The 6.84-sq km start-up area, which will be the heart of Amaravati, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, will be better, greener and more modern than the famed Singapore city-state itself. "That is how it has been planned. We have also given master plans for development of two cities in China. However, Amaravati will be the best," Koh Lin Ji, group director, International Development Group of Building and Construction Authority of Singapore, told TOI in Singapore.
Singapore's Surbana Jurong Private Limited provided the three-part master plan for the development of Amaravati. During the International Green Building Conference (IGBC) 2016, organised by BCA from September 6 to 9, Koh Lin Ji said, it, however, is not yet clear as to whether Singapore will be selected in the bidding for development of Amaravati. "Two companies of Singapore have submitted bids and we understand there are others who are also interested. Quite naturally, since the master plan has been given by us, if we get selected in the bids, we will surely make Amaravati the most modern city," Koh Lin Ji said.
Modern planning, in Singapore parlance, does not mean grandeur and pomp but means making the best use of natural resources, reducing energy consumption, giving utmost importance to reducing pollution and making a city liveable for the next generations. This precisely was the discussion during the conference which was attended by 1,000 participants from 30 countries. The participants included thought leaders, real estate developers, urban planners, architects, engineers, builders and other industry professionals. The theme of their discussions during various sessions was: 'Build green: The next decade'.
In fact, since the 'green building' movement began in Singapore a decade ago, one-third of all buildings in Singapore have been constructed as energy-efficient structures. "The facade is the most important aspect of a building. While the outer glass provides natural light to come into the building complexes, the inner glass ensures that heat does not enter the building. This way, power consumption is reduced by a great deal for both lighting and air-conditioning," said Dr John Keung, chief executive officer, BCA.
The "BCA Green Mark" is given to buildings that adhere to all green norms. "We also provide incentives to encourage the private sector to adopt green building technologies and get the BCA Green Mark certification," he said. The cost factor, however, comes in the way of builders' green thinking as the expenditure is more. "That is a fact. But the results speak for themselves. After five to six years, builders will be able to see savings on their energy use. We are even helping the builders get loans for taking up construction of green buildings," Dr John Keung said.
According to Singapore's second minister for finance, Lawrence Wong, the Green Mark Certification of Singapore's BCA is being used in more than 80 cities across the world. He said the aim is to have 80 per cent green buildings in Singapore by 2030. Interestingly, Singapore is also doing retrofitting of many old buildings to make them more energy-efficient. The one major concern of Singapore is about being able to educate occupants or tenants of green buildings to cut down on energy consumption. A complete mind-set change is needed and the people are being educated about reducing power consumption, using recycled water and following environment norms.
This challenge will pertain to Amaravati also when it is developed. According to Singapore officials, the plan for Singapore designed by Surbana Jurong has also taken into consideration the 'vaastu' factor. "Vaastu has been factored in," an official said. Once the development of the start-up area is completed, those living in the heart of Amaravati will need to change their hearts to follow a 'green' lifestyle.