Green Building Materials in Hong Kong

A Hot Tip about Building Construction in Hong Kong SAR

Posted on: 29 Mar 2010


As there is no clear definition of what green building materials encompasses, the table above shows total trade values for building materials and products that are widely used by green building technologies including switching circuits, energy saving lighting, wood made products, ventilation systems, meters, conductors, steel alloys, cement and other hardware) in Hong Kong.


As a result of growing public awareness during the last few years, Hong Kong had a steady growth in the usage of green building products such as environmentally friendly building materials, energy efficiency lighting systems, energy saving air-conditioning, water recycling systems and other green products despite of the economic downturn. The introduction of new industry standards and technologies added diversity and growth to the local green build market. In addition, the Hong Kong Government and other statutory bodies such as the Urban Renewal Authority have offered different incentives for the energy carbon audit as well as retrofitting of existing buildings. For commercial buildings, developers are finding “green” features economical in the long run and value adding to the existing properties, despite higher initial installation costs.


Best Products/Services

Hong Kong is a significant retrofit market due to the large inventory of existing commercial and residential properties. However, market demand will mostly be driven by commercial property owners and developers. T5 lamps, variable speed pumps, heat recovery systems, service-ondemand features, advanced window glazings, motion sensors and building-integrated photovoltaic panels are becoming popular. Key areas of sustainable building in Hong Kong are: energy efficiency, lighting, indoor air quality, water management, and waste management.


The best opportunities for American suppliers include technology and appliances that save energy, recover heat, improve indoor air quality (i.e. building materials with low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions), recycled building products, renewable energy technology, energy and water efficiency, and management technologies. Services in architectural design, environmental engineering and building efficiency are also excellent prospects.



The Hong Kong Government introduced a Mandatory Building Energy Efficiency Bill in December 2009. The codes cover the energy efficiency of air conditioning, lifts, and escalators, lighting, and electrical installations in communal areas. The government has come up with two programs which provide dollar-to-dollar matching subsidies for building owners to carry out energy efficiency carbon audits and energy efficiency projects. Building owners can apply for these funding schemes up to US$20,000, presenting a unique opportunity for American energy efficiency consultants and green build products manufacturers to enter into the Hong Kong market.


Hong Kong has several voluntary energy efficiency and related certification programs. Certification programs include the Hong Kong Energy Efficiency Registration Scheme for Buildings (HKEERSB), Comprehensive Environmental Performance Assessment Scheme (CEPAS), Energy Efficiency Labeling Scheme (EELS), Hong Kong Green Labeling Scheme (HKGLS) and Building Environmental Assessment Method (BEAM). The Hong Kong Energy Efficiency Registration Scheme for Buildings (HKEERSB) was launched in October 1998 by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department to promote the application of Building Energy Codes of Practice (BEC). Buildings meeting BEC standards receive a certificate along with rights to use the Scheme’s ‘Energy Efficient Building’ logo. By December 2009, 2,563 registration certificates had been issued to 1,086 building venues involving 2,724 installations. The design-and-build government complex project at the Tamar site in Central Hong Kong, which will house the new US$630 million government headquarters, will be one of the government's "greenest" complexes when completed in 2011. Environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient features will include double-layer ventilated facades, green roofs, high energy efficiency sea-water cooled chiller plants, rainwater recycling for irrigation purpose, solar electricity panels, service-on-demand escalators, daylight sensor controls and computerized lighting controls.


Universities in Hong Kong are promoting a “green campus” concept through various measures. For example, the City University of Hong Kong plans to reduce energy consumption by seven percent over a 5-year period using year 2003 as the baseline. Some of the energy saving measures include replacement of illuminated exit signs with LED lamps, increase of room temperatures to 25 ºC, replacement of lighting fittings with T-5 energy efficient fluorescent tubes, installation of heat pumps for hot water supply for shower use, and installation of capacitor banks to power distribution systems to enhance the power factor.


Hong Kong developers are particularly active in bidding for work in major cities in China. For example, Hang Lung Properties invested US$5.1 billion in building commercial properties on the mainland in 2009; Swire Pacific invested over US$2.6 billion in hotels and commercial development; and Wharf Holdings has bid on 17 sites since mid-2005 with a total investment of US$3.8 billion. The proactive investment of Hong Kong developers should open up new opportunities in the mainland for construction companies in Hong Kong. U.S. green building products and services suppliers should take advantage of Hong Kong’s strategic location and its ties with China to penetrate the China market.



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Posted: 29 March 2010

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