SINGAPORE – Singapore’s largest funeral parlour, which is also South-east Asia’s first solar-powered one, began operations on Saturday in Woodlands, as the Republic prepares to meet an anticipated rise in demand for after-death facilities and services.
The nine-storey Woodlands Memorial complex, located in Woodlands Industrial Park, features 14 non-denominational halls of varying sizes that can accommodate groups ranging from 60 people to a maximum of 1,000 when the halls are combined.
The 24-hour facility spanning 10,000 sq m of floor space also has a roof entirely covered with solar panels that will generate 168,000 kilowatt-hours of energy – or the equivalent of enough power for 866 four-room Housing Board households for a year.
Besides three floors dedicated to funeral parlours, and another two to a columbarium, it also features three floors of multi-storey carparks with over 170 parking spaces.
Additionally, an air-conditioned columbarium in a garden is set to be part of the complex in June 2023.
Woodlands Memorial – which won a 2020 National Environment Agency tender – is the first of four funeral parlour complex sites that the agency will roll out over the next decade to cope with the ageing population, and as Singapore prepares for an expected increase in resident deaths in the near future.
Mr Ben How, Woodlands Memorial’s general manager, noted that the number of deaths in Singapore is projected to grow – from 22,000 annually in 2020 to about 40,000 in 2040.
“Much care has been taken in the design of the building to make it conducive for the grieving and to take away the sense of dread many associate with after-death facilities,” said Mr How in a media statement on Saturday.
Woodlands Memorial chief executive Jason Poh said lush greenery was incorporated in the design of the areas outside the wake halls to reduce families’ and visitors’ stress and anxiety.
There are also private family rest rooms and shower facilities in wake halls for families that wish to keep a vigil during a wake, alongside standard provisions such as a pantry with a fridge for cold drinks and hot beverage dispensers.
“We want to provide a fresh perspective on how after-death facilities can look in Singapore and hope Woodlands Memorial can be the benchmark for all future funeral parlours in Singapore,” said Mr Poh.
The other three funeral complexes that have been planned are in Mandai Road, the industrial area in Bukit Batok Street 23, and Ang Mo Kio Street 63 near the SBS Transit bus depot.