Cool idea for S'pore Zoo

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Trial for new outdoor cooling system

Visitors to the Singapore Zoo will soon be able to stave off the heat in some areas of the park, thanks to a new outdoor cooling system that is touted to blow air as cool as 24 deg C.

The Airbitat Smart Cooler, developed by Innosparks, an ST Engineering subsidiary, was unveiled at the zoo yesterday, at a joint media briefing with Mandai Park Holdings.

Each unit, about the size of a refrigerator, can cool an area of about 55 sq m and has a reach of 5m to 10m.

The cooler is eco-friendly, using 80 per cent less energy than an average air-conditioner unit, and does not produce heat, reported The Straits Times Online.

Four units have been placed at the zoo's ticketing area since Tuesday for a six-month trial. If successful, 80 to 100 units will be rolled out in the near future at "cool zones" within four of Mandai Park Holdings' wildlife parks: the Singapore Zoo, River Safari, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park.

The cool zones include areas such as ticketing counters and restaurants, said Mandai Park Holdings' group chief executive officer Mike Barclay.

While a timeline for the roll-out and cost has not been determined, Mr Gareth Tang, the project's engineering lead and general manager for Innosparks, said that cost-effectiveness is key for cooling large outdoor spaces.

An Airbitat unit costs $2.50 a day to run, while an air-con unit with a similar capacity costs about $12.50, said Mr Tang.

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