As a leading utility provider, Towngas have fully integrated environmental consideration into our business model. With the ultimate aim of protecting environment, we have achieved numerous building sustainability objectives by adopting advanced energy efficiency technologies as well as best practice on facilities management in Towngas Headquarters. After undergoing BEAM Plus Assessment, Towngas Headquarters achieved the Platinum rating of Final Assessment under the BEAM Plus Existing Buildings (version 1.2) of the Hong Kong Green Building Council. It is the first non-residential building in Hong Kong which has achieved the highest level of recognition under the BEAM Plus Final Assessment for existing buildings.
Towngas Headquarters has been effectively operating with various energy saving systems as listed below:
Lighting control with motion sensor
Water saving sanitary fixtures etc.
In addition, Towngas Headquarters has been adopting a good practice for the operation and management of the building as listed below:
Founded in 1862, The Hong Kong and China Gas Company Limited (Towngas) was Hong Kong's first public utility. Today, we are one of the largest energy suppliers in Hong Kong, operating with world-class corporate management and leading-edge business practices.
Towngas moved into the gas business in mainland China in 1994. Up to 2015, we have more than 200 projects, including piped city-gas projects, upstream and midstream developments, water and wastewater treatment schemes, natural gas filling stations, as well as new energy exploration and utilization ventures, across 25 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions throughout the country.
Sustainability is a fundamental core value in Towngas. Integrating sustainability into our decision making processes and daily activities, we apply international standards in our operations in Hong Kong and joint ventures in mainland China, to ensure social and environmental responsibility for our activities, without comprising the quality of our services.
What are the motivations to go “green”?
Climate change and energy conservation dominated world leaders’ environmental agenda. Energy is essential to global economic development, yet that supplied through the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, remains significant in the debate on the greenhouse effect and climate change. The major goal of Towngas is to balance the provision of energy with improvement in our quality of life and protection of the environment. Therefore, “Go Green” is indispensable in daily operation of Towngas’s business.
One of our environmental targets is to upgrade Towngas Headquarters (HQ) in order to achieve BEAM Plus Platinum rating. The aim of the BEAM Plus assessment is to reduce environmental impact of buildings while maintaining and, in fact in many areas, even improving quality of the built environment and users’ satisfaction.
What are the major strategies to earn the credits and achieve the BEAM Plus Platinum rating?
Being the first non-residential building certifying in Platinum rating in Final Assessment, it is no doubt that Towngas HQ performs very well in the achievement towards the improvement of the environment. We have carried out various improvement works to achieve requirements in different aspects, for example, energy usage, water usage and indoor environmental quality.
Towngas HQ has completed various upgrade projects including central chiller plant upgrade, T5 lighting and sensor type lighting replacement, CO2 sensor control of variable speed drive air handling unit, etc. The energy audit result shows that building energy consumption of Towngas HQ is reduced by 13% from Year 2012 to Year 2014, which is 46% below the baseline criteria as stipulated in Hong Kong Building Energy Code.
The high efficient sanitary fittings, e.g. sensor type faucet, dual flush water closet, are used in Towngas HQ. Water survey has been conducted to understand our water usage habit for both staff and contractor. After the survey, we have reviewed our water usage habit and discussed any improvement works to be carried out. It is found that the water consumption of Towngas HQ is 40% below the baseline criteria as specified in BEAM Plus guideline.
Air Pollution Control
To balance the indoor air quality and energy saving requirement, we have installed the CO2 sensor to monitor the concentration level of CO2 inside our office. The variable speed drive based on this data to control the speed of air handling unit. In addition, regular inspections and cleaning of the air filters has been conducted. The monitoring result shows that the indoor air quality in Towngas HQ meets the Good Class criteria in the “IAQ Certification Scheme for Offices and Public Places”.
In order to ensure good water quality in Towngas HQ, regular tank cleansing, inspection and maintenance are conducted by competent person. Water quality survey was conducted to examine potable water quality at Towngas HQ. According to the laboratory test report, the water quality of each sampling points are complied with Water Supply Department acceptable limit.
A waste audit was carried out to study the waste streams at Towngas HQ for the period of 2012 to 2014. The waste audit results highlighted the significant trends of increasing recycling rate and decreasing disposal rate in the past three years. In other words, the existing waste management system has positive contribution on reducing pressure on landfills and help to extend the lifecycle of the recyclable waste.
By adopting the Environmental Purchasing Plan, it is found that over 70% of purchased material, products or equipment in Towngas HQ is environmental friendly products during July 2014 to June 2015. Environmental friendly products include durable material with low embodied energy, locally produced materials, wood products from well-managed sources, products which do not use CFCs, HCFCs, halons products that are recyclable or having significant recycle content etc. These purchasing practices can reduce the environmental impact of products.
What are the main obstacles during the certification process? And how would you tackle them?
To achieve BEAM Plus target, continuous monitoring for various improvement projects and Environmental Management Plan (EMP) is carried out. Detailed action plan for the EMP and improvement projects is prepared in order to ensure that the upgrade project will not affect daily operation of building. In addition, the success implementation of EMP requires the participation of building users and thus a Building User’s Guidance was established.
To ensure the results of improvement projects accomplish our design, field measurements and real-time monitoring were carried out. For example, the ‘Chiller Plant Upgrade’ project, we have based on our existing building loading profile to prepare feasibility study for this project. The power consumption reduction of this project has been estimated in the design stage. Energy meters have been installed to monitor in the construction stage to verify the actual energy consumption. When the improvement project has been completed, the energy consumption data has been collected by the energy meters. The comparison and energy analysis was done to compare any variance between the design and actual operation.