Green Labs Associates in Asia - Singapore
Singapore is a growing hub for successful research and sustainability in Asia. On his first stop in region, Green Lab Associates director Martin Farley visited the two major universities which undertake scientific research – the National University of Singapore (NUS), and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). On day one with a bit of jetlag, Martin had the fortune of attending NUS’s Sustainability Roadshow. The well attended event featured a wide array of good practices ongoing and growing at NUS, including some impressive methods of reducing ventilation in labs. The event was opened by the Director of the Office of Safety, Health, and Environment Dr. Peck Thian Guan, who introduced the University’s president Professor Tan Eng Chye. Impressively, the team had organised a signing of intent to improve the sustainability of the major lab-based faculties, with 4 deans present at the signing.
Martin was kindly hosted by Syam Kumar Prabhakaran, the Senior Associate Director for the Office of Facilities Management. After lunching with the NUS president and relevant deans, Martin and Dr. Peck both gave talks to interested NUS staff and students. Martin shared his work around green lab practices and case studies from the UK, while Dr. Peck spoke on waste management methods at NUS including the challenges and successes. Similar to the UK, the audience was particularly interested with the use of bins and how to sort waste appropriately!
On days 2 & 3 Martin met with Nilesh Y Jadhav, EcoCampus director of Nanyang Technological University, where he introduced the LEAF project. He then was introduced to the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS), which is a non-profit hub for the local sustainability sector. Finally, he had the fortune of meeting Vincent Meyer of Siemens, the current chair of the I2SL Singapore Chapter (International Institute of Sustainable Labs) which operates through SEAS. A webinar to the Chapter was arranged and since delivered on UK methods and advances in sustainable science, such as LEAF. The group had was unfamiliar with similar engagement tools, but had done a particular commendable piece work implementing green lab building standards at both NUS and NTU.
Singapore is truly a fascinating destination. They are faced with some particular challenges we don’t have in the UK such as extreme heat and humidity, making environmental control for labs challenging at times. Chillers must be in operation almost 24/7, while heating essentially doesn’t exist. Lack of space generally in Singapore represents another challenge, which is reflected in the incineration of most waste coupled with commendable recycling efforts. On the other hand, NUS in particular felt like a real hotbed of sustainable design and mechanics. Buildings had air change rates being minimized, and the campus has beautifully integrated nature and plant life. Moving forward, we hope to continue sharing good practice, developing common resources, and potentially applying the LEAF standard. Thanks to all visited for being fantastic hosts, and in particular NUS, Dr. Peck, Syam Kumar Prabhakaran for facilitating and Vincent for setting up a subsequent webinar.