The Liveability Challenge featured in The New Paper

Republished from The Straits Time: Original article here.

Up to $1 million in funding will be available for ideas on how to make tropical cities like Singapore more liveable and sustainable, thanks to the inaugural Liveability Challenge.

Launched yesterday, the challenge – organised by media company Eco-Business and presented by non-profit Temasek Foundation Ecosperity – hopes to find viable solutions to the main problems faced by cities today: The need for sustainable waste management and cooling systems.

Eco-Business’ assistant editor Hannah Koh said recycling is “an out-of-sight, out-of-mind situation” locally because Singapore’s waste is incinerated.

But the repercussions – such as the Semakau Landfill that is quickly filling up – cannot be avoided.

Ms Koh added that according to Project Drawdown, a study ranking climate solutions, the top way to combat climate change is to switch to more efficient cooling solutions, which is what the challenge hopes to do.

One example is an efficient dehumidifying system, an ongoing project by Assistant Professor Tan Swee Ching at National University of Singapore’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Dr Tan was a guest speaker at the launch of The Liveability Challenge yesterday.

He said: “One important thing that many people fail to realise is the apparent increase in temperature that is caused by high levels of humidity.” For instance, an ambient temperature of 31 deg C can feel like 38 deg C.

“Existing solutions to reduce humidity and to maintain thermal comfort involves spending huge amount of money on air-conditioning systems, which are energy intensive as well,” he said. “We therefore are on a path to build an efficient dehumidifying system that operates at almost nil energy expense.”

Temasek Foundation Ecosperity’s chief executive Lim Hock Chuan said: “The Liveability Challenge is an opportunity for us to bring together the entire ecosystem of innovators, funders, investors, platform providers and professionals and excite them to find impactful solutions to make Singapore and the region a more liveable place. We hope to give the talents and the innovators a helping hand and help them advance their solutions towards … successful commercialisation.”

The challenge is now accepting submissions from all over the world at until May 25 . Shortlisted teams will pitch their projects to a panel of funders and investors during the World Cities Summit in Singapore on July 10.

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