The new Architectural Services Department (ArchSD) office is located at 1/F of Main Block, APB Centre, Hung Hom. This is the first government office in Hong Kong achieved Platinum Rating under BEAM Plus Interiors (BI) Accreditation.
The renovation project adopted a holistic approach on sustainable design, green construction, environmental friendly operation and maintenance to transform an existing premises to a green workplace.
Since the new office occupants were relocated from the existing office at 8/F of APB Centre, almost all furniture, partitions and electrical appliances in the new office were reused from the old office to minimize wastage.
Sustainable and innovative design strategies, such as radiant cooling system, dimmable indirect LED lighting, automatic control for building systems, water efficient fixtures, sustainable materials and flexible layout were integrated to create a relatively low carbon, green, healthy and modern indoor environment to the office occupants.
The project has demonstrated the feasibility of practice of a sustainable office renovation.
Sustainable materials and design, such as radiant cooling system, energy efficient lighting, green indoor built-environment, sustainable material application, excellent indoor environmental quality, and flexible layout were implemented in the new office in order to achieve the green objectives. The various sustainable features adopted in the new office are highlighted below:
What are the motivations to go “green”?
In average, office staff in Hong Kong spend around 50 hours per week indoor. Working in a sustainable office in a convenient location with a healthy and comfortable indoor environment is important to the occupants to work effectively.
ArchSD strives to promote sustainability. To renovate the existing premises to meet operational need, an idea of green and sustainable office was popped up. ArchSD adopted the new BEAM Plus Interiors system as a tool to incorporate green design, construction and operation.
What are the major strategies to earn the credits and achieve the BEAM Plus rating?
The smooth transformation of an existing premises to a green modern office was attributable to ArchSD’s support for the sustainable and innovative designs and the efforts by the entire project team. The major strategies are listed below.
Rooted in Materials
The principle idea of sustainable materials is ’REDUCE’. The new office reused most of furniture and partitions from the existing government office. This minimized the use of raw materials.
To minimize the impact of consumption of natural resources, more than half of newly installed materials were from sustainable sources. The new office adopted bamboo for wall covering and skirting. Bamboo is a renewable material having a harvest cycle of less than 10 years. The raised floor system and carpet were made of recycled materials from the manufacturing process and the doors were made of sustainable timber. Most of the factories of the materials used in the office were environmental friendly factories certified under ISO 14001 and are within 800km from Hong Kong to minimize the need for transportation.
The project team has also planned for the reuse of building materials at the end of life cycle of the office. Most newly installed elements are in modular design and can be easily disassembled / assembled for reuse in future.
All about Efficiency
The new office adopted innovation technologies such as Radiant Cooling System and dimmable indirect LED lighting incorporating with automatic control. The Radiant Cooling System consists of ceiling panel with chilled water circulating inside and provides cooling effect by absorbing the sensible office heat from the office space.
With adoption of energy efficient air-conditioning system and high efficacy lighting, the overall energy consumption of air-conditioning and lighting system could be significantly reduced as compared to the latest version of Code of Practice for Energy Efficiency of Building Services Installation 2012 (BEC 2012). Energy simulation has been conducted to perform detailed comparative analysis of building designs and technologies.
The office was also installed with energy sub-metering to monitor the energy consumption of different energy systems, including MVAC, electrical, lighting and small power, which enables managing and improving energy performance. There are also an environmental display system installed near the main entrance for the office occupants to learn more about the real time energy consumption.
The new office has certified as Good Class under Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Certification Scheme by Environmental Protection Department (EPD) of Hong Kong, providing a healthy indoor working environment for users.
An innovative concept of Bio-filtration Wall was also introduced. It is a combination of the green wall installed in the main corridor and air-conditioning system to allow the return air from the office to pass through the green wall before recirculation. This helps to refresh the air supply to the office.
By using radiant cooling system, absorption materials and high Sound Transmission Coefficient (STC) partition, a satisfactory acoustic performance is maintained at interior spaces.
What are the main obstacles during the certification process? And how would you tackle them?
The BEAM Plus Interiors is the first green building assessment scheme in Hong Kong covering tenant areas under BEAM Plus system. The assessment criteria are quite different from the BEAM Plus NB and EB scheme, especially in the Material Aspects (MA). As part of the MA assessment, at least 50% of newly installed building elements shall be sustainable ones to achieve credits.
Since the new office was targeted to achieve the highest Platinum Rating. The target of adopting sustainable materials was set to be more than 50% and the compliance would be as high as possible. It was a challenge to the project team to source the sustainable building materials in local markets as currently most of the sustainable materials have to be sourced from foreign countries which exceeds 800 km from Hong Kong and it is not common for manufacturers in Mainland China to certify under internationally recognized Environmental Management System. After several rounds of scouring and reviewing, suitable materials were selected to satisfy with both the design and the BEAM requirements.
The project eventually managed to source a flooring material that was manufactured regionally and from ISO 14001 certified environmental friendly factories.
Apart from the BEAM Plus rating, what do you consider the key project success? What are the expectation for the future users of the building?
The creation of a pleasant indoor working environment to the staff is a demonstration for transformation of existing premise to green workplace.
It is expected that a better indoor environmental quality could reduce the potential effects of sick building syndrome and enhance the working efficiency of the occupants. We hope this case will help to promote the concept of a green working environment.