Green features in new buildings are not environmentally friendly, a top architect said. Vincent Ng Wing-shun, a vice-president of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, said such features increased the density of a residential site.
'Because it increases the bulk of every project, the buildings are bigger, which in turn increases the city's density. When the plot ratio of a site is set at 10, the buildings can in fact be 11 or 12' because of the green features, he said.
'It is a dilemma. What the government should do is lower the overall development density first, so even with the extra gross floor area, the building will not be too bulky.'
Ng Cho-nam, of the Conservancy Association, said not all buildings needed to have balconies. 'Balconies are only useful to serve as a noise barrier. Some other features, such as bigger lift lobbies, are not environmentally friendly at all.'
Vincent Ng said developers would not build these features if they were not exempted from gross floor area calculations.
'Developers are pragmatic and they emphasise investment return. They upgrade the buildings with green features and increase their profit margin,' he said. 'If they can't get extra land, they're not going to build any green features.'