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. Continue reading

BEAM PLUS Neighbourhood v1 by John A. Herbert


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

BEAM award for Mr John A. Herbert – Sept 2015

John A. Herbert John A. Herbert

BEAM 5th year Anniversary Dinner 25 September 2015 by John A. Herbert

BEAM Society Limited (BSL) celebrated its 5th year of incorporation with anniversary dinner on 25 Sept 2015 at the JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong. This celebration belies the real age of BEAM, which commenced in 1996, progressed from a committee, into the BEAM society, becoming incorporated as BEAM Society Limited in 2010, and the #greenbuilding movement has steadily grown every year. Perhaps needless to say, but Kelcroft was a table sponsor! with a fantastic group of green building enthusiasts to help support the evening.

John A Herbert

Our own director Mr John A. Herbert was honoured to receive a BEAM award, in fact our table had three award winners! with both Mr Michael Arnold, Mr Kevin Edmunds collecting honours.

John A Herbert, BEAM, 2015

And of course the group shot to end the festivities:

John A. Herbert

BEAM Plus Interiors – BI Consulting

by John A. Herbert

BEAM Interiors is the local Hong Kong rating tool and certification for your office. 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! And we have the expertise to deliver green office projects.


Our director Mr John A. Herbert helped develop the BEAM Interiors tool and is the instructor for BEAM Interiors training. Renovation and fitout projects can be greener.

BEAM interiors consultant hong kongFitting out and renovation works account for approx. 1000 tpd (tonnes per day) that is about 1/3 of the total waste, and BEAM Interiors rating tool encourages interior designers and contractors to be creative and minimize the tonnage sent to landfill.

Essentially, BEAM Interiors or simply BI, is 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:

  1. Green Building Attributes (GBA)
  2. Management (MAN)
  3. Materials Aspects (MA)
  4. Energy Use (EU)
  5. Water Use (WU)
  6. Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)
  7. 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.

BI Submissions

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:

beam interiors consultant

No more guessing, it clearly lists the exact submission required!

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.

BEAM interiors hong Kong consultant

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

BEAM Interiors Consultant

Kelcroft provides expert advisory services for green offices seeking BEAM Interiors award, including helping though the planning, design, sourcing, construction, and documentation to apply for BI certification. Call Kelcroft’s experts today!

BI Notes for Building Developers and Building Owners 

Although BEAM Interiors is designed for the Tenant area, the host building and its operation has an important role to play too. BI recognises that the Tenant’s 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.


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.

BEAM Consultant Interiors

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.

What Next?

BI is part of the BEAM suite of rating tools but it has some special differences, contact the experts today!

Sustainable Building SB13 Hong Kong

SB13, the regional sustainable building conference started today in Hong Kong. It was held at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Tseng Kwan O, Hong Kong, and was co-organised by CIC and HKGBC.

Considering it seems that everyone in Hong Kong now has an opinion about BEAM, there was a distinct lack of #BEAM in the proceedings.

The Secretary for the Environment Mr KS Wong was in attendance, and spoke about the main #greenbuilding issues and challenges ahead. There was a keynote speech by CIC chairman, that was informative, it implied that CIC has been supporting #greenbuilding in Hong Kong for several years.

Here are some pictures from the first day.SB 13 Hong Kong, Kelcroft, green building, sustainable building

SB 13 Hong Kong, Kelcroft, green building, sustainable building

SB 13 Hong Kong, Kelcroft, green building, sustainable building

SB 13 Hong Kong, Kelcroft, green building, sustainable building

SB 13 Hong Kong, Kelcroft, green building, sustainable building

BEAM Interiors

BEAM Interiors 2008
BEAM Interiors rating tool for green offices Hong Kong

Hong Kong BEAM Interiors is a green building rating tool for offices, similar to LEED CI, its designed to encourage sustainable thinking at the office scale. It comprises 75 best practice criteria, and BEAM users will be familiar with the six categories:

  1. Site Aspects – 15 credits
  2. Material Aspects – 16 credits
  3. Energy Use – 25 credits
  4. Water Use – 8 credits
  5. Indoor Environmental Quality – 31 credits
  6. Innovation

Like the BEAM (formerly HK-BEAM) family of tools, it’s also independently assessed to ensure that the delivered product meets client expectations.

BEAM green building rating tool INTERIORS Kelcroft John Herbert
Credits cover aspects of the office environment under the tenant or owners control within the building. If your office is located in a BEAM certified building (with a valid certificate) with BEAM Interiors five credits are awarded.

Kelcroft’s expertise help building owners reap the benefits of greener buildings, including higher occupancy, higher rents, less absenteeism, coupled with lower use of resources.

Competitive Advantage

Leverage your green office credentials to your clients and customers, buyers surveys show us customers they prefer to buy from firms with environmental credentials and the first place to start is Greening your office.


UPDATE: BEAM Plus Interiors 2013 was launched August 2010.

GFA Concessions by John A. Herbert

GFA Concessions, BEAM, green building, Kelcroft, John Herbert, BEAM consultant

In April 2011 the Hong Kong government’s policy for new developments and buildings changed significantly, it encourages BEAM PLUS certification. Still voluntary, the new regulations identified in APP151 essentially states that BEAM PLUS for New Buildings certification is a prerequisite to earn GFA (Gross Floor Area) concessions for Hong Kong building developments. It also specifies the maximum GFA allowable is capped at no more than 10%.

It’s all detailed in the APP 151 – Building Design to Foster a Quality and Sustainable Built Environment (link PDF) the key talking points:

The developer or owner undertakes to submit to the BD the following documents:

(i) Result of the Provisional Assessment under the BEAM Plus certification conferred / issued by the Hong Kong Green Building Council to be submitted prior to the application for consent to commence the building works shown on the approved plans;

(ii) Information on the estimated energy performance / consumption for the common parts (for domestic developments) or for the entire building (for non-domestic developments) to be submitted in the standard form (Appendix B) prior to the application for consent to commence the building works shown on the approved plans;

(iii) Information specified in item (ii) above to be updated and submitted at the time of submitting application for occupation permit; and

(iv) Result of the Final Assessment under the BEAM Plus certification conferred / issued by the Hong Kong Green Building Council, within 6 months of the date of issuance of the occupation permit by the BA;

Kelcroft has the BEAM know-how and experience to guide building owners through the BEAM certification process, a critical step for a Hong Kong to develop a sustainable built environment.

— John Herbert, Consultant, Kelcroft

Green Building Reference

by John A. Herbert

My list of green building references:

Green Building Checklist

Green Office / Interiors 

International Green Building Rating Systems


Kelcroft in HK Trader Magazine by John A. Herbert

John Herbert interview published in Hong Kong Trader Magazine, Kelcroft

We are proud that Kelcroft’s John A. Herbert was featured in the HK trader magazine, he was interviewed about the future outlook for green and environmental products in the region.