As environmental sustainability’s star continues to ascend, buildings in futurist locations like Hong Kong come under the spotlight. Many drivers, from corporate social responsibility (CSR) to shareholder demand and green taxes are driving eco-friendly construction. As greener buildings become more commonplace, the districts of Hong Kong will see advances in both the appearance and the detailing of tomorrow’s skyscrapers.
What is a green building?
Definitions of a green building vary globally. However, most feature architecture which contributes to sustainability, where the building becomes a net producer and exporter of resources, materials, energy and water rather than being a net consumer. Buildings should minimize what they take in terms of energy efficiency and maximize positive net returns to society and the earth’s ecosystems.
Technologies used to fulfill these principles include solar panels, district heating, high energy efficient server systems and roof gardens. Globally, famous green structures include The David and Lucile Packard Foundation Headquarters, Los Altos, California.
A 50-year-old philanthropic organisation in Silicon Valley, EHDD built a new, LEED Platinum–certified headquarters that is, at 49,000 square feet, the largest net-zero energy-certified structure in California. Elsewhere, Bud Clark Commons building in Portland, Oregon, is also notable for its environmental and green credentials.
By recycling water, employing a solar-powered water-heating system, and minimizing storm-water runoff, the Clark Commons, this Holst Architecture-designed residence and temporary shelter for the homeless has truly benign environmental impacts. It’s a stunning example of the possibilities when business and greener practice join to mutual benefit.
Office Space in Hong Kong is certain to become more driven by such environmental principles, especially as China increasingly sees the profit to be made from tomorrow’s green economy. Corporates will seek to brand themselves positively on the environment, furthermore green buildings are cheaper to rent and run.
Other interesting examples in Asia which may influence Hong Kong’s future green buildings include Taipei 101, the world’s tallest eco construction. Features include a water-recycling system on the roof and reduced energy consumption, reportedly some 30% lower than that of an average building of its size.
In July 2011, Taipei 101 was awarded the LEED Platinum certification, the highest award according the LEED rating system, which judges global eco builds. Winning the LEED certification involved inspections and upgrades in wiring, water and lighting equipment which cost of NT$60 million (US$1.8million).
Estimates showed the savings resulting from the modifications would pay for the cost of making them within three years. The project was carried out under the guidance of an international team composed of Siemens architect, interior designer Steven Leach Group and the LEED advisory firm EcoTech International.
Hong Kong commercial real estate can undoubtedly expects to see many similar technologies arising in future years. It is expected that businesses, especially those operating in the environmental sphere, will specifically request renting office space in tomorrow’s greener towers.
JLL Property can offer specialist knowledge and experience across Hong Kong’s office markets. The JLL Property portfolio includes a variety of eco-buildings and green offices, including Pioneer Place in Kwun Tong. We are also available to offer advice and opinion on creating a greener and more sustainable office space.