your life in the hands of the building owner by John A. Herbert

fire safety, fire survey, Hong Kong buildings

Considering Hong Kong’s maze of skyscrapers you might be surprised to learn that the Hong Kong fire department does not routinely check your building. After opening building fire safety, and your life, rests with the building owner. Once a year the building owner must engage a Registered Fire Services Contractor to check the fire fighting equipment, that is the theory.

scmp photo

Credit: SCMP

However, when fire engulfed the Kai Ming Building in Wan Chai in April last year [1] it was initially reported by the media that firefighting equipment was unstable causing delay tackling the fire. The investigation report from fire services department revealed the building fire certificate expired a month before the fire, and firefighting equipment was actually switched off [2]. If the fire started on a higher floor, the consequences are unimaginable.

The SCMP article Is Hong Kong ‘fiddling while Rome burns’ on fire safety published in February 2017, includes an interview with our director John A. Herbert about the Hong Kong regulatory system for building fire safety. It is strict, by any standard, but the fire department never re-checks afterwards. Although the mini storage unit blaze at Ngau Tau Kok [3] forced a rethink, and hundreds of premises were checked, it was limited to mini storage units only.

Sadly, that is just the tip of the iceberg, the fire regulations allow residential buildings without any sprinklers, we have designer offices, and other public spaces, that avoid scrutiny. So in a fire, your life rests in the hands of the building owner.

About the Author

John A. Herbert is a veteran Building Services engineer, with more than 30 years experience, he was educated in the United Kingdom and has been working across Asia for more than two decades advising international and local companies. He is a Hong Kong Registered Energy Assessor (REA), and a BEAM Professional.

 

references:

  1. http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/education-community/article/1937080/search-under-way-cause-third-alarm-fire-hong-kong
  2.  http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/201605/04/P201605040615.htm 4 May 2016
  3. http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-crime/article/2064718/fire-safety-authorities-plan-tougher-regulations-storage

No excuse to delay energy upgrades on HK Island by John A. Herbert

Funding Energy Upgrades

John Herbert - Green Building Seminar 2011
Cost is always the key issue for energy upgrading projects right? Yet dollar matched funding, upto HKD 200,000 is available for residential projects on Hong Kong Island. For example, for Incorporated Owners (IO) where the total cost of your energy saving project is for example HKD150,000, HKD 75,000 is refunded!

Kelcroft is a Qualified Service Provider (QSP) with practical expert advice to lower your costs, and energy consumption, call the experts today!

For commerical buildings you might be interested to view our Hong Kong Building Energy Consumption Mapping Project (beta) web page.

About the Author

John A. Herbert is a veteran energy expert with more than 30 years construction experience, educated in the United Kingdom he has been working across Asia for two decades for international and local companies. He is a Hong Kong Registered Energy Assessor (REA), and BEAM Professional.

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” under 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.

The 2017 policy address hints that in future buildings will need to achieve a “rating” perhaps GOLD rating? in order to apply for the GFA concession. However, with approx. 400-500 new buildings per year, the overall potential impact 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.

 

Smart Building Label

What is a smart building label? It is an independent certificate to demonstrate your building is a really smart building. The public is tired of self declarations, particularly in the green space, there is even a term for it “greenwashing”, it is too easy for a building owner to simply declare my building is “green” or my building is smart building, without it undergoing any independent assessment.

#smartbuilding

Leaking Ducts by John A. Herbert

leaking air ducts, air conditioning, waste energy

Air Conditioning is expensive and it is the highest portion of your energy, so after buying the central chiller plant, and the cost of energy to provide chilled water to air conditioning units, your precious and expensive conditioned air leaks out, through poor maintenance, wasting energy, and also causing condensation. It is the same as throwing the hundred dollar bills of the roof every day. In energy auditing, as in life, details matter.

Every fire damper in Hong Kong must be inspected annually, in air conditioned ductwork after a few years the access panel (shown in the photo above) is no longer air tight, allowing leakage of expensive cold air, and energy losses. Alone, each energy loss is not significant, across the Hong Kong millions are lost every year.

About the Author

John A. Herbert is a veteran engineer with more than 30 years construction experience, educated in the United Kingdom he has been working across Asia for the last two decades engaged by international and local companies. He is a Hong Kong Registered Energy Assessor (REA), and BEAM Professional.

BEAM PLUS Neighbourhood v1 by John A. Herbert

BEAM PLUS NEIGHBOURHOOD

Neighbourhood v1 is the new member of the BEAM suite of rating tools, this tool unlike it predecessors, which examines the final project, Neighbourhood is specifically designed to assess and rate the master planning stage. If the master plan changes another assessment is required.

If you are familiar with BEAM family and NB, you will recognise framework and credits structure, indeed twenty of the credits listed in the following table are similar to (almost copied from) BEAM NB v1.2 credits

About the Author

John A. Herbert is a veteran professional with more than 30 years solid construction experience, educated in the United Kingdom he has been working across Asia for the last two decades, serving international, and local companies. And involved with the development of Hong Kong Green Building for a decade. He is a Hong Kong Registered Energy Assessor (REA), and a BEAM Professional.

BEAM Neighbourhood BEAM Pro

Green but not the colour for cooling towers by John A. Herbert

The world is catching on, the Green Building concept, where Green equates with Good, but not for cooling towers. Cooling towers need to be audited every year in Hong Kong, here is an example of a very poor Hong Kong cooling tower, with algae covering the entire floor of the cooling tower cell1 and cell2 … Legionella risk: severe

Kelcroft conducts the annual EMSD cooling tower audits in accordance with EMSD code for annual audit requirements, call the experts today.

About the Author

John A. Herbert is a veteran professional with more than 30 years solid construction experience, educated in the United Kingdom he has been working across Asia for the last two decades, serving international, and local companies. And involved with the development of Hong Kong Green Building for more than a decade. He is a Hong Kong Registered Energy Assessor (REA), and a BEAM Professional.

Condition Survey, Air conditioning Issues…

by John A. Herbert

chiller motor oil leak Hong Kong

There is a saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, the photo illustrates how to ignore that, we have a 900 Kw 3 phase electric motor, an oil leak, and newspaper stuffed underneath catching dripping oil, that should send alarm bells ringing in every office across the land. Perhaps we need a fire triangle refresher course?

On the topic of condition surveys, I am often asked does the Kelcroft energy audit include condition survey? Yes, is always the answer, it is not an optional extra ASHRAE and other energy auditing standards call for it, an energy audit requires examination of the condition of the plant and equipment as part of the energy assessment to understand its efficiency, in tropical Hong Kong, that will include the central air conditioning plant, including the chillers, the automatic controls, differential bypass valves, variable speed drives, chilled water and condenser water pumps, cooling towers and the like.

In the energy audit report, it will identify any defects, or deferred maintenance issues discovered.

So back the high risk oil leak, literally one stray spark from disaster, the building owner does not know, the building management seem equally oblivious and never reported it, yet we know an ounce of prevention is far far cheaper than the cure.

About the Author

John A. Herbert is a veteran professional with more than 30 years solid construction experience, educated in the United Kingdom he has been working across Asia for the last two decades, serving international, and local companies. And involved with the development of Hong Kong Green Building for more than a decade. He is a Hong Kong Registered Energy Assessor (REA), and a BEAM Professional.

Hong Kong outperformed Shanghai and Beijing in green building performance by John A. Herbert

Hong Kong was the highest ranked Chinese city for green building beating out Beijing and Shanghai in study by Solidance funded by Singapore Government.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong was ranked 6th, the leading Chinese city, ahead of Beijing and Shanghai, a vindication of Hong Kong’s own independent BEAM green rating rating tool.

BEAM has operating for twenty years, since the first rating tool was issued in 1996, and today, behind the scenes, countless volunteers give up their free time to support Hong Kong community, with little credit and no reward Herbert said. John A. Herbert is a recognised green building expert, a BEAM Professional, and chairman of BEAM Technical Review Panel.

About the Author

John A. Herbert is a veteran professional with more than 30 years solid construction experience, educated in the United Kingdom he has been working across Asia for the last two decades, serving international, and local companies. And involved with the development of Hong Kong Green Building for a decade. He is a Hong Kong Registered Energy Assessor (REA), and a BEAM Professional.

#greenbuilding #hongkong #BEAMPLUS

How to avoid mould in air conditioned buildings

moisture mould problems air conditioned buildings

In air conditioned buildings, the exterior vapour pressure will be higher than the vapour pressure in the air conditioned room, therefore the vapour and moisture flow is high to low (blue line in the diagram above)

Now normally this is not an issue, because a decent ventilation system will transport moisture back to the air conditioning cooling coil, it is condensed, and safely drained away.

However, problems occur when a vapour retarder is installed (red line in above diagram) interrupting the flow. Moisture becomes trapped, and even the best ventilation system cannot transport it to the cooling coil. Instead what happens, damp, moisture, and then mould growth occurs (left of red line in diagram above).

wall-mould-800w-2

And we already know the problems associated with mould, it causes poor indoor air quality, and health issues for the occupants. If the air conditioning room also happens to be under negative (relatively) pressure, as often occurs in hotel rooms, the situation is compounded because the vapour quantity is increased, accelerating the process.

This phenomenon is not limited to Hong Kong, it occurs in hot tropical climates, whether you are in Singapore, Indonesia, Shanghai, or Hong Kong.

mould hong kong

Furthermore, it’s the type of problem that’s not immediately apparent, mould doesn’t just appear overnight, and it is unlikely to surface within the defects liability period (DLP).

thermal-scan-101

So it is obvious, lining the external wall of an air conditioned space with any vapour retarder must be avoided at all costs. But sadly it still happens today, increasing maintenance and costs for building owners and operators.

About Kelcroft

Kelcroft based in Hong Kong provides specialist advice, including energy, built environment, and green building consulting services, advising owners and design teams, to lower the cost of building operations.

tags

#mould #mold #hongkong #buildings #hotels #maintenance