Despite its economic success, Hong Kong is lagging considerably in terms of green architecture and interiors compared with the rest of Asia. Although things are starting to change as individuals, developers and designers fight for the cause, a lot more could be done.
'Buildings, both residential and office, in Hong Kong account for 89 per cent of the electricity consumed, with a lot of energy wasted due to poor insulation, unnecessarily and excessively cold interiors, over-illuminated spaces, wasteful materials, poor use of natural daylight and lack of individual control,' says Rowena Gonzales, creative director of Liquid Interiors.
Interior designers and building owners can implement sustainable practices such as insulating windows, installing ceiling fans and maximising natural ventilation. Energy-efficient lighting and low-flow showers and bathroom taps can also result in a more earth-friendly interior.
In addition to being ethical, green interior design can also be aesthetically pleasing, with natural materials and nature-inspired environments having been proven to have a relaxing effect on the psyche.
Designer Steve Leung recognised this effect. Many of his interiors appear calming, naturalistic yet contemporary and minimalist yet functional. 'To create a naturalistic environment in the home, I would suggest using different natural materials, such as stone, fabrics and wood, that are of a similar tone to create a space that varies in texture,' Leung says. 'Always bear in mind that less is more.'
Indigo Living knows what to do with all this waste. It often has entire furniture collections made from recycled and refurbished materials, some of which have proved to be very popular.
'We practise a philosophy wherein we reduce waste as much as possible,' says Jean-Pierre Brown, Indigo Living's product development manager. 'Some of our furniture is made from waste material that is upcycled into high-performance construction material. We also dedicate entire ranges to explore innovative applications of bamboo, which is the fastest-growing grass in the world and inherently sustainable.'
Ethical and aesthetic green design practices are also starting to catch on in residential developments. Marinella in Aberdeen and BeneVille in Tuen Mun are two new exceptional green-centric developments in the city. While 60 per cent of BeneVille is covered with green space, Marinella boasts rooftop photovoltaic panels and a sky garden that allows sunlight and fresh air to naturally seep through to a clubhouse below.