Monday, 21 November 2016

Summary & Reader Response: Sustainability Efforts (Final Draft)

According to the “Sustainability Efforts” (n.d.) webpage taken from Gardens by the Bay (GBTB) website, heavy emphasis has been placed on designing GBTB’s systems and technologies to achieve environmental sustainability.

Firstly, GBTB uses their lake system to filter water naturally with aquatic plants. This system aims to promote the importance of clean water and how plants can play a significant role in our ecosystem. Environmental sustainability can also be achieved by conserving energy. GBTB uses specially chosen glass for their two conservatories to minimize heat gain, along with thermal stratification to reduce the volume of air that needs to be cooled. GBTB also generates their own energy with the “Combined Heat Power (CHP) steam turbine” and solar cells on the “Supertrees”. “Supertrees” are tree-like structures, fitted with technologies that mimic the ecological function of trees. These “Supertrees” can also function as storage for the exhaust air.

GBTB have put in much effort to maintain a sustainable ecosystem. With these systems and technologies to produce naturally treated water, reduce pollution and conserve energy, GBTB has proven that they are indeed upholding the environmental sustainability concept.

Environmental sustainability defines how we should be protecting our ecosystems and the sustainability of our natural resources (Mason, n.d.). Protecting our environment from any potential damage will be the key to this sustainability.

In my opinion, the lake system makes efficient use of the natural ecological processes. Instead of using other sophisticated technologies, GBTB chooses to use reed beds and aquatic plants for the water cleaning process. Using reed bed in the lake system is environmentally friendly and requires minimal energy input (“Reed-Beds,”n.d.). In addition, the lake system provides the benefit of nutrients and pollution absorption by incorporating aquatic plants and reed beds. Nutrient pollution occurs when there is excess nitrogen and phosphorus in air and water (US Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], 2016). Too much of these two nutrients can lead to algal bloom, affecting the water quality. It may even cause serious impact on humans and the environment. The effectiveness of this system has proven GBTB’s attempt to protect our ecosystem, following their main concept of environmental sustainability.

GBTB also came up with an energy-efficient solution for the conservatories by using the specially selected glass as the main material to reduce heat, and uses horticultural waste to generate electricity on-site for the cooling system. This reduces their dependency on natural resources, such as fossil fuels. Using CHP requires lesser fuel to produce energy, which will result in the decrease of greenhouse gases emissions other possible air pollution (EPA, 2016). Greenhouse gas is one of the main causes of global warming and the change in climate. Therefore, it is essential to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases. By doing so, GBTB has shown efforts in environmental sustainability. 

Furthermore, the photovoltaic cells on the Garden’s “Supertrees” absorb radiation from the sun and convert the energy into usable electricity. The world’s natural resources are depleting, but solar energy will last as long as the sun rises. This makes it a good alternative to generate electricity without creating pollution or resulting in global warming. The environmental technologies of the “Supertrees” also allow collection of rainwater for use in the conservatories’ cooling system and irrigation system. This reduces GBTB’s demand on ground water as well as the impact on the environment. With “Supertrees”, GBTB attempts to protect the sustainability of the natural resources and the environment. This further proves that GBTB upholds the environmental sustainability concept.

To sum it up, GBTB follows closely to the environmental sustainability principles. GBTB’s systems and technologies help to maintain a sustainable ecosystem by reducing pollution and producing naturally treated water using the lake system, conserving energy with the conservatories and photovoltaic cells, as well as conserving water using “Supertrees”. Although it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of these systems and technologies, GBTB has proven to put in a commendable amount of effort in protecting our ecosystems and environment.



References

Mason, M. (n.d.). What Is Sustainability and Why Is It Important? Retrieved from http://www.environmentalscience.org/sustainability

R. (n.d.). Advantages and Disadvantages of Rainwater Harvesting - Conserve Energy Future. Retrieved November 21, 2016, from http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/Advantages_Disadvantages_Rainwater_Harvesting.php

Shahan, Z. (2013). Advantages & Disadvantages Of Solar Power. Retrieved September 24, 2016, from https://cleantechnica.com/2013/10/08/advantages-disadvantages-solar-power/

Sustainability Efforts . (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2016, from http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en/the-gardens/about-us/sustainability.html

US Environmental Protection Agency. (2016). Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Partnership Share. Retrieved September 24, 2016, fromhttps://www.epa.gov/chp/chp-benefits

US Environmental Protection Agency. (2016). Nutrient Pollution. Retrieved September 24, 2016, from https://www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution

Wall, A. (n.d.). Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy. Retrieved September 24, 2016, from http://www.processindustryforum.com/hottopics/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-solar-energy

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