The sustainable revolution has been growing at a rapid rate in Asia, following the global trend of sustainable building doubling every three years. Hong Kong is one of the major cities in the region that has seen accelerated growth in green and sustainable building over the last decade.
In an expansive move to promote the health and lifestyle benefits of green designs (and to actively grow the sustainable building market), the city’s green building council has initiated the release of a new tool to encourage eco-friendly construction to filter its way into all spheres of Hong Kong life.
The council states that it wanted to address discrepancies in current certifications being almost exclusively applicable to industrial-scale buildings and only addressing the energy efficiency concerns of environmentally sustainable design – and not the socio-economic benefits of pushing sustainable design into the broader urban spectrum.
Thus, the initiation of the development of this rating tool is aligned with promoting sustainable development on an urban scale in Hong Kong.
How Does Current BEAM Plus Certification Drive Greener Optimization?
According to the World Green Building Council, there are currently 540 registered BEAM Plus projects in Hong Kong, and a further 140 projects undergoing assessment for certification. In addition to this, the number of BEAM Plus professionals – currently at 2,323 – is growing as the rating system solidifies its place as the sustainable benchmark in Hong Kong.
When looking at the business case for green building in Hong Kong, government incentive and investment impetus into the industry are aligned with a sustainable design policy that BEAM Plus ensures for projects – both new and retrofit – wishing to fit into the city’s sustainable design and construction profile.
In fact, Hong Kong has one of the largest government-funded energy-saving schemes [p.41] in the world at US$450million. With this kind of investment incentive, sustainable policies in Hong Kong are clearly incentivizing building companies to incorporate BEAM Plus into their projects, aligned with a sustainable design focus, and in this way driving the growth of the industry in Hong Kong.
How Will the BEAM Plus Neighbourhood Rating Tool Influence Growth?
The neighborhood rating tool will be implemented as a means of encouraging developers to understand the broader scope of their building’s effect on the surrounding environment – and not just the micro-environment of their building as its own entity. The tool will be used as a means of assessment to get developers thinking along the lines of how their building fits into and contributes toward the neighborhood ecosystem.
It will take into account more than 50 design and project planning considerations not currently being used in any commercial scale certification. For example, things like the quality of the building’s outdoor environment and green space, traffic considerations as well as contributions to public recreational space will be taken into account and assessed.
This is likely to positively influence the growth of the green building industry in that it gives access to many more people and companies to become involved in environmentally sustainable design and construction, more green design products and elements to be developed and put to market and ultimately, a greener, healthier living environment for all.