Lead from the front to attain goals

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 December, 2011, 12:00am


One of the first government departments to introduce a comprehensive environmental policy, Hong Kong Housing Authority has cultivated a green culture in its offices, among its building partners and tenants.

A platinum winner of the Green Purchaswi$e Award and the Green Management Award of the Hong Kong Green Awards 2011 for the large corporations category, the authority endorses environmental protection from the top, with the director of housing and deputy directors sitting on the Housing Department environmental, health and safety committee, overseeing the authority's green initiatives.

'Support from leaders is crucial to ensure an effective implementation,' says Rosman Wai Chui-chi, senior manager for environment at the authority.

The organisation has put in place green measures such as switching off lights and suspending lifts during non-peak hours, and turning off air conditioning after 6.30pm.

'Green purchasing isn't just about buying things that are green. It's also about achieving the 3Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle. For example, if we use less energy, we will buy less electricity,' Wai says.

All Housing Authority contractors and most suppliers are required to have obtained ISO 14001 certification. Under the Integrated Pay for Safety, Environmental and Hygiene Scheme, contractors will receive payments on the environmental items only if they have fulfilled their contractual obligations. The Performance Assessment Scoring System, meanwhile, measures the performance of contractors' project delivery.

The Housing Authority also works with local groups to educate its tenants about environmental protection. Past initiatives have included eco-tours, seminars and themed campaigns.

There is a lack of green building materials and technologies in Hong Kong, Wai explains. To help solve the problem, the authority develops such systems as twin water tanks, marine mud for backfilling and green hoardings.