LCQ13: Energy efficiency enhancement of new buildings

Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (April 30):


Spacious entrance lobbies are provided at the ground level in many newly-built government buildings (including cultural and recreational facilities) and the provision of air-conditioning for such space consumes much energy.  When projects on new buildings were being examined at the meetings of the Home Affairs Panel and Public Works Subcommittee of this Council recently, I urged the authorities to adopt as far as possible a natural ventilation design when designing the entrance lobbies of new buildings to dispense with the provision of air-conditioning and thereby save energy.  In connection with energy efficiency enhancement of new buildings, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council whether:

(1) there are currently publicly-funded buildings in which a natural ventilation design has been adopted for their entrance lobbies; whether the authorities will consider adopting as far as possible such a design in new publicly-funded buildings; if they will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(2) they will encourage real estate developers to adopt a natural ventilation design for entrance lobbies of commercial, industrial and residential buildings; if not, of the reasons for that; and

(3) they will require that newly-built buildings be installed with specified energy saving installations and renewable energy facilities, such as motion and daylight sensors as well as sun pipes that bring in natural light to reduce the need for illumination, double-layer curtain walls with return air grills to reduce the energy consumption of air-conditioning systems, and solar photovoltaic panels to provide supplementary electricity; if not, of the reasons for that?


Madam President,

The Government has been attaching great importance to energy conservation and has, in recent years, actively explored the application of renewable energy.  It is our policy to promote the use of energy saving installations and renewable energy facilities amongst government departments.  To this end, departments concerned have drawn up technical guidelines to implement the policy.  Government has completed the public consultation exercise on the proposed mandatory implementation by means of legislation of the Building Energy Codes, which aims at promoting energy saving initiatives for buildings at different levels.  The public and private sector of the construction industry are generally in support of the proposal.  Government will work out details of the implementation, taking into account the views collected.

My reply to the three parts of the question is as follows:

(1) Except for very favourable site conditions, entrance lobbies of government buildings other than schools cannot solely rely on natural ventilation to meet the expectation and demand of users the year round and in all weather conditions.  Therefore, the focus of our effort to save energy in the majority of government buildings is on enhancing the energy efficiency of the air-conditioning systems.

In general, new schools would use natural ventilation for their ground floor lobbies.  Other than that, only buildings with very favourable site conditions, such as the Siu Sai Wan Municipal Complex to be constructed shortly, can adopt natural ventilation in lieu of air-conditioning in the design.

As regards other public-funded buildings, the design considerations are similar to those for government buildings.

(2) In view of the design considerations and constraints mentioned in para (1) above, the Government has not required real estate developers to adopt natural ventilation design for entrance lobbies of buildings.  Nevertheless, to promote building energy efficiency, Government issued in 1998 the Building Energy Codes for electrical and mechanical systems in buildings.  In 2004, guidelines on Energy Efficiency and Conservation for Buildings were published to provide recommendations on energy saving measures for electrical and mechanical installations, sustainable resources and related architectural designs.  Moreover, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) has introduced on its website information of sustainable resources for buildings, including the concept of natural ventilation for reference of the industry.

(3) The technical guidelines issued by the Government require that new Government buildings should, wherever practicable, adopt energy saving installations and renewable energy facilities, which include motion and daylight sensors as well as solar photovoltaic panels.  We will regularly review the guidelines and consider introducing other installations and facilities that are effective and practicable.

As for private buildings, there are no statutory requirements for installing prescribed energy saving installations and renewable energy facilities.  However, the Building Energy Codes issued by the EMSD has laid down basic requirements in regard to energy efficiency for reference of the industry.


Ends/Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Issued at HKT 14:31