Developers queue for green tests that boost floor area

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 April, 2011, 12:00am


Developers hungry for extra floor area for their projects via government concessions are queuing for environmental assessments of their buildings that are required under a revised policy that took effect yesterday.

Thirty new developments, including some big names, are already registered for a certificate from the Green Building Council.

Apart from government departments, which are expected to take a leading role, Swire Properties, Sino Land, Nan Fung, the MTR Corporation and the English Schools Foundation are on the list.

Under the revised policy - limiting the amount of extra floor area a developer can obtain for adding green and amenity facilities - a green building assessment is required before plans are submitted to the Buildings Department. The assessment results will be published in sales brochures to inform flat buyers of how much energy the design will save.

Among the 23 projects which have completed the registration and were disclosed by the Green Building Council yesterday, three are government projects - the cruise terminal building in Kai Tak, the redevelopment of the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority headquarters, and quarters for the Customs and Excise Department.

Almost half of the disclosed projects are residential. They include the Housing Society's pioneering project in Tsing Yi, which allows people to rent a flat first and buy it later.

Also on the list is the 1,200-flat MTR project at Austin Station, Swire's two 50-storey towers in Seymour Road, Mid Levels; and a renewal project in Tai Kok Tsui codeveloped by Sino Land and the Urban Renewal Authority.

The assessment is also being sought by educational institutes including the English Schools Foundation, which plans to redevelop its King George V and Kowloon Junior schools. Baptist University and the University of Science and Technology are in line for their joint hostel project in Tseung Kwan O.

Only two commercial blocks - in Kwun Tong and Wong Chuk Hang - had registered by yesterday.

The council spokeswoman would not give details of the seven projects still to complete registration.

The assessment, undertaken by assessors trained by the council, looks at various aspects of a development including energy use, site ventilation, indoor air quality, water consumption and waste management.

But developers do not need to pass the assessment in order to obtain extra floor area - they are only required to complete the assessment and disclose the results.

'This should be the first step. It encourages developers to achieve better environmental standards through market competition,' council board director Wong Kam-sing said, adding that a pass or minimum standard may be required later.

In the queue

The number of projects that have completed the registration process for environmental assessment: 23