• Students trained to help households conserve energy through PowerSeraya’s Responsible Energy Advocates Programme (REAP)
• 3 households top 2010 pilot run to achieve energy savings of more than 10%
15 tertiary students from local polytechnics and universities, along with PowerSeraya, have helped raise awareness on responsible energy usage among households in Singapore. Under PowerSeraya’s Responsible Energy Advocates Programme (REAP), these students were trained to assist 15 selected households conserve energy – of which, three emerged top to achieve more than 10% energy savings within three months during the programme’s pilot run in 2010. This achievement contributes positively towards the country’s ongoing ‘10% Energy Challenge’ campaign led by the National Environment Agency (NEA) to encourage households in Singapore to cut their electricity usage by 10% or more.
In a drive to raise greater awareness, PowerSeraya has selected close to 30 students for the second run this year and invested S$150,000 into the programme over the next five years. REAP aims to nurture tertiary students to be energy advocates so they may assist households to take action on energy conservation. It is also the first programme of its kind for an integrated energy company’s collaboration with NEA and South West Community Development Council.
In five years, 250 targeted households in the South West district are also set to benefit as these students will be conducting energy audits in their homes as one of three components under the programme. The 3P (People-Private-Public) sustainability programme is centred on energy conservation, and integrates components of education, community service and project work to benefit students and the community. Following the audits, these students will propose and implement an energy saving solution and monitor the selected residents’ progress over a period of three months.
John Ng, CEO of PowerSeraya, said, “As an integrated energy company, PowerSeraya seeks to contribute to the society in which we operate through sustainable measures. REAP enables the company to make meaningful contributions in an area close to our heart – a focus on energy conservation which can help mitigate the effects of climate change. This programme benefits students who can learn from the experience, as well as residents who can reduce their energy bills and do their part for the environment at the same time.”
Added Andrew Tan, CEO of National Environment Agency, “REAP is a first of its kind programme to engage the youths on energy efficiency within households and beyond. Such programmes build on a survey finding conducted by NEA, which has shown a high proportion of youths being environmentally conscious, with 80% of respondents aged 15 to 29 saying that individuals can make a difference in sustaining a quality environment for Singapore. We hope more students and households will continue to adopt energy saving practices and care for the environment.”
Pilot run of REAP helped students bring benefits to residents
The first intake of participation in 2010 was initiated when NEA arranged for PowerSeraya to introduce REAP to the Tertiary Institution Council for the Environment (TICE). Under the pilot run, 15 tertiary students were selected to participate in all three components of the programme. They underwent an intensive four-day workshop (Education) to equip themselves with system-thinking skills on sustainability as well as tools to conduct energy audits and assist households in adopting energy conservation measures (Community). As part of their development, they also embarked on projects focused on energy conservation (Projects).
One REAP student participant, Ruskin Ong, 20 years old, from Singapore Polytechnic, said, “The REAP Community component has provided me with a hands-on experience of real-life energy auditing and a glimpse into the state of energy usage of some of the households. I am glad that one of the households I helped managed to achieve energy savings of close to 14%. I assisted by switching their existing light bulbs to energy-efficient ones and offered suggestions on changing their personal lifestyle so they can seek to save even more energy.”
He elaborated, “Through REAP, communicating with the different household owners has allowed me to overcome the challenge of using different methods to convey the message of being energy savvy.”
Extension of REAP to reach more students and households
Following the programme’s successful pilot run, REAP has since been expanded to reach more households within the South West district. PowerSeraya plans to invest up to S$150,000 to target 250 above-the-line households over a five-year period – with 50 of such households targeted per year.
The energy savings achieved by the top three households under the recently-concluded pilot run translates to an average of 37 Kwh per household per month during the three month energy monitoring period (or 444Kwh saved per household per year). If this amount is sustained for at least 250 participating households under the five-year programme, this can potentially translate to a total annual energy saving of 111,000Kwh – enough to power 418 3-room HDB apartment units or 303 4-room HDB apartment units for a month.
As part of PowerSeraya’s community and environmental initiatives to engage students and the wider community on energy conservation, the company has also invested S$170,000 to fund the establishment of an Energy Learning Hub in Greenridge Secondary School. The Hub was launched in 2009 to educate its students, as well as eleven schools and the Zhenghua community in the vicinity, on energy and the linkage to climate change.
 TICE consists of representatives from local tertiary institutions to effectively collaborate on pro-environment activities and events.
 Above-the-line refers to households whose electricity consumptions are above the national average for their household type. For example, the national average electricity consumption for a 5-room HDB flat in Singapore is 461 Kwh (based on 2H 2010 statistics).