Every Building a Powerhouse - Research Paper

This research tackles Hong Kong’s largest carbon consumer: buildings. Hong Kong’s 40,000 existing buildings use 89% of the territory’s electricity.  The Powerhouse study, developed by City University of Hong Kong’s Dr. Josie Close and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s Dr. CK Chau, explores routes to radically reduce Hong Kong’s carbon footprint while improving energy security and reducing building electricity use.  Retrofits are vital: installing selected existing and emerging low-carbon technologies to deliver power, heating and cooling on site – potentially making Every Building a Powerhouse’. 


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Hong Kong buildings consume a full 89% percent of our electricity generation – more than double the figure for buildings worldwide. Moreover, our existing stock of over 40 million m² means that any strategy adopted must work for densely-packed, high rise retrofits.


With these challenges in mind, the Climate Change Business Forum commissioned this research to determine which technologies could serve the twin purposes of radically reducing carbon emissions and energy demand, while also being cost effective.




The research examined 29 existing and evolving technologies viewed from a Hong Kong perspective.   This report addresses energy conservation, generation and storage strategies, looking at both individual technologies and the programmes to implement them.  A range of conservation and generation technologies are identified for immediate application, while other generation and storage technologies will require further development, or market and government incentives to be commercially viable.


Looking Forward


The authors have rejected the traditional ‘How much will it cost?’ approach, favoring instead a ‘How will we do this’ mindset. They suggest Hong Kong consider setting goals as ambitious as the following:

  • 50% CO2 reduction in current building stock, moving to Zero Emissions in new buildings
  • Integration of renewable and recycled energy equivalent to 20% of total building energy use
  • Adoption - longer-term - of fuel cells technology (chemical process without ghg emissions)

Hong Kong business, government and civil society have a critical opportunity to design a high quality, low carbon future.  Smart retrofits in our buildings will be a key to success in this pursuit. Working collaboratively, Hong Kong’s building professionals, government and other stakeholders can realize the potential of ‘Every Building a Powerhouse’.

Available Downloads


- 'Every Building a Powerhouse' Research Paper - Interactive PDF


- Press Release - Research Launch (15th June 2010)


- SCMP Opinion Editorial - by research author Dr. Josie Close

The Hon. CY Leung, CCBF Patron Chair


‘This launch event will help start to define the conversations between Hong Kong’s businesses, building professionals and government, in shaping our energy efficient future’.