Solar panels and windmills among features intended to help offset energy use A district park in Wong Tai Sin will become Hong Kong's first zero-carbon project through an expanded use of solar panels, windmills and enhanced greening. The 230 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year generated by the electricity in the park will be offset through renewable energy installations and carbon sinks. Architects designing the pioneer park said it was the first attempt in the city to set a carbon-neutral target for a development project and believed it would set a trend for future park designs. The project will be the focus of discussion at tomorrow's launching ceremony of the Zero-Carbon Alliance under the Professional Green Building Council, which aims to promote climate-friendly practices among architects. The 10-hectare park in Po Kong Village Road, surrounded by a school village in Wong Tai Sin, will feature two football pitches, a 1,000-seat stadium, a 2km-long cycling track and a BMX bike performance area. The roof of the stadium and a bike rental kiosk will be covered with 1,170 square metres of solar panels, which will power hot water for showers and 544 street lights. Two 20-metre-high windmills will be erected at two locations inside the park identified by computer as having the biggest wind energy potential. It is estimated the aggregate renewable energy could help offset at least 60 per cent of carbon emissions while the rest would be neutralised by retaining 670 trees and planting 1,000 more. The extra capital cost of making the park carbon-neutral is about HK$10 million, or 2.5 per cent of the total HK$400 million budget. However, the design could also help cut reliance on grid power by 60 per cent, cutting consumption from 350,000kW to 100,000kW. Commissioned by the Architectural Services Department, construction will start early next year and be completed by mid-2010. Architect Joel Chan Cho-sing, director of P & T Architects and Engineers, which won the park tender with a zero-carbon approach, believed the design sets a trend for future climate-friendly park designs. 'It is the first time we have taken a carbon-neutral approach to design a park. It might become a future trend for parks.' But he admitted that not all projects, in particular high-rises, could go carbon neutral, as renewable energy or offsetting by greening needed huge areas. 'Basically, offsetting carbon can be implemented everywhere as it is all a matter of extent. Even a small bit still helps to fight climate change,' he said, adding it was possible to make certain parts of a building like a conference room or library carbonneutral. Wong Kam-sing, who is helping to set up the Zero-Carbon Alliance, said carbon-neutrality was an emerging blueprint for new developments around the world. Britain has set a target of making all newly built houses carbon-neutral as early as 2012, while Shanghai's new Dong Tan district also planned to become carbon-neutral. But he admitted it would take a long time to realise fully carbon-neutral designs in all development.