Perhaps that’s understandable. The Southeast Asian financial center has been heating up twice as fast as the world average over the past six decades, according to government data. And that’s in a city just 85 miles north of the equator, where daily temperatures already average around 27 degrees Celsius (81 Fahrenheit) year-round.
For decades, foliage has been a key tool in the city’s fight to keep temperatures down. But increasingly, building design and smart technology are central to the strategy: from petal-shaped, ventilating rooftops and cooling, underground water pipes to data modelling designed to help predict how future urban planning decisions will affect heat levels.
Part of the city’s battle is to reduce the temperatures experienced by its 5.7 million residents without drastically increasing its carbon footprint. Even as it strives to halve emissions by 2050, Singapore has more air-conditioning units per capita than anywhere else in Southeast Asia.
“As Singapore is hot and humid, air conditioning becomes very pervasive but it’s also an energy guzzler,” said Wong Nyuk Hien, a professor at the National University of Singapore school of design and environment.
“Thus building design should be done to minimize the use of air conditioning. This will also reduce the waste heat dumped to the environment.”