Flat owners show way to save energy
A competition among flat owners in private housing estates has produced big savings in power consumption - and rewarded some flat owners with a two-year freeze on building management fees.
The competition, organised among private property management firms by green group Friends of the Earth, showed that small energy saving initiatives could slash power use and save hundreds of thousands of dollars on power bills.
Property management firms had to achieve a saving of at least 3 per cent on their energy use in public space areas between June and August, compared with the same period in 2006.
The results showed the huge potential for energy saving in private buildings, which Friends of the Earth says account for 60 per cent of the city's electricity consumption.
The top six winning properties saved more than 613,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity, with individuals successfully cutting energy use by between eight and 49 per cent.
Of the six winners Friends of the Earth highlighted two estates to show what could be achieved.
Residents of Skyline Plaza, a 22-year-old estate in Tsuen Wan, took second prize by cutting 170,000kWh of electricity consumption - 23 per cent of their normal power bill. The 200 owners implemented simple measures such as removing unnecessary lighting or limiting operating hours of electrical appliances, and installing fluorescent light bulbs. The measures saved HK$165,000 in electricity payments, which the building's management firm, Hang Yick, has agreed to use to beautify and maintain the estate and provide a buffer against future possible management fee rises.
Across the harbour in Sai Wan Ho, the Grand Promenade showed power savings could be made without reducing the image of an upmarket estate.
The estate won third prize in the contest, reducing power consumption by 147,000kWh, or 8.39 per cent, in the public areas, through measures such as replacing 1,000 energy inefficient light bulbs and management practices that aligned lighting needs with real demand.
A special feature to the property was its cooling system that could supply chilled air to different sectors in its 130,000 sq ft clubhouse in a flexible manner.
Although the HK$185,000 savings might mean little to the affluent owners, Suen Kwok-lam, executive director of Henderson Land Development, the parent company of the estate's management firm Well Born, said their efforts proved going green could be achieved in a luxury property without negative impact.
'We just can't do things that lower the quality of lives to that of the home ownership flats,' he said.
Friends of the Earth environmental affairs manager Hahn Chu Hon-keung said the government should consider setting targets for energy efficiency.