Hong Kong developers on target for 5 per cent cut in electricity

Five-year plan by big firms to reduce consumption at commercial buildings will help the government reduce the city’s energy intensity level

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 June, 2017, 8:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 June, 2017, 8:00am

Hong Kong’s major developers are expected to cut electricity consumption at their commercial buildings by 5 per cent in the five years leading to 2020, according to a progress report on the city’s efforts to save energy to be unveiled by the environment minister on Tuesday.

The reduction of about 230 million kilowatt-hours is equal to the power consumption of 47,000 homes in one year, or 210 times the annual amount of electricity generated by Siu Ho Wan Solar Farm.

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It is the outcome of a non-binding agreement last year between the government and the private sector on reducing electricity consumption in order to cut energy intensity – the quantity of energy needed to produce one unit of gross domestic product – by 40 per cent by 2025 from 2005.

At least 40 developers joined the scheme, including major ones such as Cheung Kong, New World, Link Reit and MTR Corp.

Undersecretary for Environment Christine Loh Kung-wai said engaging developers at an early stage was important.

“It would take years to pass a law to make it happen,” Loh said. “It is also a way to honour the spirit of the Paris agreement [to make changes through negotiation].

“Developers are now willing to go beyond compliance. Our partnership with the developers will also become a platform for further policy changes and tightening standards.”

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Official records showed that the commercial buildings owned by these developers consumed one-third of the total electricity used by all commercial buildings in town, while the commercial sector accounted for 20 per cent of the total electricity used in Hong Kong.

All buildings in the city accounted for about 90 per cent of the city’s total electricity consumption and over 60 per cent of carbon emissions, the report said.

“Energy saving in buildings must be a long-term, ongoing part of our work to achieve our climate mitigation goals,” the Environment Bureau said in the report.

Hong Kong beat Singapore and European cities for the right to host this year’s World Sustainable Built Environment Conference, which opened on Monday.

About 1,800 international experts, academics, officials and policy leaders from 55 countries are expected to share their latest plans and innovations to combat climate change by improving the built environment.

Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing will introduce the report at the conference on Tuesday.

The government had earmarked at least HK$500 million for implementing energy-saving projects such as tax concessions, loan schemes and funding schemes for private building owners to install green features.

The government is also expected to announce results of pilot projects on improving the green systems in existing government buildings, together with new technical guidelines, by midyear.