CCBF Launches Research "Every Building a Powerhouse" - Tackling Hong Kong's Carbon Intensive Challenge

(HONG KONG, June 15th 2010) The Climate Change Business Forum (CCBF), an initiative of the Business Environment Council (BEC), today launched its latest piece of research, Every Building a Powerhouse. The 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’.

Intended to prompt a longer-term approach to buildings' performance, this research examines 29 energy conservation, generation and storage technologies for their technological and commercial viability in Hong Kong. The analysis suggests that with the proper supportive programmes, carbon emissions from buildings could be reduced by at least 50%. Promising technologies include micro-hydro, which captures the energy of water flowing in pipes, and LED general lighting applications. Technological efficiency is enhanced by the implementation of building energy management systems, which monitor and adjust energy use according to time of day consumption patterns and optimise the integration of renewable energy sources. Buildings are linked into a smart grid allowing two-way data and electricity flow. The research will help building professionals map out the combination of technologies and strategies according to their cost and carbon savings – two important criteria in the future low carbon economy.

The Climate Change Business Forum commissioned this research both to inform building professionals and to help Hong Kong establish its level of ambition in advancing building energy efficiency. Building upon the study’s findings will require comprehensive effort from the building community, the utilities and the Hong Kong government. In April, CCBF’s Patron Chair, the Hon. CY Leung, called for ‘better collaboration between the business sector and government…but first Hong Kong needs a regulatory regime that both requires and motivates better energy efficiency’.

Today’s launch will be led by the Hon. CY Leung, and feature presentations by the research authors, followed by an expert panel, including CCBF representative and Executive Director of Sino Group, Mr. Sunny Yeung, the Hong Kong Government’s Secretary for Development, the Hon. Carrie Lam, Schneider Electric’s Mr. Alex Chan and The Hong Kong Green Building Council’s Mr. Kevin Edmunds. The launch is supported by The Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong and The Hong Kong Green Building Council.

The Hon. CY Leung, CCBF Patron Chair concluded: ‘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’.

Every Building a Powerhouse is available online for free at

About the Authors

Dr. Josie Close - Research Coordinator, School of Energy & Environment, City University of Hong Kong

Dr. Close is Research Co-ordinator at the new School of Energy & Environment, City University of Hong Kong. This role follows 15 years in research at The University of Hong Kong. Her work on building-related energy issues reflects her practical experience as an architect in temperate and tropical climates. Initial research focused on advanced thin-film photovoltaic (PV) systems’ design in Hong Kong, and has broadened to cover building energy efficiency including maximising renewable energy resources and distributed generation applications. In recent years Dr. Close has researched low-carbon futures and the potential for emerging technologies within (HK) Scenarios to 2050.

Dr. CK Chau – Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Dr. Chau has a diversified academic background in quantity surveying, architecture and mechanical engineering. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Building Services Engineering in the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His major research interests are in economic valuation and benchmarking of sustainable built environments. He has also been actively involved in consultancy projects such as Costs and Financial Benefits of Undertaking Green Building Assessments, Consultancy Study on Life Cycle Energy Analysis of Building Construction, Cost effectiveness Study for Noise Barriers.

About Climate Change Business Forum – ‘Pioneering Hong Kong’s transition to a low-carbon economy’
An initiative of the Business Environment Council, Climate Change Business Forum (CCBF) convenes some of Hong Kong’s most astute business leaders to temper the effects of climate change. CCBF commissions research, communicates risks and opportunities, shares best practice and promotes practical actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. CCBF is a membership-supported organization.

The Hong Kong Green Building Council (HKGBC)
HKGBC strives to promote the adoption of green building standards, and sustainable buildings, for a more sustainable Hong Kong. HKGBC engages community, industry and government to create practical solutions for Hong Kong's unique, subtropical built environment. Our Passion for a sustainable built environment is the motivating force to achieve our goals. The wide experience and deep insight of our members is the underlying foundation for real results.