S’pore Public Bus with Roof Filled with Grass Is a Thing

Image: Singapore Green Building Council Facebook Page

Singapore is known for being a garden city.

And I’m quite pleased to see that we’re now taking that status to another level.

Garden on Wheels

On May 5, Singapore’s first buses with plants installed on their roofs were in operation. This is also the first in Asia, ever. Good to see we’re setting records.

This initiative, “Garden on the Move” is by an urban greenery specialist GWS Living Art. It was also first launched at Lakeside Garden.

Besides the buses with plants, there was also a shuttle service which travelled within the Lakeside area that was also installed with plants on the roof.

It ferried people from Chinese Garden MRT station and Lakeside Garden, where the Singapore Garden Festival Horticulture Show was held at.

This is also part of a three-month study to see if temperatures in buses could be lowered, and potentially save on fuel costs for air-conditioning.

It’s Not Just Lakeside Garden

The study will also involve nine other buses by SBS Transit, which have also started on May 5.

Image: Singapore Green Building Council Facebook Page

The services included are 139, 145, 13, 39, and 45, which go to places such as Toa Payoh, Tampines and Orchard Road.

Fares on these buses will remain the same too.

Finally some action on the East side.

Image: Giphy

Effectiveness of Plants

This initiative was funded by Temasek Foundation and supported by the National Parks Board, Moove Media, and the Singapore Green Building Council.

Do you have a friend who’s always smiling? Watch this video and you’ll know why he or she is always so happy:

The plants are placed in a soilless roof system, instead of conventional soil used for gardening. This is because conventional soil may need maintenance once a month, while this soilless system only needs maintenance two to three times a year.

The plants are also secured on a lightweight mat which is used for skyline greenery, so don’t worry about plants accidentally falling off and hitting you.

For this particular study, two patches of soil-less greenery were installed on each bus. Each patch measures 1.8m and weighs 40kg.

The plants which are used for the study are those suitable for our local climate and are resistant to windy and dry conditions. They also don’t need to be watered frequently and will be checked on once a week.

Reducing Temperature

A research fellow from the NUS School of Design and Environment, Dr Tan, said that thermal sensors will be placed on the rooftop’s of buses under the plants and on the underside of the roof.

To reduce the urban heat island effect, temperatures outdoors must be reduced.

The urban heat island effect is increased temperatures due to Urban Heat Island (UHI). It also negatively affects the thermal comfort of residents and is a result of complex changes in the surface energy budget of urban areas.

In simpler terms, it’s just really hot.

Image: Tenor

Greenery Help Reduce Heat

By having greenery on surfaces such as vehicles, it plays a part in reducing indoor temperatures.

Image: Singapore Green Building Council Facebook Page

This is equivalent to having more parks in Singapore. If there are enough vehicles and buildings with green roofs, outdoor temperatures can be reduced. Especially at night.

Dr Ho Nyok Yong, president of the SGBC, said: “We hope to sustain interest in green buildings by putting one of the most recognisable elements of a green building onto a very public platform.”

For now, let’s hope that this study is successful so that we can have cooler buses and a cooler city.