The Only Buying Guide You Need So You Don't Waste Your $300 Climate Vouchers

  • Apr 9, 2024

Heads up, HDB dwellers! Starting 15 April 2024, snag S$300 in climate vouchers to upgrade your home with energy-efficient appliances and fittings. These vouchers are valid until Dec 31, 2027. (Full details and eligible products here.) Want to maximise your savings? We've put together a buying guide to help with your shopping: 


Design: Fineline Design

Pick refrigerators that come with 3 or 4 ticks. Here are the main types of refrigrators to consider:


What is it?




Freezer located at the top, typically only has one door to access the fridge compartment and another to access the freezer

The standard, no-frills refrigerator so these are typically cheaper

Not the easiest to access items in the fridge compartment, with the crisper drawer located all the way at the bottom


Freezer located at the bottom, typically comes with one door to access the fridge and either a door or pull-open drawer to access the freezer

If you don’t use the freezer a whole lot, this type is definitely more ergonomic to reach for items in the fridge compartment

Not the easiest to access items in the freezer

Side by side

Comes with two full-height vertical doors. One opens to the fridge compartment while the other opens up to the freezer

Small swing clearance needed for the doors. Easy access to items in both the fridge and freezer. Can also come with a whole host of fancy features like an ice-maker.

Freezer compartment tends to be relatively narrow, making it difficult to store certain items

French door

Similar to side-by-side with the doors split into two, but comes with an additional bottom drawer dedicated to freezer space

Large and generous compartments which are great for bigger households or if you cook every day

Typically costlier and takes up more space than other types. With so many doors, it can also lead to constantly opening the wrong door to reach for items in the fridge compartment

◘ Depending on your lifestyle, consider the different features you will need. Most will come with a crisper drawer for fruits and vegetables, but do you also want dedicated compartments for meats and dairy? Then there are refrigerators that also let you adjust the temperatures within one compartment so you can change it to a soft-freeze drawer for instance. For something even fancier, consider getting a refrigerator with a touch-screen panel.

◘ For a household of two, get a refrigerator with approximately 250 to 300L capacity. A 4-person household can opt for around a 400L capacity refrigerator. Make sure you understand the difference between gross and net storage capacity when checking the size. Gross capacity includes the total space, including the walls of the fridge, while net capacity specifically refers to the amount of storage volume inside. 

LED Lights

The climate vouchers cover LED lights that have a 2-tick rating and above. Compared to conventional fluorescent lights, LEDs use 25% less electricity to produce the same amount of light and can last 2.5 times longer.

Design: The Local Inn.terior

◘ Pay attention to lumens. These will determine the brightness level. There is no absolute consensus, but you want at least 450 lumens if you’re doing tasks like reading and writing. If you are planning to light up a conventional sized living room in an HDB flat, we recommend going for at least 1200 lumens.

◘ The lower the colour temperature, the warmer the light. These are indicated by the K (Kelvin) unit. It’s best to go with daylight (5000K to 6500K) for task lights intended for focusing, while warm white (2000K to 3000K) are great for general ambient lighting and a cosier mood. Cool White (3500K to 4500K) is a safe choice for most places, but they can make furnishings appear pale.


There aren't many air-conditioners on the market that have a 5-tick rating, which is the requirement to qualify for using climate vouchers. The ones that do have this rating are typically split unit types, with separate indoor and outdoor components. Although split-unit types are more expensive, they look more stylish and are quieter, thanks to the compressor being located outside the house.

Design: Inizio Atelier 

What other factors to look out for when purchasing an air-conditioner:

◘ BTU (British Thermal Unit): This measures the amount of energy your air-conditioner requires to remove heat. To get the ideal BTU you will need, multiply the area of your room (in square feet) by about 50. Not into math? As a general estimation, 9,000 BTU works for bedrooms, while a 12,000 BTU works for a larger master bedroom or a standard HDB 3- to 4-room living room. If you have a large communal space you will need to cool down e.g. open-plan living/dining/kitchen space, consider going for 24,000 BTU.

◘ Some factors that may lead you to consider a higher BTU are if you room gets a lot of afternoon sun and you tend to switch on the air-con in the afternoons, a high number of heat-producing electronics in the room, and a greater number of people using the space at any one time.

◘ Noise levels: We recommend keeping to a noise level of below 20dB if you are using them in the bedroom.

◘ You can also request your air-con installers to use a thermal insulation that is at least 1/2 inch thick around the copper pipes. This will help to minimise condensation.

Bathroom Taps and Kitchen Faucets

Design: Key Concept

Whether you are getting a kitchen faucet, bathroom tap or mixer, make sure they have a 3-tick rating in order to utilise your $300 climate vouchers.

When purchasing kitchen faucets,

◘ Have them properly aligned to the drainage hole of the sink to minimise splashing. So measure, measure, measure!

◘ Opt for ones with interesting features such as a pull-out or pull-down spout, which is useful for reaching the corners of larger sinks.

◘ You can probably get away with a kitchen faucet that isn’t too tall if you have a deep sink. But a faucet with a tall arc is useful for when washing larger pots.

◘ Have an easy-to-use handle on a kitchen faucet, especially when your hands are covered in grease or stickiness. Some faucets even have sensors for a touch-less experience, making it even more convenient.

◘ Be sure to double-check that the new one will actually fit if you are swapping out an old one. Consider the size and number of the existing holes, and if it’s mounted on the countertop, measure the space between the sink and the wall. Make sure that not only the spout fits, but also that the handles can be fully turned.

When purchasing bathroom taps:

◘ Have the spout of your bathroom tap extend as far out as the plug hole.

◘ Determine where your bathroom tap is going to sit. Will it be installed on the sink or on the vanity counter? If it’s the latter, opt for a taller tap to account for the height of the sink.

◘ Set aside at least a one-head distance between the end of your spout to the rim of your sink and go for a taller tap if you wash your face at the sink. 

◘ Go with shorter, smaller taps in guest bathrooms or if you have a compact bathroom.

◘ Take into account your bathroom mirror or top cabinet when measuring the distance needed for your bathroom tap.

◘ Do ensure that the handles are ergonomic and easy to use if you have younger children or older folks using the bathroom. Choose ones with sturdy, straightforward levers.

Shower Fittings

Design: The Alchemists Design

Your shower fittings (mixers + shower head) will also need to have a 3-ticks rating in order to qualify for the climate vouchers.

◘ For a more indulgent shower experience, you can consider going for a rain shower, which typically carries a larger spray head. These are typically not known for not being energy-efficient, but there are ones that come in 3-tick ratings.

◘ Make sure to explore the various spray patterns offered by the shower head to customise your shower experience. Consider gentler settings for a relaxing bath or a more intense option for a spa-like massage.

◘ Check the water pressure in your house to make sure it's compatible with the shower head you want to install. This is especially crucial for rain showers, as they typically need a stronger water pressure to function effectively.

◘ Manual vs thermostatic shower mixers: With a manual mixer, you'll need to adjust the water temperature on your own. A thermostatic mixer on the other hand will automatically adjust the hot and cold water to maintain the perfect temperature that you've set, even if there are changes in the environment or water pressure.

◘ Like with shower heads, you also need to take note of the ideal water pressure needed for the shower mixer to work optimally.

Water Closets

3-tick water closets (WCs) have a higher flushing efficiency, using 3.5 litres of water or less in a full flush.

Design: Livspace

Also known as toilet bowls, WCs can mainly be differentiated between ones that have an exposed water tank and ones that have their water tanks concealed. Here’s a summary of the various types:

Exposed water tank:



The toilet bowl and water tank are two different units, coupled together


The toilet bowl and water tank are a single, seamless unit


These are WCs whose backs are attached directly to the wall

Concealed water tank:



The type of WC is suspended above the floor and will require an additional wall frame to be hung security


This is installed against the wall and floor

◘ One-piece and wall-hung toilets are good for easy cleaning, with wall-hung options being more expensive and requiring extra space. Both are suitable for installation in HDB bathrooms.

◘ Consider trap type, such as S-trap or P-trap. Most HDB drainage outlets are on the floor, making WCs with S-trap more suitable. WCs with P-trap may require extra plumbing and a skilled plumber for installation in an HDB bathroom.

◘ Before purchasing your toilet bowl, make sure you know the distance between the centre of the drainage outlet to the wall so you can buy a toilet bowl that fits.

⪼ Read more: 5 Things To Know When Buying A Toilet Bowl

Washing Machines

Design: Doubble Interior Associates

To redeem climate vouchers, purchase washing machines with 4 ticks that use 6 litres of water or less per kg load.

The key consideration when choosing a washer is whether to go with a top load or front load washer:




Clothes cleaning efficacy 

Uses a pull and twist motion, which may not be as effective as removing stains

Uses a tumbling motion, which is said to be more effective at removing stains

Ease of use

Opening is at waist height level so it is easier to load and unload clothes

Need to bend down to load and unload laundry; not very ergonomic for older folks

Wear on clothing

More wear and tear on clothes

Gentler on fabrics due to tumbling motion 

Time needed

Shorter cycle times, at an average of about 50 mins

Longer cycle times, at an average of about 145 mins

Adding clothes mid-cycle

Most machines can

Some front-load washers come with a hatch that allow you to do so


Less tendency for mildew or mould since the top is unsealed and isn’t surrounded by a rubber gasket

Surrounded by a rubber gasket that creates an airtight seal when shut. Tendency for mildew or mould growth due to humid environment without air circulation. Best to leave the washer door open after every use

◘ If you’re thinking of getting a dryer and are looking to save space in your service yard or laundry room, you may want to get a front-load washer so you can stacked both machines.

◘ Consider your laundry habits when choosing a washing machine size. If you wash smaller loads per week, opt for a smaller capacity. As a rough guide, 1kg of clothes is equivalent to 1 shirt and 1 pair of jeans OR 2 towels and 5 t-shirts.

Direct Current Fans

Direct current (DC) fans consume less power than alternating current (AC) fans. You can only purchase DC fans with the climate vouchers.

Just like with any other appliances, there are different types of fans to choose from. Ceiling fans are a popular option because they save on floor space and are really good at cooling down a room fast. However, they might not be the best choice for everyone since they require installation and can be more costly.

If you are thinking of investing in a ceiling fan, here’s a general guide on the sizes you should get:

Living Room / Larger Bedroom

56 to 60 inches

Bedroom / Small Living Rooms

44 to 56 inches

Balconies / Small Bedroom

Less than 44 inches

For other fan options, there are common types such as standing fans or tower fans. These are more versatile in terms of where you can place them. And if you prefer something more portable, there are models that run on rechargeable batteries and don't need to be plugged in all the time.

◘ Tower fans are usually slimmer and more stylish, and some brands even have blade-less options that are easier to clean. However, standing fans are known for their strong and direct airflow.

◘ Look out for the different fan modes to determine the fan you should buy. Some offer a night mode, which is especially useful if you use fans when you are sleeping at night. Night modes offer a quieter and gentler breeze that is less jarring on the senses.

◘ Other basic features to look out for include the oscillation angle (particularly important if you want to use it in a large room), speed settings, and whether it can be operated via remote control.

Heat Pump Water Heaters

Image: AOS

When you look at the more common electric or gas water heaters versus heat pump water heaters, the difference in energy usage is significant. According to a report, electric or gas heaters typically use around 3,100 watts of power, while heat pump heaters only use about 210 watts.

◘ Heat pump water heaters are a great option for a sunny, tropical country like Singapore because they use a refrigerant to absorb ambient energy and heat up water. These used to be only seen in commercial spaces, but they are increasingly made compact enough so much so that they can now be found in smaller homes, including HDBs! They are typically placed in the service yard.

◘ Although they are more energy-efficient, they are also a bit pricier compared to traditional water heaters. For example, AOS offers a micro heat pump water heater suitable for HDB use starting at S$2,900. But the high upfront cost does translate to savings in the end. The same report noted that a family of four will be able to save around S$600 a year in energy bill.

◘ For smaller households of around 1 to 3 people, go for a smaller capacity e.g. 60-65L. For larger households of around 4 people, opt for at least 80L capacity.

◘ Their water pressure is comparable to that of storage heaters, and they will also work with rain showers.

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