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Legislative Council Question 6 : "Green buildings" by the Hon Choy So-yuk and a reply by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council

Following is a question by the Hon Choy So-yuk and a reply by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (November 1):

Question:

In order to encourage developers to introduce green elements in the construction of buildings, the Government has implemented a policy on green and innovative buildings since 2001 to allow green features to be exempted from the calculation of gross floor area of the developments concerned. At the Legislative Council meeting on 26 April 2006, the Administration advised this Council that it would review the effectiveness of the relevant incentives. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the progress of the review; and

(b) whether it will consider introducing other measures to encourage the use of green materials and the provision of green facilities in buildings, such as those concerning energy saving, waste sorting, use of renewable energy and roof greening; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply:

Madam President,

It is an established Government policy to encourage and promote the construction of green and innovative buildings. One of the measures is the exemption of certain green features from the calculation of gross floor area ("GFA") in building developments. This increases common areas and facilities in the buildings and also improves the living environment of residents.

My reply to parts (a) and (b) of the question is as follows:

(a) Since the introduction of the above measure, the Government has been monitoring the provision of green features in building developments. Recently, the Buildings Department has, in conjunction with other relevant departments, initiated a review of the effectiveness of the incentive measure. The review is expected to be completed early next year.

(b) The Government's policy on provision of incentives covers balconies, wider corridors and lift lobbies, communal sky gardens, communal podium gardens, acoustic fins, sunshades and reflectors, non-structural prefabricated external walls, utility platforms and mail delivery room with mailboxes. These features are conducive to building a greener environment, reducing energy consumption and construction waste as well as promoting the use of natural renewable energy. They also provide residents with more usable areas, communal facilities and in turn enhance residents' convenience in many ways. Generally speaking, these facilities contribute positively towards improving people's qualify of life. We have received positive and supportive feedbacks from our initial review. That said, exempting the green features from calculation of GFA brings another problem. The floor areas of these additional features will increase the bulk and density of the buildings and affect the surrounding environment. This issue is also a concern of the Legislative Council Public Accounts Committee and the general public and will be covered by our review. Before the completion of the review, we do not have any plan to offer GFA exemptions as an incentive for the provision of further green features at the moment.

To promote the installation of energy conservation and renewable energy power systems, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department has issued codes of practice and established guidelines to facilitate adoption by the industry as well as for the reference of the public.

As far as roof greening is concerned, the Architectural Services Department aims to implement green roof projects for new government buildings as far as practicable, and also encourages developers to incorporate green roof features into their private buildings projects.

As regards waste separation, the Environmental Protection Department ("EPD") encourages housing estates to adopt waste separation modes and recovery facilities that best suit the characteristics and design of their buildings. The EPD has published a "Guidebook on Source Separation of Waste in Residential Buildings" for the reference of the trade and the public. Staff from the EPD also pay visits to housing estates to provide advice on feasible waste recovery modes based on the physical settings of individual estates.

In addition, in order to promote separation of waste at source, the EPD and the BD are exploring the feasibility of introducing statutory requirements for new buildings to reserve floor space on each floor for the provision of a refuse storage and material recovery room. Such rooms will facilitate the separation and recovery of waste.

With the concerted efforts of various Government departments, we are confident that we can further encourage developers to incorporate more green features into their development projects.

Ends/Wednesday, November 1, 2006
Issued at HKT 13:11

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