The government should take the lead in introducing carbon audits for its properties while power companies should provide more useful energy consumption data in their bills, a high-powered advisory body says.
These were among 30 recommendations by the Council for Sustainable Development in its final report on energy savings and carbon emission reductions in buildings, released yesterday.
But the report, which followed a four-month consultation launched in August and involved 1,300 stakeholders, was dismissed by a Green group as a backward step.
Greenpeace campaigner Prentice Koo Wai-muk said he was disappointed by the lack of a clear direction and commitment to supporting a progressive tariff structure.
The council made no clear recommendation on amending the electricity tariff structure to promote energy conservation, saying the public was divided on the issue. It just urged the government to further discuss the proposal later this year.
The present structure has been criticised as discouraging energy savings by business users who get a discount for bulk use.
'The matter is very complicated and there are diverse views on it. So there is no consensus so far,' Bernard Chan, chairman of the government-appointed council, said.
Chan said some business users had concerns about justification for the change and whether a progressive structure - under which they paid a higher rate the more power they used - would hurt them.
The council also did not take a stand on whether incandescent light bulbs should be phased out, saying the government was consulting the public on this separately.
'When it comes to energy savings and emission reduction, we can't sit and wait just because not everyone agrees on the same thing. It is clear the council has stepped back rather than forward,' Koo said.
The report recommended the government take the lead in conducting carbon audits and make the results public in one to three years' time to show the private sector that they could save energy and money.
Public bodies like the Housing Authority and subvented organisations like universities and hospitals should follow suit, it said.
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Secretary for the Environment Edward Yau Tang-wah said the government would study the suggestions carefully and respond shortly.