The government proposed to implement mandatory Building Energy
Codes (BECs) for new and existing buildings by 2010 to improve
energy efficiency and to combat global warming. The government will
launch 3-month public consultation.
"As voluntary compliance with a higher energy efficiency
standard does not appear to be forthcoming in Hong Kong, we
consider it necessary to pursue mandatory implementation of the
BECs to complement market-driven changes," said Edward Yau,
Secretary for Environment.
Electricity accounts for about half of total energy consumption
at end-use level in the city, while 89 percent of electricity is
consumed by buildings.
The first 10 years of implementation is expected to save
approximately 2.8 billion kilowatt-hour of energy, reducing 1.96
million tons of carbon dioxide emission.
Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) started
operating the voluntary Hong Kong Energy Efficiency Registration
Scheme for Buildings since 1998, but only 187 non-government
New commercial buildings and residential areas and industrial
buildings, as well as existing buildings undergoing major
retro-fitting works will have to comply with the BECs.
Major retro-fitting should involve more than 50 percent of the
gross floor area or replace major components of installations.
Developers, building owners and property management companies
must comply with the regulations and submit self-declaration to
EMSD to demonstrate compliance with energy-efficiency standards.
Energy audits should also be conducted once in 10 years afterwards.
Developers would be issued a certificate of compliance by EMSD.
EMSD would also review and update the BECs once in five
The implementation would cover about 30 new commercial buildings
and 300 new residential buildings constructed annually, EMSD
Lauding the government's efforts, Hahn Chu, environmental
affairs manager of Friends of the Earth said the measures would
help combat global warming effectively.
Gabrielle Ho, project manager of Green Sense, suggested
mandatory implementation of the BECs for existing buildings which
do not undergo major retro-fitting works with grace time till
The government also proposed a voluntary tier-system under which
buildings exceeding the minimum building energy efficiency standard
by a prescribed percentage would be awarded an energy mark.
Chu, however, suggested the government offer tax incentives to
developers and property owners as an added impetus to attain a
Agreeing with the government's suggestions, the Hong Kong
Institute of Architects' board of local affairs chairman Wong
Kam-sing said the government should encourage the developers in way
of mandatory system rather than an optional one.
"Three percent to five percent of the construction cost may have
to be incurred in return for about 10 percent to 15 percent annual
saving in energy bills," Yau said.
Wong said it would be the developers' social responsibility to
bear the cost to conserve the environment and the insignificant
cost would not affect the housing price, which is subject to market
The implementation would improve energy efficiency as well as
raise the image of developers, Environment Bureau said.
(China Daily HK Edition December 29, 2007)