Bandar Seri Begawan - The future of one of the country's oldest settlements will see the possibility of incorporating into it the use of modern technology that will not just bode well with the country's drive to preserve energy but also provide the area with an even more attractive image.
On the sidelines of yesterday's house key plaque handing over ceremony to recipients of the 65 new homes in Kampong Ayer by Her Majesty Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha, the Project Architect for the development of the area, Haslinawati binti Hj Abdul Halim said that discussions had been ongoing in the consideration of having in place solar energy panels to power upcoming potential developments in the water village.
At present, as part of the already-completed housing project, the alternative energy technology can already be found installed in Kg Saba Tengah as part of an "experiment", but due to the low maximum output at 8kW produced by the donated 100 solar panels, the houses are still operating on conventional electricity and the power from the panels is instead circulated into the general electricity grid.
The panels, she said, were initially not part of the project but the decision was made by relevant ministries to include the technology into the growth of the settlement as they "felt that it should be part of the future development of Kg Ayer - that we should go for green technology, and solar panels would be a good source of energy for the houses".
If the experiment is deemed successful, "we could utilise solar systems for each house with the possibility of running the houses half on solar power and half on electricity" the project architect added.
The justification to carry out the trial, she further said, can be found in the government's initiative to lessen the financial burden of the people living within the area in terms of electricity bills and the initiative can further contribute to the country's proactive green initiative.
With the successful completion of the Pilot Project to Upgrade Kampong Ayer deemed as the "beginning" of a sturdier and more stable housing location, meanwhile, the building of similar homes in future will depend on the reaction of residents, whose response, when interviewed by the Bulletin, was found to be highly positive.
"If the steering committee feels that there needs to be more homes, then of course, the project will be continued," said Haslinawati.
One of the main questions that will be asked should the endeavour continue as part of the Kampong Ayer Masterplan, she added, would be on whether present houses would be better off renovated or demolished to make way for better construction, especially taking into consideration the area of the development.
Though grateful for the finished product, Haslinawati explained that one of the major challenges faced by the team was constructing on water and the fact that the team had to work with the tide, which meant working at odd hours during the week.
"It's very challenging and every day is a trial," she said. The project architect congratulates all those involved for the effort they had invested into the project.
Apart from the eco-friendly materials that were used to build the houses, among the interesting features of the entire development is the modernised sewerage system - an as yet rare fitting in the water village.
Sewage waste from the homes is collected and vacuumed out to a station in Kampong Peramu, where it is then pumped out to a treatment plant in Sungai Kebun. With the system being modular in design, the capacity to receive waste can be increased to accommodate future development.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin