New a green roof bus acts as a research station too – Singapore

A new green roof bus plying passengers in Singapore also acts as a research station. Touted as the first such bus in Asia hit the road today. Called appropriately Garden on the move‘,  the vehicle is ferrying people between Chinese Garden MRT station and Lakeside Garden.In order to measure the effect, thermal sensors sit beneath the  plants and on the underside of the rooftop.

Green roof research bus – understanding effect of green roofs on indoor temperatures

Reducing temperatures saving fuel

This is part of a three-month study to see whether the temperature inside the buses can be lowered. By lowering the temperatures this should save fuel. The study will also involve another nine green roof bus research vehicles.

The initiative and research is funded by the Temasek Foundation and supported by the National Parks Board, Moove Media, and the Singapore Green Building Council.  Furthermore, the buses, it is hoped will raise awareness green roofs and why they are important for the city.

Green roof bus research – a three month trial

For the study, two patches of soil-less greenery will be installed on each bus. Each patch, or module, measures 1.8m by 1.05m and weighs 40kg. The efficacy of the green roofs and whether more buses will have them will be determined at the end of the three months. The aim of the study is to show that the green roof will lead to a drop in temperature in the interior of the buses. If this is the case a reduction in fuel used for air-conditioning should be a consequence.

Dr Terrence Tan from the National University of Singapore (NUS), who is advising the study, said: “What is special in this case is that this green roof is on a bus.’ In fact, he adds “from our studies, we know very well that the temperature reduction can be up to 20 to 30C0 on a very hot day, so we want to see if the same holds true for vehicles,”  In order to measure the effect, thermal sensors sit beneath the  plants and on the underside of the rooftop.

Measuring the heat inside the green roof bus

Whilst the idea of buses with green roofs capture the imagination there is more at play her. Cities like Singapore need to develop ways to ameliorate the negative effects of the urban heat island.  Green roofs are know to help with this. “To combat the urban heat island effect, we need to reduce temperature outdoors. By having greenery on surfaces such as on vehicles, it plays a part,’ says Dr. Tan.

“It’s the same thing as having parks. Collectively, if we have enough vehicles and buildings with green roofs, we can reduce outdoor temperature, especially at night.”

Mr Oh Cheow Sheng, group director at NParks, said the project was a creative initiative. In fact it is a project  that seeks to extend Singapore’s greening efforts.

“We hope that this will spur others to explore other similarly innovative ways to ‘green’ up Singapore.”