Innovative policies and planning have made Singapore an environmental leader in the travel industry.
SINGAPORE - Singapore is a small place with big ideas. Measuring just 17 miles long and 31 miles wide, the Southeast Asia city-state packs 5.6 million people into its tiny footprint. And yet, it mostly lacks the urban irritants that plague other big cities, like poor air quality, crumbling infrastructure and out-of-control congestion. That's thanks to innovative policies and planning that have made Singapore a living laboratory for future-focused development.
Especially indicative of the country's progressive approach to urban planning is its appetite for sustainability. By 2030, for instance, Singapore wants 80% of its buildings to be certified as green under its Green Mark building-certification program. Meanwhile, the government has invested aggressively in public transportation, recycling, water efficiency and renewable energy.
As it is in so many destinations, the travel industry has been an environmental leader. Singapore's Changi Airport features energy-efficient motion sensors and lighting, water-efficient fixtures and roof-mounted solar panels, plus a massive green wall in Terminal 3 that cleans the air with 113,000 plants. A second green wall, located on the exterior of the recently opened Terminal 4, debuted in 2017 and helps reduce heat-island effect at the airport.
Hotels in Singapore do their part, too. Consider, for example, the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore, which has just completed a massive redesign for its 25th anniversary that celebrates Singapore's moniker as the Garden City. An homage to Singapore's environmental love affair, the redesign encompasses each of the property's 255 guest rooms and suites, which were updated with a blue and green colour palette that references Swan Lake at the nearby Singapore Botanic Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also revamped were the property's restaurants and bar, which specialise in local ingredients, including some that are harvested from an on-site garden, along with the spa, which leverages nature in botanical-inspired spa treatments.
The hotel doesn't just celebrate the environment in its aesthetics, however; it also has sustainable programming -- including Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts' Greening Meetings program, which allows meeting planners to select a variety of environmentally friendly options (e.g., paperless correspondence, china and utensils instead of disposable dishware, dry erase boards instead of paper flip charts) at no additional cost when they host events in the 16,662 square feet of meeting space.
FOUR MORE SUSTAINABLE PROPERTIES IN SINGAPORE
Four Seasons Hotel Singapore is in very good - and very green - company thanks to a plethora of meeting hotels that cater to environmentally aware groups. Here are four of them:
PARKROYAL on Pickering
The Parkroyal on Pickering is Asia's Leading Green Hotel, according to the World Travel Awards. Located in Singapore's Central Business District, the self-described "hotel in a garden" is instantly recognisable thanks to its zero-energy "sky gardens" - lush elevated gardens that trace the building's exterior every four floors up. The gardens bring nature directly to guests while also keeping the building cool, which reduces energy usage. There's also solar power, rain-harvesting systems, in-room recycling bin, and bathroom fixtures - bathtubs, sinks and vanity tops - made of recycled composite granite. There's even a plastic-free policy for meetings and events, and a dedicated "wellness floor" with waterfalls and a garden walk. The hotel has 367 guest rooms and suites and 7,535 square feet of meeting space.
Oasia Hotel Downtown
Like the Parkroyal on Pickering, the Oasia Hotel Downtown is decked in greenery comprising 21 different species of creepers and vines. Designed by architecture firm WOHA, the 27-story, 314-room property is a "tropical skyscraper" and a "living, breathing vertical garden," according to its website, which boasts of "picturesque sky gardens, terraces and green screens." Inside - or outside, rather - both the lobby and the 21st floor lack walls, which enables a steady, natural draft that in those spaces eliminates the need for air conditioning. As for enclosed spaces, the hotel has a chilled water system that keeps things cool without consuming tons of energy. The hotel has 2,500 square feet of meeting and event space.
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport
A green airport deserves a green airport hotel, which is exactly what Changi Airport gets in the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport. Connected directly to Terminal 3, the hotel has a cornucopia of interesting eco-friendly features, including EcoWiz, a food-waste digester that uses microbes to convert the waste into water; JemFlo, a water-efficient technology that reduces water consumption in guest rooms without compromising water pressure; open-air walkways that provide natural ventilation, and floor-to-ceiling glass windows that maximize natural light as a means of reducing energy consumption. The hotel also works with Sealed Air's Soap for Hope and Linen for Life, which recycle and repurpose used soaps and linens, respectively, to benefit disadvantaged communities. The hotel has 563 guest rooms and 8,611 square feet of meeting space.
Marina Bay Sands
The Marina Bay Sands isn't just Singapore's most iconic building; it's also one of its greenest hotels. Along with a US$18.8 million intelligent building management system that uses automation to facilitate water and energy efficiency, it features elevators with regenerative drives that use 40% less energy than conventional elevators, a water-saving system in its iconic infinity pool, large windows that allow it to light rooms with fewer light bulbs and an energy-efficient chilled-water air-conditioning system. The hotel has 2,561 guest rooms and over 1 million square feet of meeting space in its Sands Expo and Convention Center.