding temperature by as much as 4 degrees Celsius.

For energy efficiency, solar panels will be installed on the roof to power the common corridors of the estates as well as the eco-deck. This will save 80 percent of energy used. Motion sensors will also be introduced at the podium car park to provide on-demand lighting.

For these extra features, the flats will cost slightly more than other apartments in the same area. The prices range from S$139,000 to S$254,000 for 3- and 4-room units, and S$370,000 to S$383,000 for five-roomers. There will be a total of 700 units offered.

Attention is also paid to water and waste management. A rainwater collection system will be implemented where the water collected will be used to wash the common corridors. There will be an integrated wash basin and toilet pedestal system in the flats to promote water conservation as well as a dedicated refuse chute for recycling.

Whether these features will be incorporated into future public housing projects will depend on public feedback.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said: "If there is good response, then yes, we will do more of this. But this is the culmination of the many things that HDB has been doing in the last few years. It's very timely, considering that first of all, the technology is becoming more cost-efficient."

However, the HDB said that it would proceed with the project only if there is a demand for it. There will be a selection process and the results will be known later this year. If all goes well, the precinct will be ready by 2011.

Treetops@Punggol will be located at the junction of Punggol Road, Punggol Drive and Punggol Place--a few minutes' walk from the Punggol MRT station and the Damai LRT station.

Interested flat buyers can view models of the precinct at an exhibition at the HDB Hub and they can make applications via the HDB website by 17 April.

Treetops@Punggol has been awarded the Green Mark under a scheme to promote eco-friendly building technologies and designs. The government has announced that it will adopt the Green Mark scheme for all new public housing projects from January. All developments at the Marina Bay will also be Green Building certified. - CNA/so

Today Online 29 Mar 07
HDB goes eco-friendly
Its first build-to-order Eco-Precinct is as green as it gets
Sheralyn Tay sheralyn@mediacorp.com.sg

NOW eco-friendly homes will no longer be the preserve of those who can afford fancy high-end private condominiums. The first build-to-order (BTO) eco-precinct, Treetops@Punggol (picture) launched by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) yesterday is as green as it gets.

But buyers can expect to pay a premium of about 15 per cent compared to similar BTO projects at least for the four room flats. The indicative price for a 93 to 94sqm unit at The Coralinus Phase 2, which was launched last February, was $182,000 to $220,000, while a 90 to 93sqm unit for Treetops@ Punggol may cost between $208,000 and $254,000.

Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at Knight Frank, thought the prices a bit on the high side, as most buyers are only willing to pay a 5 per cent premium.

But he noted the project's 14 five-room lofts were a "unique" attraction and should easily get sold. These units feature a double-volume living room and open terrace that can be converted into a sky garden.

At $370,000 to $383,000, the price is somewhere between that of resale five-room and an executive condominium, he said. "It's a bit pricey for a new flat, but it will find buyers there are only 14 of them, and it's within the affordability of most middle income households."

Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan, who announced the launch at yesterday's Eco Building Conference, said that the project represents a "significant jump in terms of what public housing can offer".

While he recognised that the units were a little more expensive, he said this was due to value- added elements, such as balconies and the proximity to upcoming amenities and public transport facilities, rather than green features.

In fact, the HDB will absorb the cost of the project's " experimental features" and service and conservancy fees are expected to be the same, he said.

The seven 16-storey blocks of some 700 units built with heat resistant walls and orientated to make the most of prevailing winds will sit atop a landscaped Eco Deck which will act as a communal space, as well as a green lung that can bring temperatures down by two to four degrees, said Mr Mah.

Rooftops planted with greenery will also have water harvesting systems and solar panels to provide water and energy to wash and illuminate common areas. Each home will be fitted with the water-saving devices.

If this scheme proves popular, more eco-projects will be considered in the future, said Mr Mah. Mr Mak, on the other hand, felt that location was still important to Singaporeans and some may consider Punggol a little remote. But the project was likely to have its fair share of takers, he said.

Treetops@Punggol BTO Exhibition launched will run until April 17. View the exhibition at the HDB Hub Atrium from 8am to 5pm (weekdays) and 8am to 1pm (Saturday).

Channel NewsAsia 28 Mar 07
Singapore to use less concrete for building construction in future: Mah

SINGAPORE: Singapore will reduce its dependency on concrete as building materials in future. It will instead shift to alternative sources and building technologies.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan gave the assurance that there are enough supplies of sand and granite in the government stockpile for the industry to produce the concrete it needs to proceed with its commitments.

Alternative supplies are also coming in from other sources. Mr Mah was speaking at an eco-buildings conference where he unveiled what is to be the first eco-friendly precinct in Punggol.

The new development, called TreeTops@Punggol, will have dry partition walls in its interior instead of concrete walls. Dry partition walls are made of ferro-cement material with two panels bolted together to form a wall with a hollow core.

That and other materials, such as recycled concrete and structural steel used in the construction of flats, can help cut down the dependency on sand and concrete.

Singapore's supply of sand and granite from Indonesia has been affected recently when Jakarta announced a ban on sand exports and later detained some barges, carrying granite materials to Singapore.

But Singapore maintains this has not slowed down its building projects.

The National Development Minister said: "We have already said we are proceeding, we are moving ahead. The sand shortage and the granite shortage is something we've anticipated. We always prepare for exigencies. That's why we have the stockpile.

"We have no short-term disruption but I think in the longer term, we have to change our construction methods."

Mr Mah said the government has worked out various cost-sharing formulas with contractors working on government projects. This includes co-sharing up to 75 percent of the increase in the cost of sand. - CNA/so

Today Online 30 Mar 07
Only Day 2, and eco-precinct has drawn 615 applications
Sheralyn Tay

DESPITE initial reservations over the premium prices and its remote location, the first eco-precinct here has garnered an enthusiastic response just two days into its launch.

As of yesterday, 615 applications had been received for the 712 units at Treetops @ Punggol the Housing and Development Board's (HDB) first eco-friendly build-to-order project. Balloting began in earnest on Wednesday, with 428 applications in by 7am yesterday, and nearly 200 more streaming in over the next eight hours.

Predictably, the hot draw looks to be the 14 five-room loft units that feature a double-volume living room and open terrace. Six of the seven interested buyers Today interviewed had their eyes on these, while one couple said they were looking for a four-room unit as the loft was too "pricey" at $370,000 to $383,000.

But young parents Mr Logapreyan R and his wife, Ms Anujit Kaur, thought this price tag reasonable compared to other flats in the open market. "The open living concept with natural life is very different," said Mr Logapreyan. "It's about going green and the amenities in the area are very good close to future schools, the sports complex, marina and water sports, so there's a lot of growth potential."

The price tags did make Mr Norman Ng hesitate over his choice of units. "The difference is very great between the four and five room about $100,000 so that's a stinging point for us," said the married 32-year-old, who nevertheless thought the unique eco-project was "value for money".

The chance to live green was not the only draw for would-be buyers, who favoured the "condominium look", location and flat layout.

Said Mr Logapreyan: "(The project) brings some tension to the property market, as HDB is becoming more competitive and projects like these can compare with the private condominium market."

The seven 16-storey blocks were built to minimise heating issues with rooftop greenery, heat-resistant walls and a landscaped Eco Deck to ensure cooler living.

Compared to similar built-to-order projects in Punggol, such as The Coralinus Phase 2, the four-room flats for Treetops @ Punggol come with a 15 per cent premium priced at $208,000 to $254,000, compared with $182,000 to $220,000 for the other project. Treetops @ Punggol has 98 three-room units and 600 four-room units available, as well as 14 five-room loft units.

Channel NewsAsia 16 Apr 07
Treetops@Punggol oversubscribed by four times

SINGAPORE: Environment-friendly flats at Treetops@Punggol were over-subscribed by more than four times when applications closed on Monday.

In all, the project will have 712 units consisting of mainly 4-room flats and some 2-room and 5-room units. The blocks will have an eco-deck above the carpark, skyrise greening on its roofs and a community garden. The units will also feature energy-efficient designs, like solar panels on the roof to power the common corridors and other facilities.

For these extra features, the flats will cost slightly more - $139,000 to $254,000 for 3- and 4-room units, and $370,000 to $383,000 for 5-roomers. Treetops@Punggol was awarded the Green Mark under a scheme to promote eco-friendly building technologies and designs. - CNA/ir

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