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STB wants offices to waste electricity for F1 ‘wayang’

- By Gangasudhan -

Green Drinks Singapore received a tip-off today that at least one office building in the city has been 'encouraged' by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to leave their lights on during the 3 days of F1 races in order to "facilitate a captivating night-view of Singapore City for international TV broadcast and photography".

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In an email memo to its tenants (reproduced above), CaptaLand (RCS) Property Management asked Raffles City Tower offices to leave the lights on from 7.45pm to 11.30pm on each night between 22 September to 26 September this year. Conservative estimates put the number of hours of needless electricity use at 18 hours 45 minutes over the 5 days, which works out to at least $2 per office for the duration.

The Rudimentary Calculation

  • Assuming each office has at least ten 50W light bulbs switched on each night, the energy consumption will be 0.5KWH for every hour the lights are on
  • For the 18.75 hours the lights have been asked to be left on, the total electricity use for the lighting per office will be 9.375KWH
  • At the current rate of 25.82 cents per KWH, the cost will therefore be $2.42 per office

However, this minimalist estimate does not take into consideration the number of offices that will be unoccupied after the close of business day and would just leave the lights on overnight. And while it can be argued that $2 (or more) may be a small price to pay for the 'honour' of contributing to the F1 and Singapore's image, it is contradictory to the Singapore initiative to become a green nation (see 'Law to push green drive', Straits Times, 15 September 2010). Having Mr Mah Bow Tan, the Minister for National Development, as the founding patron of the Singapore Green Building Council whilst at the same time asking offices to keep the lights on for pure vanity's sake is hypocritical - to put it mildly.

Not to mention, the overarching issue here is the needless waste of electricity regardless of the (perceived) low cost, with the period even extending 2 days prior to the actual race days. Perhaps more effort should have been made to minimise the amount of waste by advising the offices to just switch on the lights closest to the window (if at all they must). With the YOG farce still in the minds of many Singaporeans, the government agencies would do well to be mindful of limiting such waste in the pursuit of illusions.

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TOC has written in to the STB for comment (see below) and will update this report with its response when (and if) it is received.

We understand that that the STB has 'encouraged' offices that make up the Singapore city skyline to keep their lights on during the F1 races.

Would your office want to clarify or justify this initiative? Also, we would like to know how the STB wants to reconcile this waste of energy with the lofty goal for Singapore to be green-efficient.

We will be publishing the story shortly and will be more than happy to include your response/position into the article as soon as we receive your reply, thank you.

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