Green Singapore: A City for the Eco-Conscious

In March, I got to spend about five days in Singapore with Marie and I fell in love with the place. One of the things I most appreciated about the city was that even though it’s got a population density comparable to New York City with nearly 5 million residents, they make a noticeable effort to protect our planet and create a sustainable city. In fact, Singapore snagged a number 2 spot on the 2016 Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index which ranks over 100 cities around the world.

Photo credits to Marie R. | The beautiful views by the Marina Bay conceals the challenges Singapore has in securing water.

One of the best examples of Singapore’s eye toward being eco-friendly is their Gardens by the Bay, which I’ve referenced a few times in other posts ( . It even got a post of it’s own as it’s been one of my favorite attractions to date, but I’m not alone in thinking it’s an amazing place – the gardens were shown in Planet Earth II’s season finale, “Cities”, as a model example of how even mega-cities can help animal life flourish through sustainable practices. The city has won an numerous amount of awards too: 2017 Garden Tourism Award, TripAdvisor 2016 Certificate of Excellence, AsiaOne’s People’s Choice Awards Top 3 Best Local Attractions, 2015 Guinness World Records Largest Glass Flower Dome, and so on and so forth. Aside from the grounds being an incredibly beautiful and impressive work of living art, there is careful design behind the seeming chaos of greenery climbing the “supertrees” in the gardens.

You can see the enormity of the Supertrees in the Gardens by the Bay here, covered with greenery from the trunk’s bottom to top.
Photo credits to Marie R. | The Gardens by the Bay at night, from across the water.

You would do best to read the descriptions on their website as they explain the complicated science clearly, but I’ll give it my best shot at a summary of the basic methods the Gardens use to conserve. The biomass of dead leaves and plant matter from throughout the property (and even other gardens around Singapore) are collected and used to fuel the energy needs of the gardens through CHP steam turbine. Using a combination of fancy solar panels, dehumidifying the air in the domes, and only cooling lower layers of the air in the domes, energy needs are minimized and helps prevent dependency on an electrical grid. Like I said, they will do a better job so head to the Gardens by the Bay site if you want to see some great diagrams explaining this process.

Here I am enjoying the garden succulents in the Flower Dome after some 24 hours of traveling to Singapore!

In addition to the Gardens by the Bay, Singapore hosts many events which bring prominent industry leaders together from around the world to discuss the environmental problems plaguing Singapore and beyond, and possible innovations to solve them. Among these enviro-events is the Singaporean International Water Week, Clean EnviroSummit Singapore, and the World Cities Summit, which has attendees representing over 125 countries.

Marie getting ready to dive into this Singaporean dish, Chili Crab. (Spoiler: it was delicious and we absolutely needed the bibs!

If this isn’t enough to convince you, they have some of the most sustainable buildings around. You can tour Singapore’s “greenest building” titled the Zero Energy Building, which they estimate would save S$84,000 annually as compared to a standard office in the city. This is a pretty significant achievement for Singapore as their goal is to have 80% of their buildings receive the Green Mark Certification in the next fifteen years. With thousands of buildings already certified, an efficient public transportation system that makes sustainable travel practical, over 2 million trees planted throughout the city, and rooftop and balcony gardens abound, it’s not surprising that Singapore has earned the title “The Garden City”. Here, it’s a bit easier for travelers to be conscious of the footprint they’re making on their journey and which is why I highly recommend it to everyone.

In which cities have you found make it easiest to minimize your travel footprint?

Photo credits to Marie R. | Trees and greenery abound in the middle of the Singapore city.


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8 thoughts on “Green Singapore: A City for the Eco-Conscious”

  • Really appreciate learning about Singapore’s eco-friendly initiatives, as I would not have really thought about this from a city view before – though I’m used to thinking about it when it comes to visiting national parks, safari reserves and so on. It’s a city I want to explore very much!

    • I was really surprised too! Cities are never the place I’d think to be leading the way but i was really excited to see their awesome work.

  • I really like how Singapore is making giant leaps towards being green and ecofriendly! USA cities could learn so much from its sustainability practices!

    • Right? Dying for efficient subway systems, abundant recycling, and giant rooftop gardens in our cities like they have there! It would make such a difference.

  • I’ve seen lots of photos of Singapore, and it looks like such a beautiful place! I’m glad that the city is making lots of progress to become more eco friendly 🙂 The super trees are just amazing, and I imagine that they’re even more so in real life!

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