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Greening Hong Kong’s concrete jungle: an outlook from the Hong Kong Green Building Council with Eco Expo Asia

15 ottobre 2020

The World Green Building Council has implemented a global project to work towards 100% net zero carbon buildings by 2050. And the Hong Kong Green Building Council (HKGBC), a supporting organisation of Eco Expo Asia (EEA), is working towards implementing these goals across Hong Kong by using new technologies and by raising the awareness of the necessity for a sustainable, eco-friendly environment and circular economy.

At this year’s online edition of Eco Expo Asia, which will take place as part of Autumn Sourcing Week | ONLINE from 16-27 November 2020, HKGBC will be joining the Eco Asia Conference to co-organise an exclusive webinar to discuss the topic: Advancing Net Zero. Experts from the HKGBC will deliver a series of presentations and panel discussions addressing areas including the ‘Feasibility of High-rise Low- or Zero-Carbon Buildings’, ‘Climatic Design of High-density Cities’ and ‘Hong Kong – A Model City Advancing High-Density Net Zero?’, among others. The entire programme will be accessible online via webinar format on the Autumn Sourcing Week | ONLINE digital platform.

Ahead of their session at the Eco Asia Conference, the organisers of Eco Expo Asia sat down with Ir Dr Cary Chan, JP, Executive Director of HKGBC, to gain some exclusive market insights.

EEA organisers: Can you tell us a bit more about Hong Kong’s goals to reduce carbon levels in the city?

Dr Chan: In response to the Paris Agreement, the HKSAR Government has produced ‘Hong Kong's Climate Action Plan 2030+’ which sets out Hong Kong's carbon emissions reduction target for 2030. More recently, the ‘Public Engagement on Long-Term Decarbonisation Strategy’ aims to set a target for 2050 along with practical pathways and actions to achieve the target that is in line with global decarbonisation efforts to limit global warming to below 2°C.

EEA organisers: How does Hong Kong’s building sector contribute to its carbon levels?

Dr Chan: In Hong Kong, buildings consume 90% of electricity and are a main source of carbon emissions. Therefore, buildings here play an important role in advancing net zero through energy use reduction.

EEA organisers: What are some challenges that need to be overcome, with the help of new technologies, policies and innovations?

Dr Chan: There are several key challenges in a high-density, high-rise context such as Hong Kong. Passive and active design strategies, supplemented with on-site renewable energy, are the most effective strategies to create low or zero carbon buildings. However, the limited feasibility of various renewable energy options remains a significant challenge. Limited roof space and overshadowing for example, means that the amount of energy generated from photovoltaics, is insufficient to meet the energy needs for tall buildings of high density.

While much effort is being made to optimise the energy efficiency of high-rise buildings ― in both design and operation – the decarbonisation of our energy supply and further development of renewable energy options locally, play a significant role in creating low carbon high-rises of the future. Moving forward, other challenges that require greater effort include the retrofitting of the existing building stock to advance towards net zero, landlord-tenant cooperation in achieving the desired energy and carbon performance outcomes of whole buildings, and tackling embodied carbon in building design and construction.

EEA organisers: Could you explain how the HKGBC is working together with the building industry to advance net zero?

Dr Chan: In support of the ‘Advancing Net Zero’ global project by the World Green Building Council, HKGBC commits to help the Hong Kong building and construction industry transit towards net zero in a high-density, high-rise compact city context.

Much effort has been placed on strategies to enhance building energy efficiency such as the tightening of building energy efficiency and performance standards, energy audits and benchmarking, and retro-commissioning of existing buildings to identify operational improvements that can result in significant energy savings.

Green building standards such as BEAM Plus encourage building and construction industry stakeholders to consider energy performance in the design of new buildings and in the retrofitting of existing buildings. Furthermore, decarbonisation of the energy sector and demonstrations of alternative energy supply systems such as district cooling, waste to energy, co-generation and tri-generation and more, all pave the way towards advancing high-density net zero.

EEA organisers: Reducing carbon emissions from the city’s buildings is an incredibly important and interesting topic. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us and we look forward to hearing more during the Eco Asia Conference!

Other topics to be explored at the Eco Asia Conference include a session co-organised by UNESCO Hong Kong Association and Hong Kong Institute of Education for Sustainable Development addressing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as well as sessions about The Latest Development of the HKSAR Government’s Environmental Projects, and the Circular Economy among others. More information about how to access the conference online will be available in due course.

Register for Eco Asia Conference at Autumn Sourcing Week | ONLINE here: 

Eco Expo Asia 2020 will join Autumn Sourcing Week | ONLINE, taking place from 16 – 27 November. The fair is jointly organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd and co-organised by the Environment Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government. For more information, please email or, or visit

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