What is Hong Kong BEAM PLUS?

The BEAM (Building Environmental Assessment Method) is the Hong Kong rating tool for green buildings, it is a voluntary private sector initiative conceived in 1996, that has developed into an internationally recognised suite of rating tools for green buildings including New Buildings (NB), Existing Buildings (EB) and Interiors (BI) for shops, offices, retail.

The latest version of BEAM PLUS NB and EB, BEAM PLUS was launched to the public on 1 April 2010, it comprises more than 100 best practice criteria to encourage green and sustainable building in Hong Kong, minor revisions v1.1 and v1.2 have been provided and the next update is slated for publication in 2014.

BEAM PLUS Interiors (BI) was launched 24 August 2012, it is designed for new renovation and fitting out projects, with exactly 100 best practice criteria, to encourage green office fitout and operations.

More than 10 million sqm (2013 data)  has already been certified under BEAM PLUS rating tools including office, commercial buildings, and residential accommodation.  And more than 160 projects have been registered for assessment under BEAM PLUS.

John A. Herbert Hong Kong Green building consultant for BEAM Plus

BEAM is often misquoted as a standard, it’s a rating tool, not a standard, that provides guidance and options for building owners and developers to plan, build and create a green building with a lower environment impacts such using fewer resources such as energy, water and material than a comparable code building. Comparison is the keyword, no commercial building can completely eliminate the need for energy, water or material, however a green building should be planned, design and constructed as exemplary example, with a lower carbon and water footprint than its peers.

Overtime, as building codes become tighter, the criteria set to achieve credit(s) is set higher standard than a code building (frequently called a zero credit case or baseline case).

A green building needs to exceed the baseline by a significant margin to be considered “Green”, and Hong Kong BEAM PLUS uses approx. 289 reference standards and codes of practice to reference and benchmark building performance.

John A. Herbert Hong Kong Green building consultant for BEAM Plus

BEAM PLUS, like its predecessors’ operates on a points system, where the criteria is achieved, points are awarded. The higher the number of points scored, equates to a higher award.

Each BEAM PLUS project is submitted to BEAM and assessed by independent BEAM Assessors, finally resulting in Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum award.

BEAM is Hong Kong’s local rating tool, tailored for Hong Kong – choose it, use it today!


BEAM PLUS Categories

BEAM PLUS rating tool is sub divided into six categories:

  1. Site Aspects
  2. Materials Aspects
  3. Energy Use
  4. Water Use
  5. Indoor Environmental Quality
  6. Innovation

Site Aspects (SA)

This section is primarily concerned with the location of the site, the building position relative to local amenities, and the landscaping.

Materials Aspects (MA)

This section of BEAM considers the materials used in construction, including management of the construction process concerning the environmental impacts:

  • encourage reduced waste and recycling of materials;
  • transportation impacts for importing material;

Energy Use (EU)

This section, as the name implies, encourages and rewards lowering energy consumption of our buildings. Also the correct commissioning of the engineering systems is rewarded.

Water Use (WU)

This section is devoted to lowering water use and effluent discharge from Hong Kong buildings. Recycled greywater and or rainwater harvesting systems that replace significant quantities of potable water are rewarded.

Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)

We live, work and play in buildings therefore the quality of the environment is important. This section of BEAM PLUS is related to the features needed to keep and maintain the quality of the indoor environment. Factors such as noise, lighting quality, and air quality impacts to the occupants are the main features.


Since a rating tool is written document by definition static, Innovation  provides the section for the design team to excel, offering credits for new and innovative sustainable building solutions that are not used in Hong Kong Buildings. Once a new technique is widely adopted in the industry, it no longer qualifies for the innovation credit, becoming the criteria for a new credit.

John A. Herbert BEAM PLUS consultant

LEFT TO RIGHT: Conrad Wong, HKSAR Secretary for Environment Mr KS Wong, John Ng, and John A. Herbert (Kelcroft)

LEFT TO RIGHT: Conrad Wong, HKSAR Secretary for Environment Mr KS Wong, John Ng, and John A. Herbert (Kelcroft)

Missed Opportunities

Too often owners consider BEAM compliance after key decisions are made, and too late for certification. Whilst the BEAM PLUS manual states projects can register at any-time, certification planning needs to occur at conception to be effective.

Planning a green building project is a collaborative effort, it requires all the different teams to be engaged and contribute to the process, from day one, however developers many not commission the various consultants early enough, causing lost credits and disappointing results. It’s important principle of green building that the various stakeholders communicate throughout the entire process.

Green Building Certification

John A. Herbert BEAM Plus consultant

A building with a BEAM PLUS green building label is recognition of a building with a lowering environmental impact than its peers, a brand that allows building owners to market real green credentials to potential tenants and or support their business credentials

What are BEAM Professionals?

BEAM Professionals are individuals who have undertaken the required training, and examination provided by the BEAM society, and successful candidates are awarded the BEAM Professional accreditation. To learn more about obtaining BEAM PLUS certification for your building or BEAM PLUS Interiors for your office, call Kelcroft’s green building professionals today +(852) 2335 9830.