Renewals must follow green code, URA says

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 May, 2009, 12:00am

Developers participating in renewal projects will be required to reduce carbon emissions by using environmentally friendly designs and measures that save energy, the Urban Renewal Authority said yesterday.

The authority was willing to bear the additional construction cost to set an example for developers to follow, the authority's chairman, Barry Cheung Chun-yuen, said. He said he expected developers would offer lower tender prices because of the authority's green policy.

The policy, comprising six principles, asks developers to save energy and water, use environmentally friendly building materials, increase green areas, add facilities for collecting recyclable waste, and reduce construction waste and environmental nuisance.

The principles will be translated into specific measures, depending on the site's constraints, and written as tender conditions to ensure they will be adopted by developers.

The authority estimates the measures will add only 2 per cent to 3 per cent to construction costs.

'We will pay for the extra cost at the initial stage as developers might adjust their tender price for the increase in construction cost,' Mr Cheung said.

The authority has adopted green initiatives in the past, but by turning the initiatives into an official policy with stricter standards it hopes to become a pioneer in the adoption of new, green technologies.

The green policy will come into effect for the next renewal project - Lee Tung Street, also known as Wedding Card Street, in Wan Chai.

The developer winning the tender will be required to use e-glass as a structural fabric, reflecting half the solar radiation hitting the building and reducing the need for air conditioning. Street lamps in open spaces will be equipped with small wind turbines and solar panels to provide renewable energy. Grey water will be treated and used for toilet flushing, irrigation and cleansing.

'The measures will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 23 per cent, which is an equivalent to planting 170,000 trees,' Mr Cheung said, adding the authority would do more in the upcoming Kwun Tong project.

Henderson Sunlight Assets Management chairman Tony Tse Wai-chuen, who was formerly in charge of Henderson Land Development's sales department, said green buildings were a market trend.

'A few per cent rise in construction costs is not significant, and it will be offset by savings in electricity tariffs,' he said.

'The properties will also benefit from a greener environment.'

A spokeswoman for the developer said it would respond to the authority's call for greener redevelopment if requirements were clearly set out in tender documents.

Future focus

Green measures to be adopted in future renewal projects

Use of structural fabrics with a high thermal performance, such as e-glass to reflect sunlight and cut use of air conditioning and heat-island effect

Use of renewable-energy lighting, such as hybrid street lamps

Use of solar hot water systems to reduce carbon emissions

Use of energy-saving light fittings in common areas, such as light-emitting diode fixtures

Use of energy-saving air conditioning

Recycling of water for toilet flushing, cleaning and irrigation

Source: URA