Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

April 30, 2008

Brrr, why is it so cold in here?

Filed under: 1 — Propertymarketupdates @ 5:20 am

If you get a case of the shivers in a cinema, chances are that you are not reacting to a horror movie but to the freezing air-conditioning.

Indeed, a Sunday Times check of 37 public places revealed that cinemas are among the coldest places here, even as there is a clamour today to save the earth and conserve resources.

And doing that can be as simple as setting the air-con at a higher temperature.

According to the Singapore Environment Council’s general manager Yatin Premchand, one of the simplest ways to reduce carbon emissions is to simply turn up the thermostat.

This is a less drastic move than retrofitting an entire building with more eco-friendly systems.

‘Raising temperatures also means that people will not have to dress up as snowmen to go watch a movie,’ he said.

Setting the thermostat at 25 deg C is comfortable for most people, yet will not consume that much energy, said Singapore Power and the National Environment Agency (NEA) last month.

The Building Construction Authority puts the ideal temperature of an office at between 22.5 deg C and 25.5 deg C, though the NEA recently recommended that indoor temperatures be set at the higher end of this range.

Given that Singapore Power raised electricity tariffs by 5 per cent at the start of this month, opting to go less cold could also be a matter of dollars and sense.

The NEA has said that air-conditioning accounts for 40 per cent to 50 per cent of the electricity bill in commercial buildings.

Raising the temperature by just 1 deg C can save companies up to 3 per cent of air-conditioning bills.

This translates into $20 million to $26 million in annual savings if all companies here raise temperatures by 1 deg C – enough to pay for the yearly electricity bills of 33,000 four-room HDB flats.

A check at 37 air-conditioned places, from Changi Airport and cinemas to shopping malls, libraries, hospitals and polyclinics, found that 25 had temperatures below 25 deg C.

More than a third, or 56 out of 150, of the people interviewed at these places felt that the temperatures could be higher.

‘Cinemas are way too cold and it’s a waste of energy,’ said Mr Lee Junior, 32. The entrepreneur and his wife keep sweaters in their car ‘just in case’.

Nurse Esther Chow, 50, was comfortable with the temperature at Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s walk-in clinic waiting area but said: ‘People with flu might feel that it’s too cold.’

Undergraduate Chen Yucheng, 24, grumbled: ‘It’s so troublesome. The weather outside is so hot but I still have to take a bulky sweater along to air-conditioned places.’

Some companies said that low temperatures are needed to keep sensitive materials in good condition.

The National Library Board said that raising temperatures too high would increase humidity levels and allow mould and fungus to grow and damage books.

In SingHealth polyclinics, temperatures are lower in areas where electronic equipment are kept and drugs are stored, to optimise storage and efficacy.

To conserve energy, the two bodies have adopted several measures, including adjusting thermostats according to the weather and number of visitors.

Cinema chain Golden Village said that the matter is out of its hands as many cinemas are sited in malls where the air-conditioning is centralised.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said that the air-con at Changi Airport is set at 23.5 deg C, based on ‘both our experience as well as feedback on the comfort level from our passengers’.

A CapitaLand Retail spokesman said that ‘providing shoppers with a cool and comfortable ambient temperature is a key aspect of the entire shopping experience’.

Singapore Environment Council’s Mr Yatin agrees that ‘at the end of the day, it’s all about comfort’.

‘But if you think about it, rock-solid freezing cold is a kind of discomfort as well.’

Armed with a digital thermometer provided by Dover Supply, which supplies measuring instruments to the marine sector, The Sunday Times checked the temperatures at 37 air-conditioned places around the island.

Readings were taken at three different spots in each place, and the average was taken.

Here are the 10 coldest places visited.

·  Suntec City Mall – 22.1 deg C
·  Marine Parade Community Library – 22.5 deg C
·  Changi Airport Terminal 3 – 22.5 deg C
·  Cinema at Junction 8 – 22.9 deg C
·  VivoCity – 23 deg C
·  Changi Airport Terminal 1 – 23 deg C
·  Cinema at AMK Hub – 23.1 deg C
·  Changi Airport Terminal 2 – 23.2 deg C
·  Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore lobby – 23.5 deg C
·  Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s walk-in clinic waiting area – 23.7 deg C

 Source : Sunday Times – 27 Apr 2008


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