Singapore Buildings Put on a Cool, Green Face

Sourced from Nikkei Asian Review

Hotels, stores and shopping malls in Singapore, looking for a way to cut their air conditioning bills and spruce up their environmental image, are increasingly adding greenery to their exterior walls.

The 27-story Oasia Hotel Downtown in the Tanjong Pagar business district, whose outer mesh cladding is swathed in trailing green plants, stands out among its high-rise neighbors. The Parkroyal on Pickering, a hotel in nearby Chinatown, has layers of balcony gardens.

The greening is one part environmental conservation and one part bottom line: Green walls help reduce the cost of cooling a building by reducing the temperature of exterior walls and mitigating the heat-island effect -- the higher temperatures found in heavily built-up areas.

The Parkroyal has introduced solar power and uses recycled water to appeal to environmentally conscious guests, particularly millennials.

And it is not just hotels that are seeing green. One condominium complex developed by property heavyweight City Developments was previously cited by Guinness World Records as having the world's biggest green wall. Similar structures are being put in at office buildings, airports, shopping malls and hospitals.

"When we started designing buildings that have a substantial green plot ratio [the ratio of green space to total site area], we had to work harder to persuade clients to agree to the initial investment and running costs, because greenery does require maintenance and it is a long-term investment," said Richard Hassell, co-founder of Singapore-based architectural firm WOHA.

"But with time, we have showed that it is a worthwhile investment that adds value to the property. And we try to make maintenance as easy, accessible and cost-efficient as possible so that it doesn't require much effort to keep the greenery alive and beautiful," Hassell said.

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