Hong Kong unveils its first zero-carbon building
Hong Kong has unveiled its first “zero-carbon” building. But it is unlikely that others will follow.
The three-storey structure, designed to be energy efficient, runs on solar power and biodiesel derived from waste cooking oil. These renewable energy sources will provide the necessary electricity, and then some: the developers expect the system to generate a surplus of power, which will be delivered to the electricity grid, offsetting the carbon emitted during the building’s construction.
The building is scheduled to officially open to the public in September as office space for the Hong Kong Construction Industry Council, an advisory agency that led the project along with the local government. An events hall will also be available for rent.
E.U. countries are increasingly mandating that new homes be built to have zero net carbon emissions. And in the U.K., all new houses are required to be carbon neutral by 2016. Yet such goals are seen as impossible for a place like Hong Kong. The government’s latest proposed target is to reduce the highly polluted city’s carbon intensity by 50% – 60% by 2020, using 2005 as a baseline.
Developers say the zero-carbon building is 45% more efficient than standard designs. It demonstrates various design features that help improve ventilation, minimizing the need for air conditioning in a city that becomes stiflingly hot during the summer months.
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