Building a green future

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 May, 2012, 12:00am


Green engineering and environmental sustainability are redefining how the construction, manufacturing, energy and practically all industries, and the government, operate.

As more eco-friendly concepts are introduced and applied in every project, operation or product, specialists called environmental engineers are finding themselves the target of zealous head hunters.

The green trend is palpable in Hong Kong, where the government has proposed many targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Jill Kennedy, director for Hong Kong of the global property and infrastructure professional services provider Sweett Group, observes: 'There is increasing concern in Hong Kong over climate change, for us to do something about it. Particularly, you'll see Secretary for Development Carrie Lam has been talking about it recently quite a lot in the press. Obviously, with all the new HK-BEAM requirements coming in, there would certainly be an increase in demand for environmental engineers in Hong Kong.'

Even in the UK and Europe, there has been a firm surge in demand for environmental sustainability services, even during the current economic climate.

'Over the past six years, I've been involved with environmental engineering and construction. It has been a steady growth, with lots of new companies offering services and lots of innovation - I can see that going forward in the next five to 10 years,' says Richard Quartermaine, Sweett Group's associate director on sustainability. 'Also, multinational companies are setting more targets in their corporate social responsibility policies applied worldwide, creating more demand for specialist skills.'

AECOM, a global provider of professional technical and management support services, is heavily involved in green engineering. Several clients have contracted the company to add water-sensitive urban design elements to new projects involving collection, cleaning and reuse of stormwater runoff in urban areas.

'These technologies are established in North America and Australia, and have been considered in Hong Kong housing projects,' says Freeman Cheung, AECOM's regional managing director for environment.

Interest is growing in green building design, with buildings required to be certified to BEAM Plus or other standards. 'This indicates how environmental features other than energy efficiency are being integrated into engineering services,' says Cheung.