by John A. Herbert
Need to demonstrate your green office credentials to your customers? Want to lower your environmental footprint? Then BEAM Plus Interiors is the green office rating tool designed specifically for Hong Kong!
It can be used as a design guide too, because it is FREE! Download your copy here.
Fitting out and renovation works account for approx. 1000 tpd (tonnes of waste per day) that is about 1/3 of the total, and BI encourages interior designers and contractors to be creative and minimize the tonnage sent to landfill.
BI is essentially a list of construction best practice possibilities for you to incorporate into your green office project. It covers lighting design, energy, waste handling, water efficiency, etc. a vast range of features that impact the environment and our daily living.
The BEAM BI manual is sub-divided into different sections, or seven categories with credits under a common theme they are:
- Green Building Attributes (GBA)
- Management (MAN)
- Materials Aspects (MA)
- Energy Use (EU)
- Water Use (WU)
- Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)
- Innovations (IV)
Built on Consensus
A lot has changed since the first draft, thanks to the community contributions. BI was examined and reviewed by more than 100 Hong Kong building professionals through two workshops, and then followed with an open, a three month long consultation period (April 2013-July 2013). Indeed the process is really a continuous refinement built-in, the BI manual has a page designed to submit your comments.
BEAM Interiors Categories
1. Green Building Attributes (GBA)
GBA offers rewards for choosing to locate your office inside a green building and adopting a longer term lease, the latter reducing churn and construction waste.
2. Management (MAN)
The Management category covers a wide range of issues a typical office project needs to address, including being a good neighbour during construction period, safely and new aspirations such as CSR.
3. Materials Aspects (MA)
As the name suggests MA targets the selection, and delivery of construction materials that will be used in the construction of your green office, it rewards the use of recycled material and local material, the latter avoiding the emissions associated with transport and handling.
4. Energy Use (EU)
Energy use is focused on the air conditioning and particularly the lighting under the tenants control. EU also covers other issues such as air tightness, commissioning which is critical to energy efficient operation, and labelled office appliances.
5. Water Use (WU)
BI encourages and rewards improved water efficiency, and water conservation. WU4 encourages abandoning the use of plastic bottles (and their waste) for drinking water.
6. Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)
We spend many hours per week in our offices, so to remain productive our surroundings are important, BI rewards enhanced indoor air and environmental conditions.
7. Innovations (IV)
No rating tool can describe every possibility therefore an Innovation category provides the opportunity for the design team to create new solutions, and be rewarded.
To substantiate your claims, custom templates, clearer than ever before, are provided in the BI manual Appendix. They identify the type of documents needed to claim points, each one is different. For Materials purchase orders, delivery notes, record photographs are need, for other credits different types of documents are listed. It is so easy to use, here is a sample:
No more guessing, it clearly lists the exact submission required! Yes it is that easy.
Office Report Card
The BI framework is simpler than ever before, there are 100 points available, and there is no complex weighting system. If you score 75 points or above, you could achieve the highest Platinum rating! Score 65 points earns you a Gold, score 55 points earns Silver, and 40 points will earn you Bronze rating, it cant get much simpler than that!
The outcome gives you a report card on the performance of your office that you can compare with your peers, or advertise your environmental credentials to customers.
A key difference, compared to the other BEAM rating tools, is the minimum threshold points for MA category, reflecting the environmental impact of the quantity of waste fitting-out projects generate everyday.
Appeals and CIR’s
The process for an Appeal and CIR is the same as before, no change
Notes for Building Developers and Building Owners
Although BI is designed for the tenant area, the host building and its operation has an important role to play in this sector too. BI recognises that the tenant area does not exist in isolation, and the core services provided, whether it is common area wash-room or waste collection are critical factors in the sustainability puzzle.
RECYCLING – BI provides alternative choices (paths) to achieve points where the wash-rooms have superior water efficiency (refer to WU 2 ANNUAL WATER USE) where points are awarded for the wash room facilities in the host building common area.
Where two different projects on the same floor use the same common area washroom, a frequent practice in Hong Kong, each project is awarded points if the washroom meets the BI criteria.
Also to encourage recycling, and avoid unnecessary duplication of effort, under BI MAp1 and MA1 recycling containers can be located in the common areas, recognising that some host buildings already have collection facilities and contracts, so there is no need to duplicate an existing recycling facility to gain points under BI. As building facilities develop, in the future other provisions by the host building might be considered.
HOST BUILDING WATER QUALITY - It’s critical to wean office workers of plastic bottles (petroleum based) and the associated impacts including the final stage where it is classified as waste. The building operator needs to ensure the water provided is always high quality, and potable.
It is important to emphasise and recognise that BI is a local rating tool designed in Hong Kong for Hong Kong. It tackles the local challenges that other generic tools miss, so its important to tell your customers and colleagues abroad you are using the local tool, which is designed specifically for the Hong Kong office accommodation situation.
BI is part of the BEAM suite of rating tools but it has some special differences, contact us to find out more.