As an Outward Bound School instructor in Pulau Ubin for more than 10 years, Mr Ng Thian Choon, 42, has always loved nature.
He teaches his students to be environmentally friendly and to leave no trace when they are outdoors.
So when he heard about Singapore's first eco-precinct in Punggol, he jumped at the opportunity to live there.
The father of two children aged two and five is now the proud owner of his first flat, a four-room unit on the 15th storey of Treelodge@Punggol.
In 2011, his family moved into their new home, one of 712 eco-friendly flats in Singapore so far.
In the light of Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015, HDB has plans for more eco-friendly flats. (See report on right.)
Treelodge@Punggol, the only eco-friendly public housing in Singapore, uses green technology to manage water, energy and waste more efficiently.
For instance, there are solar panels to generate energy for lighting in common areas and a separate chute for collecting recyclable waste in every block.
START THEM YOUNG
The Ng family takes recycling seriously. Mr Ng's stay-home wife, Madam Serene Yar, 38, cleans bottles and cans before recycling them.
His five-year-old boy, Junkai, helps sort out the trash and accompanies his dad to throw the trash every evening.
Mr Ng said: "We have to start imparting these values from young. We have a recycling corner at home and my son is always very excited to help.
"But I think Singapore still has a long way to go in terms of recycling, compared to other countries."
The family chooses energy-saving appliances, such as their fridge and lights, and they do not own an air-conditioner.
Mr Ng said that air-cons are not common in his estate. He estimates that half of his neighbours do not own an air-con.
"There are a lot of open spaces within each block and it faces the north-east and south-west wind direction.
"An air-conditioner uses a lot of electricity. We can just turn on the fan at full-blast on really warm days."
His neighbour, teacher Heng Soong Phiau, 43, also does not have an air-con. The father of three children aged two, 13 and 15, moved from Bedok Reservoir to Punggol because he was attracted by the eco-friendly facilities.
"My family and I used to walk one or two blocks just to throw our recyclable trash into the recycle bins every day. It's easier to recycle now."
This article was first published on January 10, 2015.
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