Last year's unusually thick haze forced 14-year-old Izwan Zaharuddin to stay home and away from his favourite pastime, playing football.
Bored, the Woodgrove Secondary student began to wonder how he could be more environmentally aware.
It led him to join the Build it Green Club Junior, a programme by the Building Construction Authority (BCA) that was launched yesterday.
The club aims to nurture in young students a greater awareness of green buildings, paving the way for "a strong green culture among future professionals in the industry", said BCA chief executive John Keung.
It will take youth like Izwan behind the scenes to find out about buildings certified with the Green Mark for meeting specified levels of environmental sustainability.
They will learn how things work, said senior manager Immanuel Lim, of BCA's 3P Partnership department, who oversees the club.
"They'll see how a developer or architect can promote natural daylight or choose a better chiller system for their air-conditioners to reduce energy." The students are then encouraged to help their schools get the Green Mark.
Mr Lim said he is heartened by the overwhelming response. More than 400 students from more than a dozen secondary schools have signed up for the programme.
Izwan hopes to pick up practical tips on how to reduce waste and be energy-efficient.
Already, he wants to spearhead a rooftop garden project in his school. "I need to learn how to make being green part of my daily routine," he added.
This article was published on April 5 in The Straits Times.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.