As Gardens by the Bay – Singapore’s “super park” – welcomes another Christmas season, we explore its focus on environmental sustainability.
Highlights like the Luminaire Mirror Maze, the ice skating rink, the Festive Market and the display inside the Flower Dome all work together to bring a true Christmas spirit to Singapore. But while you bob your head and sing along to the special Yuletide version of the evening Garden Rhapsody light and sound show, you might also think about how amazing Gardens by the Bay is in another way, too.
For starters, those jaw-dropping Super Trees are actually helping to create their own energy to illuminate their lights. Eleven of the trees have special environmentally sustainable functions, and some have solar panels hidden right on top, generating electricity.
That’s not all. Horticultural waste from across Singapore is used to sustain the Gardens. Woody biomass is first collected and turned into woodchips, which are then burnt in a boiler to create steam. This steam spins a turbine that generates power. Amazing, right? It’s a great way to dispose of all those tree trimmings across Singapore. Plus, the ash produced from the burning process is used to improve soil quality around the Gardens, and any extra hot air is released from a hidden chimney in one of the Super Trees. (Try to guess which one on your next visit!)
This same system helps dehumidify the air supplied to the temperature-controlled conservatories, and to power the in-house chillers. These chillers cool water that flows through pipes under the park’s two domes. This creates a stable layer of cold air at ground level, forcing warmer air to move up. What’s more, the buildings are made of spectrally-selective glass which lets light in, but reflects the heat. If it does get too hot, sensor-operated retractable sails in the roof unfurl to give shade to the plants inside.
Finally, while you ooh and ahh over Dragonfly Lake and Kingfisher Lake during your wander around the Gardens, you might consider that these lakes are more than just a beautiful attraction. They’re also the source of the area’s irrigation system, collecting all the water that runs off the domes.
The lakes are specially designed with filter beds of aquatic reeds and wetland plants that reduce water flow and filter sediment. These special plants absorb nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, minimising algae bloom and ensuring better water quality. The lakes are home to fish and dragonflies, and the water is aerated, all of which helps keeps mosquitos at bay.
With all this in mind, you can really enjoy the magical holiday lights and spectacular Gardens guilt-free, giving you something to sing a little more joyfully about this holiday season.
Christmas Wonderland 2019
4pm-11pm, 29 November to 26 December
This year’s magical Christmas Wonderland is bigger and better than ever with Santa’s Workshop, Christmas parades, new light sculptures, Blizzard Time, carnival games and rides, the Festive Market, world-class performances and, of course, Garden Rhapsody. christmaswonderland.sg
Poinsettia Wishes at the Flower Dome
9am-9pm, 8 November to 5 January
This display lends a Christmas twist to iconic landmarks from Nordic countries, including the distinctive Bølgen building in Denmark, Finland’s Santa Claus Village in Finland, Hallgrimskirkja church in Iceland and more. gardensbythebay.com.sg