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[Press release] Hong Kong Green Building Council honours enterprises for eco-contributions

17 Dec 2018

Awards reflect success in saving 1.3 million kWh of power in greener buildings
Recommendations provided for creating positive workplaces following survey

 

(Hong Kong, 17 December 2018) The Hong Kong Green Building Council (HKGBC) today honoured local companies that participated in the “ACT-Shop” and “Health and Wellbeing Study in Offices” programmes for proactively contributing to the green building movement in Hong Kong. The companies were presented with awards in the “HKGBC Towards Low Carbon & Healthy City Award Presentation Ceremony” today.

HKGBC introduced “ACT-Shop” and “Health and Wellbeing Study in Offices” in early 2017 to help Hong Kong’s property owners optimising the energy performance of their buildings and evaluate how office designs affect employees’ physical and emotional health.

HKGBC is a professional organisation and Government partner dedicated to promoting and enhancing the development of sustainable construction in Hong Kong. “ACT-Shop”  was conducted in support of the Government’s Hong Kong Climate Action Plan 2030+ released in 2017, outlining the Government’s longer-term actions for combating climate change and its target of reducing Hong Kong’s carbon intensity by between 65% and 70% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.

Enhancing private building energy efficiency

Mr Harry LAI Hon-hung, Deputy Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) said at the award ceremony: “In early 2018, EMSD helped six government buildings aged 10 - 30 years to carry out the Retro-commissioning, including North Point Government Offices, New Territories South Regional Police Headquarters, Kowloon Tong Education Services Centre, etc. The programme is expected to help all the buildings to save around 5% of total power annually. We are glad to have HKGBC's ACT-Shop programme for local private buildings. Look into the future, we hope more local enterprises will join us to minimise energy use as well as contribute to the target of reducing Hong Kong’s carbon intensity.”

“ACT-Shop”, presented by the Council in conjunction with the Environment Bureau, follows the “4T” principles – target, timeline, transparency and together – for the retro-commissioning of private buildings, and to ‘check the pulses’ to ascertain the health of private buildings.

In the process, Council representatives will analyse the energy-use trail in accordance with a set of guidelines, to identify energy performance and energy efficient means, and adjust systems in order to help buildings save power and reduce energy bills. The Council hopes the energy savings can be invested into staff development, in order to enhance their knowledge on Retro-commissioning by forming courses, so that the Retro-commissioning can be run by their own staff in long term, and ultimately achieve the sustainable development goals.

The Council’s Executive Director, Ir Cary CHAN Wing-hong, said: “As many privately-owned buildings in Hong Kong are ageing, efficiency issues will emerge, such as whether power-guzzling air-conditioning systems will continue to operate at optimal levels as they age, or whether essential systems are consuming energy in the right way. Retro-commissioning of private building is intended to tackle these issues through regular examination of a building’s energy performance to identify areas where energy savings are feasible, as well as to tune a building’s systems and installations to get them to optimal operational efficiency, which will help building owners save operational costs and contribute to minimising energy use.”

“ACT-Shop showed remarkable results by November 2018. We have introduced four batches pilot cases and successfully conducted retro-commissioning for 24 privately-owned buildings. We project to help those buildings save 1.3 million kWh of power. Our participants of the “ACT-Shop” programme are also very positive about the programme. We are excited by the results,” he added.

In light of the enthusiastic response to “ACT-Shop”, the Council will continue to organise a range of training programmes to help organisations enhancing their energy monitoring capabilities and encouraging the community to pay attention to energy efficiency, in line with the Government’s goal of ‘retro-commissioning to save energy and money’.
 

Create green work environments for building healthier workforces

The Council has published its latest report on “Health and Wellbeing Study in Offices” to evaluate the importance and satisfaction level over the factors affecting health and wellness of staff.

The report was based on an online survey and on-site measurement conducted in 2017 and 2018, engaging 180 employees of 11 local enterprises. The respondents provided their views and satisfaction ratings on various aspects of their workplaces. The Council is keen to share three major findings of the report, in order to encourage the companies to build up a greener office and a better health and wellness plan for their staff.

First, the report shows that all respondents (100%) prefer to work in an environment with good lighting, which they think is helpful to their physical and emotional wellbeing and conducive to promoting work efficiency. Second, more than eight out of ten (82%) think a quiet environment is very important as noise and other interference will disturb their focus and affect their work efficiency. Third, more than seven out of ten (73%) believe landscaping is important, and an outdoor environment with trees, lawns and sea views would make them feel more positive and enthusiastic about work and help mitigate any sense of failure.

Dr Benny CHOW Ka-ming, Council Director cum Chairman of the Council’s Industry Standards and Practices Committee, said: “A lot of people have the misconception that the brighter the better it is for an office. It is the opposite. A very bright room will make the eyes feel tired. When a company lays out their office space design, it should look at using blinds and lampshades to moderate bright light from outside or internal lighting. They should also avoid using reflective materials in the office to ensure the entire interior is evenly lit. This can help lessen employees’ visual fatigue and discomfort while making staff feel more comfortable at work.”

“Companies should look at the concept of a balanced workplace, which is strongly advocated overseas, in order to strike a balance between the upside and the downside of having an open or closed office design. The layout of rooms, such as having meeting rooms away from the main office area so employees can have privacy when in meetings or discussions, will encourage communication and develop better team spirit, without disturbing other employees. Site zoning allows employees to select a suitable workstation for different tasks, making them feel less confined. It will also be helpful to promote physical and emotional well-being.  To rearrange workstations is also a good way for the staff to access to outdoor views. It will be even more desirable if employees can share their ideas on the design of a green workplace. The satisfaction rate and morale will surely go up,” Dr Chow said.

As well, the report finds that the respondents believe there is room for improvement in other aspects that affect their wellbeing, including interior temperature, air quality, ventilation, noise level, corporate benefits and support and views to natural design elements, which respondents deem important factors.

The Council recommends that office should have accessible thermostat control to allow staff to adjust temperature more easily, whereas artistic or natural decorations such as paintings, flowers and wood carvings should be placed in the office. Plants can bring about fresher air indoors and ventilation systems should be well maintained with regular servicing and filter cleaning to improve air quality.

Companies should be proactive in employee care and provide annual health checks, workshops or activities to enhance employees’ sense of wellbeing, relieve stress, and acquire skills for managing their emotions and lifestyle. These measures will ultimately help to improve the overall work performance.

The Council will push ahead with its work in line with the Government’s green building and environmental protection plans and strive for sustainable development hand in hand with the community, in the hope of making Hong Kong a smart, green and livable Asian metropolis.

Dr Benny CHOW Ka-ming, Council Director cum Chairman of the Council’s Industry Standards and Practices Committee (Right 1), Mrs Alice CHEUNG, JP, Deputy Director of Environmental Protection Department (Right 2) & The Council’s Executive Director, Ir Cary CHAN Wing-hong, JP,(Left 2) joined the photo moment during the “HKGBC Towards Low Carbon & Healthy City Award Presentation Ceremony”.
The Council’s Executive Director, Ir Cary CHAN Wing-hong, JP, said that “ACT-Shop successfully conducted retro-commissioning for 24 privately-owned buildings and it is expected to help those buildings to save over 1.3 million kWh of power.
Dr Benny CHOW Ka-ming, Council Director cum Chairman of the Council’s Industry Standards and Practices Committee gave advice to the companies on how to create a green and heathy working environment.
Mr Harry LAI Hon-hung, JP, Deputy Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services Department gave a speech on Hong Kong Government’s retro-commissioning during the “HKGBC Towards Low Carbon & Healthy City Award Presentation Ceremony”.
The honoured guests took the group photo with all participants who joined the “ACT-shop” during the “HKGBC Towards Low Carbon & Healthy City Award Presentation Ceremony”.
The honoured guests took the group photo with all participants who joined the “Health and Wellbeing Study in Offices” research during the “HKGBC Towards Low Carbon & Healthy City Award Presentation Ceremony”.
   

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About the Hong Kong Green Building Council (HKGBC)

The Hong Kong Green Building Council Limited (HKGBC) is a non-profit, member led organisation established in 2009 with the vision to help save the planet and improve the wellbeing of the people of Hong Kong by transforming the city into a greener built environment. The Founding Members of the HKGBC include the Construction Industry Council (CIC), the Business Environment Council (BEC), the BEAM Society Limited (BSL) and the Professional Green Building Council (PGBC). Its mission is to lead market transformation by advocating green policies to the Government; introducing green building practices to all stakeholders; setting design, construction and management standards for the building profession; and promoting green living to the people of Hong Kong.

To learn more about the HKGBC, please visit www.hkgbc.org.hk.
 

Media Enquiry

Ivan Wong
isentia
Contact Number: 852) 3987 8132/ 9361 8771
Email: ivan.wong@isentia.com

 

Paul Sat
Hong Kong Green Building Council
Contact Number: (852) 3994 8821
Email: paul.sat@hkgbc.org.hk

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