As issues of general environmental awareness become increasingly prominent in Hong Kong, eco-friendly buildings and design also feature in the luxury property sector. For Hysan Development, incorporating environmental solutions into their operations has become part of the integrated management process. 'As a leading property investment, management and development company that strives to be both commercially successful and environmentally responsible, Hysan's management has endeavoured to push the concepts of 'green living', energy efficiency and environmental awareness for some time. 'This belief underlies our aim to create sustainable communities from our commercial and residential properties, ensuring they become exceptional locations for people to work and live, both now and in the future,' says Wendy Yung, Hysan Development's executive director. In keeping with Hysan's philosophy, an extensive renovation project recently carried out at Bamboo Grove, one of company's luxury residential projects, features design concepts aimed at achieving environmental excellence. Eco-friendly features include energy-saving amenities and kitchen appliances, including an oven which requires no pre-heating time. Sophisticated water-saving components have also been fitted in bathrooms, designed to reduce energy consumption and waste. In addition, mirrors maximising reflection of natural light, reducing the need for electric lighting and light sensors that provide convenience to tenants, while providing energy-saving results, have also been fitted as part of the renovation. Yung says that due to an increase in environmental awareness - 'green living' and the need for sustainable measures - what was once a trend has now become part of everyday life. 'This surge in public awareness has led to increased activity on the part of the everyday consumers, and green features are now considered a 'must' for many buildings. 'As a result of this, those searching for an apartment in Hong Kong are more likely to choose one which is environmentally-friendly rather than an apartment that is less environmentally-friendly,' Yung says. She says living in an apartment which incorporates environmental features offers several benefits. These include energy efficiency, convenience and, generally, a healthier living environment. 'Tenants often benefit from lower living costs because of reduced energy consumption and reduced waste. Benefits to the wider community include long-life light bulbs that use less energy and an overall reduction in waste,' she says. 'Before it became a popular trend, our residential tenants were recycling items ranging from plastics to clothing. 'This is encouraging for management when it comes to reducing the consumption of paper products and plastic bags. With this type of motivation our colleagues ensure they share the latest energy and water-saving information, which is always well received by our residential tenants.' Yung says that over the years, Hysan's residential projects have received a number of prestigious green credentials. For instance, Bamboo Grove and Sunning Court luxury residential projects have been awarded the government's 'Class of Excellence' Wastewi$e labels for a number of years. According to Frank McGoldrick, managing director at design and architectural firm Aedas, luxury apartment developers are aware that their investors, tenants, the government and the wider community expect to see sustainable concepts incorporated into new luxury building developments. 'It is important that our profession as a whole promotes a greater awareness of the key issues to address and to proactively promote solutions that can benefit society as a whole. 'Simply put, sustainable design is good design and if it leads to less reliance on, say, energy consuming air-conditioning and artificial lighting, then there are immediate savings in capital outlays and future running costs. That is something that immediately resonates with developers and end-users alike,' McGoldrick says. He says that compared with a few years ago, luxury apartment developers are far more receptive to designs that harness natural solutions. 'Building orientation and shading devices are now considered an integral part of the overall building design to reduce heat from the sun, which lowers energy used for air conditioning. 'Layouts of units are also planned to allow a cross-flow of ventilation to minimise reliance on air conditioning. Meanwhile, the focus on materials is shifting towards renewable sources rather than traditional hardwoods or marble imported from the other side of the planet that were once considered an essential ingredient of luxury living,' McGoldrick says.