Hong Kong failing behind Emirate green building standards


The construction rules in Dubai UAE have changed commencing 1 April 2015, now they mandate Green cement for ALL construction projects, failing to comply means facing tough punishment, the emirate news website (1) reports:

“Besides depriving them from construction permission, violating companies will be fined,” said Ahmed Al Badwawi, studies director at the municipality.


Clearly the goal is to reduce Carbon emissions for all new building work in the Emirate, but it leaves Hong Kong behind in terms of mandatory green requirements.

(1) http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/dubai-buildings-to-have-friendly-green-cement-2015-03-30-1.585794

MIECF 2015 Macau

Kelcroft attended MIECF 2015 in Macau, the leading green building event in the region. Kelcroft’s John Herbert said “MIECF is the perfect opportunity for leaders of the green building sector to meet and attend this international conference”.








You Are Paying Too Much…

The shoes you wear, office management fees, your photocopier, the equipment you order, you are probably paying too much, and it’s not because of you are a lazy shopper, it is because the overwhelming majority of businesses are energy inefficient. That shopping centre you visit for the weekly shop, the factory making your computer equipment they all waste far too much energy, you know they don’t run at loss, they simply pass that extra cost burden onto you.

Here in Hong Kong, buildings contribute more than 63% of the city’s carbon footprint, yet we have air conditioning systems, ventilation system, and escalators operating when there is nobody around. We also have oversized electrical motors running at full speed, when half speed is suffice. We have lighting used 24 hr, when daylight is available, and many more lost chances that can be listed here.

As a Registered Energy Assessor (REA) I know there are countless opportunities to lower operating costs, but you chose the companies you do business with, have they conducted an energy audit?

Should you care because you are paying too much.

BEAM Plus Interiors – Tips – MA 2



The intent of this credit shall be to encourage and reward owners who reuse the existing internal walls, doors, and glazing. However, read on, walls forming the project boundary (host building wall, building envelope, and party walls) are excluded from assessment.



The project boundary walls (BLACK) for the project envelope.

SB14 Barcelona

by John A. Herbert
Kelcroft at SB14, green building consultant

The global green building event SB14 will be held in Barcelona, Spain in October this year, and a large delegation from Hong Kong including HKGBC, BEAM Society, and Kelcroft’s director, and green building guru John A. Herbert will attend. To learn more about the event visit the conference website directly: www.wsb14barcelona.org


Legionella cases under reported

by John A Herbert

legionella under reported hong kong

In Hong Kong a case of Legionnaires’ disease (LD) affected a man aged 62. The government reported (1) that the patient, with underlying illnesses, presented with fever, headache, cough with sputum and shortness of breath 7 July 2014 and was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital on 8 July  for management. His clinical diagnosis was pneumonia and he was discharged on 15 July in stable condition.

24 July 2014

Nine (9) days after the patient was discharged, the positive for Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 antibody was reported (according the government on 24 July 2014) and ONLY then can the Legionnaires’ disease (LD) investigation commence. This case adds to the evidence that Legionnaires’ disease is often mis-diagnosed as pneumonia.

Risk Management

Legionella is a potentially fatal disease and building owners need to be vigilant.


  1. http://www.news.gov.hk/en/categories/health/html/2014/07/20140724_182119.shtml
  2. http://www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/35733.html

Tree Hugging 2.0

by John A. Herbert
Looking back over the last decade undoubtedly progress has been achieved, it cannot be denied, the relentless work of the few has moved the masses, that in turn increased corporations environmental awareness or has it?

In the USA, Unilever removed water from their detergent, the concentrate requires less volume, less packing, costs less to produce, and ship. In the UK, Marks and Spencer created Plan A with the goal to source responsibly. In China it was announced that all government vehicles, including the City and Province administration, shall use alternative fuel by 2016, and many others have joined the clan. But some businesses never made it, indeed we might need an endangers species list for businesses, and I’d put travel agents high on that list to follow the Dodo. Businesses that once relied upon scarcity of information, like booking an oversea hotel, have been overtaken in the internet age, it is easy to book your entire trip with only your phone. I am sure you can think of a few business models that will soon be defunct due to the internet, equally businesses that operate unsustainably the writing is on the wall too.

And amidst the usual corporate alphabet soup CSR seems to be lost cause, surpassed by the appearance of ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) which is defined by the Financial Times as a generic term used in capital markets and used by investors to evaluate corporate behaviour and to determine the future financial performance of companies.

However, EMSD data reports the total annual energy consumption trend in Hong Kong continues to rise, which is disturbing and I find contradicts the great progress reported.

Unsurprisingly, listed corporations are hiring, but not energy managers as you might think, but ESG managers. Real sustainability demands action on energy period, there is no shortcut, without energy ESG managers are superfluous if there is no business to evaluate.

Firms to watch are those businesses that have already saved millions of dollars reducing costs and risk through sound energy planning.


BEAM Procedure Update – May 2014

by John A. Herbert

A significant change to the BEAM Assessment system was published by HKGBC on 25 April 2014.
BEAM consultant

In section two clause which first states the assessment procedure is a two step Provisional Assessment (PA) and Final Assessment, a new clause has been inserted:

If an Applicant wishes to omit the Provisional Assessment, it is permitted provided there is reasonable justification.

How this will operate is beyond my pay grade. As usual, no information is provided, so we are all left in the dark for now.

A Developer may have or divine a number of reasons, but the key question is who has any authority to refute or question the justification furnished by the Developer who has all the information? It raises more questions than it answers.


Assessment Cost Savings

By now you are probably thinking that bypassing the PA stage will be beneficial because it will save costs, resulting from a lower Assessment fee, but you would be wrong about that, as the next sentence elucidates:

In such case, there shall be no reduction in registration and assessment fees due to such omission.

Yet again how this will work in practice, its difficult to predict. Where a Developer skips the PA stage, there are no rules, forms or advice, BSL may only find out the when the FA arrives for Assessment.

Considering the time and expense to engage advisers to help prepare the necessary documentation for PA stage submission it is likely that Developer’s will opt to skip PA stage entirely.

This new procedure will have no impact on BEAM Interiors (BI) project because BI is a single-stage Assessment process. However, BI was designed from day one to be a single stage process, whereas BEAM EB and NB where not.