As the assistant programme chair of the Diploma in Green Building Energy Management (DGEM) at Republic Polytechnic’s (RP) School of Engineering, Quek Yang Thee has launched several programmes to expose, encourage and inspire students to the sustainable energy and Green building industry.
How did you first get involved in Green sustainable technology?
My first Green and clean project in RP was about 10 years ago. The project involved the installation of a 30Wp photovoltaic (PV) solar farm on one of the polytechnic building’s rooftop. I enjoyed working on the project and using PV panels for other projects, such as converting an old buggy used by our estate department to a solar-powered buggy that can be tele-operated.
As an electrical engineer by training, the responsibility towards these Green energy projects slowly turned into a passion and a strong belief that Green sustainable technology is the way to go for the future of mankind. Buildings play a major role in our lives—if they are well designed and constructed with the correct Green sustainable technology, buildings will be able to perform their tasks with optimised resources.
What are the major challenges faced in the implementation of Green technology in our buildings today?
We can analyse this from a few angles. Building owners must first understand that most of the cost of the whole building life cycle comes from operations, not construction. Thus, when doing feasibility studies to retro-fit systems for improvements, it is important to keep in mind that, eventually, there will be return on investment.
The mindset of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix (replace) it” is hard to change. The resistance to upgrade to a more efficient or Greener system is greater if the existing system is still functioning. A simple example would be to convince a user to replace a CRT TV that has been working very well for the past 20 years to an LCD TV. We will need to help him to work out how much he can save on the monthly electricity bill and what the payback period is. On top of the money saved, he will also get a bigger screen, clearer resolution, availability of digital TV and many more features.
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