Buildings account for 90% of electricity used in Hong Kong, generating over 60% of Hong Kong’s carbon emissions. Within this figure, air conditioning is the largest culprit, taking up 24% of commercial energy use. Currently, the energy efficiency of buildings is not optimised to their full extent, and the government policy has been ineffective.
Within the building sector, commercial buildings contribute to more than 75% of emissions, with residential buildings accounting for the rest. Private residential buildings and public housing are the two major contributors in the latter category.
Energy saving and emissions reductions in buildings are crucial to achieving net zero emissions in Hong Kong. Currently, the Hong Kong government relies more on the supply side, or the fuel mix, to reduce GHG emissions from building sector, yet the demand side makes a significant contribution.
Both new and old buildings need to be optimised to create the greatest energy efficiency. A key starting point is promoting public visibility of current building energy efficiency. The government needs to tighten policies, adopt stricter standards, and promote concepts such as thermal envelopes to increase sustainability considerations during the building design process. It also needs to foster reductions in energy demand by mobilising the public to establish community initiatives for energy savings. We should perhaps think out of the box and engage in retrofitting new systems in buildings that are green and sustainable.
Add elements of behavioural science to policy making such as through choice influencing to target the motivations of individuals towards change.See Champions
Transition its business models to centre around the circular economy and sustainable development.See Champions
Be aware of options in the market, and choose technology such as smart thermostats that would promote energy savings.See Champions
To champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis, we have highlighted local organisations and showcased how their works have contributed to making Hong Kong a cleaner and greener city.See All Champions
Just as walking on sand leaves a footprint, burning fuel for human activity leaves greenhouse gases in the air, creating a carbon footprint. Everything we have, use, and consume, from food to clothes to transportation, is intimately linked to Hong Kong’s overall emissions figure.
According to WWF, if everyone on Earth led the same lifestyle as we do in Hong Kong, 4.2 Earths would be required to fulfil our resource need.