Improving Hong Kong’s Green Buildings looking forward by John A. Herbert

by John A. Herbert
green building, john herbert is green building expert

In the 2017 Policy Address by CE C.Y. Leung there is just hint that the present loophole that allows non-green buildings to obtain GFA concessions will be tightened.
Page 118 of the address gives a glimpse of raised standards (my emphasis):

Promoting Green Buildings

118. Under the current arrangement, a private housing development project is required, among other things, to register for Building Environmental Assessment Method Plus (BEAM Plus) as a prerequisite for application for gross floor area concession for amenity features. We will review this arrangement to further promote green building. In the review, we will consider tightening the prerequisite by requiring a development project to attain specific standards of performance in environmental protection, or even adopt performance-based and site-specific approaches to determine the maximum gross floor area concession.

Presently, Hong Kong’s Buildings Department only requires a new building to be “assessed” using BEAM PLUS, in order to gain that very valuable GFA concession, equal to 10% of the development area, about 33% of projects seek the concession alone. However, nobody forced the developers to submit comprehensive information, and only submitted information can be reviewed and assessed.

The 2017 policy address hints that in future buildings will need to achieve a “rating” perhaps GOLD rating, in order to qualify for the GFA concession. However, with only 400-500 new building applications per year, the overall potential impact on the building stock is somewhat limited. If the Government and Society are really serious about tackling health, pollution, and climate change then the real challenge we face is tackling and incentivising the upgrading and improvement of the existing building stock.