Advisory Council on the Environment

Green Building Initiatives

(ACE Paper 32/2001)
For information


This paper responds to the Chairman's invitation to brief the Council on green building initiatives undertaken by the Buildings Department (BD) and the achievements made so far.


2. To promote green and innovative buildings, the BD has launched a number of initiatives, namely: the setting up of the Building Innovation Unit, the formation of the Working Group on Environmentally Friendly and Innovative Buildings, the issuance of Joint Practice Note No.1 and the release of Joint Practice Note No. 2 later this year.

Building Innovation Unit (BIU)

3. By redeployment of staff, the BIU was set up on 1 July 2000 to:

  1. Explore the latest technologies and environmental design by data search, seminars and conferences, study trips and dialogues with professional institutes and green groups;
  2. Review current building legislation and standards to remove barriers and modernize existing Buildings Ordinance with performance-based regulations and guidelines;
  3. Consider assessment systems for green proposals by examining current systems such as the Hong Kong Building Environmental Assessment Method and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design; and
  4. Provide support to the Working Group on Environmentally Friendly and Innovative Buildings which inaugural meeting was held on 9 November 2000.

Working Group on Environmentally Friendly and Innovative Buildings (WG)

4. The WG is a standing committee chaired by the Director of Buildings and consists of senior representatives of government departments with responsibilities for building development. The terms of reference are:

  1. To consider green and innovative features in the design and construction of environmentally friendly buildings both in the public and private sectors;
  2. To work out incentives and other measures to encourage the construction of environmentally friendly buildings; and
  3. To recommend any other measures government should take to facilitate the construction of innovative buildings.

Our plan now is to launch our initiatives in two phases, the first one dealing with green facilities requiring extra floor space and the second one promoting green systems, devices and construction methods not involving extra floor area.

Phase One: Green facilities requiring extra floor area

Joint Practice Note No.1 (JPN1)

5. JPN1 embraces the first package of incentives, is jointly issued on 27 February 2001 by the Buildings Department, Lands Department and Planning Department. Green and sustainable principles advocated in the practice note are:

  1. Safety and health of our living environment;
  2. Holistic life-cycle approach to the planning, design, construction and maintenance of buildings;
  3. Maximize the use of natural renewable resources and recycled/green building materials;
  4. Minimize the consumption of energy, in particular those non-renewable types; and
  5. Reduce construction and demolition waste.

6. JPN1 also provides conditions and guidelines for exempting Gross Floor Area (GFA) and/or Site Coverage (SC) calculations for seven green features that would take up floor space. As of August this year, over 40 building plans with green features have been approved and their break down is:

Balconies 35
Wider common corridors and lift lobbies 21
Communal sky gardens 2
Sunshades and reflectors 3

Joint Practice Note No. 2

7. The WG is now considering a second package of incentives by expanding the list of green features that would take up extra floor space and exempt them from GFA and/or SC calculations. This package will be promulgated under JPN2 and released later this year.

Phase Two

8. The WG is vigorously working on a further scheme of incentives under which additional GFA will be recommended for buildings incorporating green features incurring additional capital costs but not taking up extra floor space. Examples of such facilities are prefabricated construction, systems to improve indoor air quality, modular components, and green construction material. Another plan is to provide incentives such as open commendations and fast track plan processing for outstanding green building proposals. Buildings Department August 2001




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