Energy-saving plans revealed

THE first energy-saving blueprint for Hong Kong has been unveiled, in an effort to reduce the city’s energy intensity by 40 percent in the next decade.

Energy intensity is the amount of economic output that can be generated by one standardised unit of energy. The target was rolled out by the Environment Bureau (環境局), in collaboration with the Development Bureau (發展局) and the Transport and Housing Bureau (運輸及房屋局).

It came ahead of last Friday’s launch of the Energy Saving for All (全民節能) push, which included a series of initiatives, one of which is the Energy Saving Charter of Indoor Temperature 2015 (室內溫度節能約章2015).

Under the fresh blueprint, the government will take the lead, with the aim of achieving a 5 percent electricity reduction target by 2020. More than half of Hong Kong’s annual energy use is in the form of electricity consumption.

Buildings currently consume 90 percent of the city’s electricity usage, with air-conditioning being the largest electricity end-use. Secretary for Environment (環境局局長) Wong Kam-sing (黃錦星) said the biggest challenge lies in improving the energy efficiency of buildings.

Asked what incentives the government would provide for the developers to go green, Secretary for Development (發展局局長) Paul Chan Mo-po (陳茂波) said, “The [gross floor area] concession is one, and this is indeed, given the high land price in Hong Kong, quite a substantial financial incentive.”

University of Hong Kong (香港大學) professor in Geography Ng Cho-nam (吳祖南) explained that the city’s apparent efficiency is only due to its lack of heavy industry and its compact structure, where people rely on public transport. “Hong Kong’s ranking is very high because we are a finance and commerce-based city that doesn’t require a lot of energy to generate gross domestic product (GDP). But in reality, Hongkongers waste a lot of energy.”

(The Standard, Jasmine Siu, 15 May 2015)