Building Energy Efficiency Forum Gathers Investors, Developers, Landlords & Occupants to Contribute to Sustainable Roadmap

(30 September 2008, Hong Kong) Business Environment Council (BEC) today staged the Building Energy Efficiency Forum to provide the latest overview of energy efficiency, best practices and available programs for both existing and new buildings. Distinguished speakers included Ms Maria Pereira, City Director - Hong Kong of Clinton Climate Initiative, Mr Ronald Chin, Chairman of Hong Kong Association of Energy Engineers, Mr Robert Allender, Managing Director of Energy Resources Management, Mr Danton Lee, Director of Gammon Construction, Mr Sunny Yeung, Executive Director of Sino Group & Head of Sino Property Services and Dr Paul Bannister, Managing Director of Exergy Australia.

"It is the time now to shine the spotlight on building energy efficiencies, which is the low hanging fruits that we can readily harvest," said Dr Andrew Thomson, Chief Executive Officer of Business Environment Council. "There are strong economic, social and environmental reasons that command building energy efficiency and green entrepreneurship from investors, developers, landlords and occupants – which lead to massive cost savings, enhancement of staff well beings, productivity, operational performance, competitiveness as well as brand value and market position."

According to World Business Council for Sustainable Development, buildings today represent 40% of the world’s energy demand, 33% in commercial buildings and 67% in residential ones. Globally, carbon emissions could be reduced by 715 million tons by 2010 through simply improving the energy efficiency in buildings and appliances. This would be equivalent to 27% of the projected increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to that date.

Shui On Land, the Presenting Sponsor of the Forum, has been striving to sensitively manage and balance the natural and built environments. "In the 21st century, building design, construction and management are taking place under conditions of global challenges, notably in regards to energy supply, climate change and global warming. More than half of the energy in Hong Kong is consumed by buildings, in the Chinese Mainland it is over 60%. Improvement in building energy efficiency is of paramount importance in response to these challenges," said Mr Vincent Lo, Chairman of Shui On Land.

Besides the private sector, Mr Alfred Sit, Assistant Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD), HKSAR Government said, "Energy efficiency of building services installations in buildings is an essential element that cannot be overlooked in sustainable real estate development. To meet the goal for sustainability, mandatory implementation of the Building Energy Codes issued by the EMSD is an effective tool providing strong driving force to achieve the required energy efficiency standards of buildings."

"Increasing climate awareness and higher energy costs directly contributes to increased interest in building energy efficiency. HK is already in the early adoption stage of this process. Government policy is key to advancing building retrofits. Mandatory building standards are being drafted. Carbon auditing guidelines have been set. Financial incentives can provide further impetus," Ms Maria J Pereira, City Director – Hong Kong of Clinton Climate Initiative, WJ Clinton Foundation commented on Hong Kong's situation.

Mr Kevin Edmunds, Chief Operating Officer of Business Environment Council and Vice Chairman of BEAM (Building Environmental Assessment Method) Society said, "The BEAM Society is set to initiate the training and registration of qualified professionals in parallel to undertaking a review of its assessment standards. The review will also seek to embrace important Hong Kong initiatives including Government’s research into a Comprehensive Environmental Performance Assessment Scheme (CEPAS), improved Urban Air Ventilation Assessment, and proposed Mandatory Implementation of Building Energy Codes, to name but few. A new set of BEAM standards to assess building interiors is to be piloted by early 2009, to look at commercial and interior sustainability." BEAM was launched in 1996 to measure, improve, certify and label the whole-life environmental sustainability of buildings. To date, BEAM has certified green building developments encompassing over 70 million square feet of space including 37,000 residential units. On per capita basis, BEAM is one of the most widely used voluntary green building labeling schemes of its kind in the world.

In closing the Forum, Dr Andrew Thomson said "We hope the Forum today can contribute to a sustainable roadmap for building energy efficiency with input, insights and ingredients from policy makers, business leaders and key stakeholders. There are immense potentials for efficiencies, innovations and market opportunities though policies, best practices and life cycle improvements of new and existing buildings. Significant efforts are required from all sectors and at all levels to make all possible steps to do the best for our planet earth and human race."

About Business Environment Council

Since 1989, Business Environment Council (BEC) has been in the forefront of Hong Kong's sustainable development, striving to build capacity and facilitate action by partnerships with business, government and community groups. The Business Environment Council (BEC) is the longest running independent, private-sector non-profit organization in Hong Kong promoting corporate social and environmental responsibility. Set up by business for business in 1989, BEC offers sustainable business solutions covering baseline assessment, advisory, research, training and award programs for companies across all sectors and at any stage of their corporate sustainability journey. Headquartered in our own building in Hong Kong, we have additional offices in Beijing and Shenzhen.