Green buildings help Hong Kong transform into a smart city

Green buildings help Hong Kong transform into a smart city Like many smart city development plans around the world, smart environment is a key theme or objective in Hong Kong’s smart city blueprint consultancy study report. In creating a smarter environment for Hong Kong, green or sustainable buildings are one of the important aspects.

Some people think that smart buildings are the same as intelligent buildings. However, Raymond Yau, general manager of technical services & sustainable development at Swire Properties, has a different view.

“Three components form the basis of smart buildings—technologies, data analytics and human interaction,” he said in a panel discussion at Schneider Electric Innovation Summit in Hong Kong. “Technology advancements make buildings smarter. Data analytics generate building intelligence for users to respond to changes.”

On the contrary, intelligent buildings involve less human interaction. It is more focused on building automation such as the use of building management systems (BMS), according to him.

Sharing a similar view, David Chan, senior VP & head of corporate real estate and facilities management at Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd (HKEX), noted technologies and people are important in smart building initiatives.

The business community today is showing more and more interest in sustainability. As two large enterprises in Hong Kong, Swire Properties and HKEX shared their smart building practices, particularly in energy management.

Swire Properties’ sustainability development strategy

Swire Properties has been committed to integrating sustainability development into its business, and has invested resources to optimize building design.

“We have to convince senior management of the smart building concept. Energy management is a way for us to know the immediate result of smart building initiatives,” said Yau. “By checking our utility bills, we know whether our strategy works or not.”

The property developer started to use smart meters to monitor energy consumption about six years ago. Today over 80% of its buildings portfolios have smart meters. It also improved HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems in its buildings to achieve energy reduction.  

The property developer has set itself a sustainable development 2030 strategy. Environment is one of the strategic pillars under its 2030 strategy with focus in areas like energy, water and waste. The developer aims to achieve 26% annual energy reduction for its Hong Kong portfolio by 2020.

Swire Properties will also continually invest in its buildings and assets and pursue green building certifications for its developments.

Energy savings in HKEX’s buildings

HKEX actively pushes sustainability management in the city. It issues an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Reporting Guide, which requires listed companies to disclose their ESG compliance in their annual reports. Energy saving is one of the reporting areas.