Hong Kong Green Building Is Trending Up
Hong Kong’s growing green construction sector is open to U.S. companies.
In response to the Paris Agreement to prevent climate change, the Hong Kong government has initiated the Climate Action Plan 2030+ to reduce carbon emissions by 26 to 36 percent by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2050. To achieve these goals, the government has announced a series of measures and incentives, one of which is to promote and invest in the development of green buildings.
Energy Efficiency Incentives
There are over 42,000 private buildings and more than 8,000 government buildings in Hong Kong. These buildings account for 90% of the total city’s electricity consumption and generate 60% of the city’s carbon emissions. To save energy and reduce emissions, the government has introduced BEAM Plus, a set of strict green certification standards developed by the BEAM Society Ltd which saved over 700,000 MWh of electricity each year. Commercial property owners are incentivized to save energy under the Buildings Energy Efficiency Ordinance. Buildings that achieve certain energy savings with BEAM Plus or other internationally recognized standards such as LEED, BREEAM, and EDGE will be eligible for tax deductions. The government also allows private buildings to increase floor areas when green design elements are incorporated into buildings. With these incentives, property developers are increasingly willing to invest in green buildings.
Foreign Companies are Welcome
A recent meeting with the Hong Kong Institute of Architects confirmed that Hong Kong developers and architects often seek out foreign expertise on energy efficiency design and technology for design projects as Hong Kong works to catch up with the rest of the world in green building practices. Progress in this area is steady. As of 2019, over 3,000 buildings and development projects obtained a BEAM Plus certification. Prominent buildings with a top green rating include K11 (New World Development), Taikoo Place (Swire Properties) and the International Commerce Centre (MTR and Sun Hung Kai Properties). These developers have partnered with foreign green design and engineering firms such as AECOM, Kohn Pedersen Fox, Arup, James Corner Field Operations, etc.
While foreign construction companies are welcome to tender public sector projects, we advise them to partner with a local construction company. Either the foreign firm or the local partner must register with the Development Bureau as the Approved Contractor for Public Works and/or Approved Suppliers of Materials.
Top prospects for the green design and construction sector in Hong Kong include:
green building materials and equipment
low/zero carbon design and technologies
energy efficiency equipment and technologies
building management systems
air quality control systems
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