The Development Of Sustainable Buildings Environmental Sciences

Essay add: 14-11-2017, 17:20   /   Views: 64

Climate change refers to a long term shift in the Earths global or regional climate, measured by long term changes in the weather conditions, such as temperature, precipitation and wind pattern. With increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea levels, the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment report concludes that global warming is unequivocal and accelerating.

Although climate change is a natural phenomenon, the warming trend since the mid-20th century is very likely due to human activities such as the burning of fossil fuel and deforestation which increase concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs). As human-induced GHGs such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), per fluorocarbons (PFCs), hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) act like a blanket which traps heat in the atmosphere, the surge of GHG concentrations after the Industrial Revolution has resulted in an enhanced greenhouse effect, making the Earth get hotter and hotter.

The IPCC projected that there would be more frequent and intense extreme weather events due to global warming. We must not allow temperatures to rise more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels if we wish to avoid catastrophic impacts of climate change.

The effects of global warming are in some ways less definable than the causes. Let us follow a chain of events so as to be able to completely envision the scale and scope of the problem.

Rising sea levels

Salt water intrusion

Extreme weather

Increased rainfall


Acidic Oceans

Destabilization of local climates

From its inception, HK-BEAM has been the only scheme of its kind to originate in Hong Kong and be widely applied across the territory. HK-BEAM assesses projects in terms of their whole-life site, materials, energy, water, indoor environment and innovative aspects. Improvements are identified during assessment, and buildings are labelled as Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze or Unclassified accordingly.

Although much has been written about the social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainable development, what constitutes a sustainable, green, healthy or ecology-friendly building remains a matter of viewpoint. Hong Kong is a subtropical, high-density and high-rise community. In this context, HK-BEAM views sustainable building as embracing (in order of priority) safety, health, comfort, function and efficiency while protecting local, regional and global ecosystems during construction and operational lifetimes. HK-BEAM Plus therefore integrates aspects including:

Hygiene, health, comfort and amenity;

Land use, site impacts and transport;

Use of materials, recycling and waste;

Water quality, conservation and recycling; and

Energy efficiency and conservation.

1.2 Aims and Objectives

The aim of this study is to identify suitable approach in the development of sustainable buildings in Hong Kong. The following are the objectives:

To comprehensively review the historical background and the recent development of Sustainable Buildings

To review government efforts and their effectiveness in the promotion of Sustainable Buildings;

To identify the major Barriers in the development of sustainable buildings;

To explore possible ways to overcome these barriers;

To examine which type(s) of sustainability could be adopted in Hong Kong and how they could be implemented.

1.3 Research Methodology

1.3.1 Literature review

Literature review for the concepts of sustainable buildings. And their characteristics in development as well as the evolution of the environmental protection policies of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Relevant information can be obtained from library, government authorities, the Internet and professional bodies concerned.

1.3.2 Case studies

Case studies to illustrate the practical implementation of sustainable buildings development in Hong Kong.

1.3.3 Interviews

Interviews with property developers and built environment professionals who own and have participated in sustainable buildings to understand the objectives and features of these properties.

1.3.4 Questionnaire survey

Questionnaire survey among project team practitioners to collect opinions from another category of sustainable building stakeholders.

1.4 Limitations of the Study

Availability and accuracy of relevant information;

Response rate of questionnaire survey;

Willingness of targeted interviewees;

Personal limitations e.g. time and resources.

1.5 Summary of Dissertation

Stage 1 Literature Review

Review on the relevant books, journals, and articles regarding the concept of development of sustainable buildings in Hong Kong. The purpose of the literature standards reviews to identify "development of sustainable buildings" in Hong Kong.

Stage 2 Questionnaire Surveys and Conduct of interview

Questionnaire Surveys

1. Deliver questionnaires.

2. Analysis of the surveys result.

3. Compare finding and summary, cross-checking for any correlation.

Questionnaire survey was carried out to investigate the awareness of the general public and their view.

Stage 3 Case Study

Case studies will be employed in order to get more details from the construction section in order to identify the requirement and contents of the current sustainable buildings in Hong Kong.

Stage 4 Discussion and Conclusions

The major barriers facing the development and implementation of sustainable buildings in Hong Kong.

Explore possible ways to overcome these barriers.

Examine which type(s) of sustainability could be adopted in Hong Kong and how they could be implemented.

Chapter 2 Literature Review2.1 Introduction

2.1.1 The effects of global warming

The effects of global warming are in some ways less definable than the causes. It seems odd that such huge manifestations of change such as rising sea levels, glacier retreat, and Arctic shrinkage somehow manage to filter down so that when members of western civilization safely tucked away in homes and apartments look at the effects they are so remote as to become invisible. What we may well bear watching are the effects of the effects of global warming. These secondary results are so non-linear as to be a random harvest of environmental and economic dilemmas that, when fully formed and in place present a definitive short-term danger. Let us once again follow a chain of events so as to be able to completely envision the scale and scope of the problem.

2.1.2 Sustainable Building

A sustainable building provides a quality living amenity for its users and neighbours in terms of social, environmental and economic aspects while minimizing environmental impact at the local, regional and global levels throughout its full life cycle.

The buildings in which we live, work and play protect us from Nature's extremes. Yet, they also affect our health and environment in countless ways. The design, construction, management and removal of buildings take enormous amounts of energy, water and materials, and generate large quantities of waste, air and water pollution. Buildings also develop their own indoor environments, which present an array of health challenges.

Where and how they are built and managed affects wildlife habitat and corridors and the hydrologic cycle, while influencing the overall quality of human life (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2005).

As the environmental impact of buildings become more apparent, issues about "green buildings" are gaining momentum. Green buildings are designed, constructed and operated to boost environmental, economic, health and productivity performance over that of conventional buildings (U.S. Green Building Council, 2002). The benefits of building green include cost savings from reduced energy, water and waste; lower operation and maintenance costs; and enhanced occupant productivity and health.

Sustainable construction techniques provide an ethical and practical response to issues of environmental impact and resource consumption. Sustainability assumptions encompass the entire life cycle of the building and its constituent components, from resource extraction through disposal at the end of the materials' useful life. High-performance green building design relies on renewable resources for energy systems; recycling and reuse of water and materials, integration of native and adapted species for landscaping; passive heating, cooling and ventilation; and other approaches that minimize environmental impact and resource consumption (Kibert, 2005).

A label of building quality

HK-BEAM provides a single performance label for overall building quality in respect of safety, health and comfort (important to users, occupants, buyers and tenants), and the environment and society (important to the community as a whole). Clients ultimately decide on the merits of certification, but assessments assure quality - not as a subjective promise but as a measured reality. HK-BEAM is notable in that new buildings are not fully certified until they are complete. This came about by popular demand from clients to ensure that design and construction practices are actually implemented and reflected in the final certificate for the built product. Buildings that are planned, built, commissioned and maintained to HK-BEAM standards are safe, healthy, comfortable, efficient and productive with lower environmental impacts.

Whole-life cycle for all building types

HK-BEAM assesses performance across the whole life cycle using two standards:

HK-BEAM for new building developments, which covers planning, design, construction, commissioning and refurbishment; and

HK-BEAM for existing premises, focusing on management, operation and maintenance.

Assessments encourage detailed design analysis, using computer-aided tools including computational fluid dynamics to predict project aspects such as the anticipated microclimate. Design is just one stage of the development process, however. HK-BEAM also helps to focus attention during construction and operation so that the design intent can be fulfilled, and it also provides feedback so that plans meet construction and operational needs. All buildings under single ownership can be assessed using HK-BEAM, including commercial, residential, retail, catering, industrial, educational, institutional and hotel buildings. Any mix of central cooling, mechanical ventilation or natural ventilation is catered for, whether to the shell or fitted out. In all cases, HK-BEAM focuses on what the designer, builder and commissioning agent can achieve.

2.2 The historical background and the recent development of Sustainable Buildings

In Hong Kong, green building is not a well-known term until the recent years when the environmental impacts has reached an alarming stage. To understand the evolution of different building types in Hong Kong can help to understand more about green building concept. Furthermore, building development in Hong Kong, particularly for green commercial buildings, should be investigated so that a general picture of green building in Hong Kong can be provided. This would make the investigation of green building policy more complete and thorough. Beatley (2000) admits that the green design and intelligent buildings have drawn great attention and interests of the society including government and also private sectors in recent years only. The reason for Hong Kong to adopt the concept of green building is to avoid large sum of expenditure on buildings' energy consumption, particularly in the commercial sector Air-conditioned offices started to expand in the 1960s when Hong Kong begins its economic development. Energy was comparatively cheap and issues related to energy were not taken into consideration by interior designers and architects. Energy-efficient buildings were then demanded in the 1970s after the oil embargo incident in 1973. However, the over-responsive cutback in trying to reduce energy use led to 'sick building' as well as 'sick building syndrome'. Intelligent building which came right after was also abandoned due to the lack of well-trained technical staff. Finally, the idea of green building is gradually being adopted (Chan, Burnett & Jones, 2000).

Early as in 1992, the United Nations revealed a programmer related to sustainable development, which is the Agenda 21. It is a comprehensive blueprint of action to be taken in response of all humans' impact on the environment. In the construction industry, Agenda 21 calls for ecologically sound land-use policies, energy-efficient design, an increased input of locally available resources and the valorisation of traditional and indigenous building techniques. Cooperation among government and non-government entities are called upon in reducing the cost of building materials for low-income citizens and to promote the use of labour-intensive practices in order to generate employment (United Nations, 1992). In Hong Kong, the 'Green Building Movement' was initiated by the Government to promote green and innovative building. This movement was launched to bring forth the concept of environmentally friendly design.

Hong Kong faces substantial increase in population every year and the living environment is the major concern for all. Only if the environmental protection measures being widely implemented, the living environment can then be ensured.

Therefore, there is a growing concern of the environmental performance in Hong Kong (Smith, 1999).

2.3 Government efforts and their effectiveness in the promotion of Sustainable Buildings

2.3.1 Legislative framework

Various departments are involved in making and enforcing policy concerning environmental protection. The Advisory Council on the Environment (ACE) advises the Government on measures for the prevention and abatement of pollution. The Environmental Campaign Committee organizes events in Hong Kong to promote community environmental awareness and administers part of the Environment and Conservation Fund. The Environmental Protection Department formulates policies and handles specific environmental issues. Each of the Ordinances regulates activities of a particular field. Those related to the construction industry include

The Noise Control Ordinance

The Air Pollution Control Ordinance

The Water Pollution Control Ordinance

The Waste Disposal Ordinance

The Dumping at Sea Ordinance

The Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance

Other government departments such as Planning Department, Civil Engineering

Department and Buildings Departments all work together at different construction phases to enhance Hong Kong building environment.

Basically, Buildings Department is the main body to promote the quality of building developments. Through administering and enforcing the Buildings Ordinance (BO), it takes a leading role and advocate a joint effort with the building industry and other government departments or agencies to promote a sustainable built environment in Hong Kong; implements good practices of green management in our workplace; and raises the awareness of the public of the importance of a sustainable environment in our community.

2.3.2 Green building policies

Different types of green building policy instruments are used by Hong Kong government to promote green building and limiting environmental damages of building (Chan, Burnett & Jones, 2000). All of them come together to form the basis of green building policies in Hong Kong.

2.3.3 Joint Practice Notes

The Buildings Department, Lands Department and the Planning Department collectively issued Joint Practice Notes (JPN) No. 1 in February in 2001 and JPN No.2 in February in 2002. The Joint Practice Notes No. 1 sets out the incentives to encourage the incorporation of specific green features in building development, such as,


Wider common corridors and lift lobbies,

Communal sky gardens,

Communal podium gardens,

Acoustic fins,

Sunshades and reflectors, and

Wing walls, wind catchers and funnels.

These features will be exempted from Gross Floor Area (GFA) and Site Coverage (SC) calculations. In JPN No. 2, further addition of green features is made. They include:

non-structural prefabricated external walls,

utility platforms

mail delivery rooms with mailboxes,

noise barriers, and

communal sky gardens for non-residential buildings.

There are altogether eleven specific types of green features which can apply for exemptions from gross floor area and/or site coverage in new buildings.

The incentives on green building features served as catalysts to spark off momentum and desire for environmentally friendly building developments (Wu, 2004). They are initial steps in achieving green building in Hong Kong by encouraging designers and developers from adopting environmentally friendly features in building developments.

It is an established government policy to encourage and promote the construction of green and innovative buildings (Government Press Release LCQ 9, 2006).

Subject to the relevant lease conditions, payment of premium may be required in respect of the exemption of GFA of the relevant type of green features (Government Press Release LCQ 16, 2006). Green features which form part of the individual flats in the building and are for the exclusive possession and enjoyment of the owners and residents of these individual flats would attract premium, i.e. including balconies, utility platforms and non-structural prefabricated external walls. Other green features which are communal in nature and serve all owners and residents of the development e.g. wider common corridors and lift lobbies, communal sky gardens and mail delivery room with mail boxes do not attract payment of premium.

2.3.4 Guidelines

In addition to the JPNs, there are other issues to promote green buildings. A number of Practice Notes for Authorized Persons and Registered Structural Engineers relating to environmentally friendly design and construction and Code of Practice are issued to assist in clarifying uncertainties that the professionals may encounter in meeting the environmental standards in construction industry. These codes are adapted from time to time in order to fit the legislation. However, they do not have legal powers but only serve as an interpretation of the legislation from the perspective of government and provide directions for people to follow.

2.3.5 Energy efficiency regulation in commercial building

The Building (Energy Efficiency) Regulations was enacted in 21/9/2012 to regulate commercial and hotel buildings. Buildings are designed and constructed as to achieve energy efficiency to the satisfaction of Building Authority. The Building Envelope code, which imposes suitable OTTV (Overall Thermal Transfer Value), has been linked with the Building (Energy Efficiency) Regulation under the Building Ordinance. They come together to form a mandatory requirement for new commercial and hotel buildings.

Hong Kong's proposed Mandatory Building Energy Codes (2008) will require new commercial buildings and the communal areas of new residential and industrial buildings in both the private and public sectors, as well as major retro-fitting works in existing buildings to comply with the Building Energy Codes promulgated by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department. Energy audits would be required for certain buildings for every 10 years. To complement the proposed legislative scheme, buildings that have exceeded the minimum building energy efficiency standards by a prescribed percentage will be complemented with an energy mark through a voluntary administrative scheme.

2.3.6 Gross floor area (GFA) concessions

Friday 1st April marks a historical day in Hong Kong's progress towards more sustainable, low-carbon and environmentally responsible buildings.

From today, developers that seek gross floor area (GFA) concessions for green features in their new buildings are required to undergo BEAM Plus green building certification by the Hong Kong Green Building Council (HKGBC), helping to improve performance in the areas of energy, water, materials, waste, indoor environment and impacts on the neighbourhood.

Other new requirements include declaration of the building's predicted energy consumption, increased areas of planting and greening, and enhancement of the streetscape and urban air ventilation around their sites. The concessions available, having met these new requirements, are now capped at a maximum 10%.

The fact that these new measures are mandatory represents a giant step forward for Hong Kong on the world green building stage. However the significance of this - and the benefits to the quality of our built environment - has largely been lost in the broader public debate on Hong Kong's development practices.

Escalating concerns about global warming and recent events in Japan also remind us of the effects on communities that can arise from providing the energy that we are all dependent upon. We have to remember that the most cost effective (and environmentally responsible) way to reduce our carbon emissions is to prevent energy wastage.

Hong Kong's buildings consume 90% of our electricity and are the origin of 67% of our carbon emissions. Every building in Hong Kong (and there are more than 40,000) can benefit from energy saving measures both during their day to day use and also their renovation and refurbishment. This presents unique opportunities for us not just in terms of reducing our carbon footprint, but also in adding to the economy through new products and services and creating a more healthy environment and an even better place to live.

HKGBC applauds the Government for the measures being introduced today as an important step on our path to a more sustainable built environment. We also encourage the community as a whole to embrace the same determination in enhancing their buildings' performance.(Andrew Chan, 2011)

2.3.7 Other provisions

Besides the issuance of different notes, codes and guidelines, Government has also launched other programs to emphasize the importance of sustainability of a building.

A number of initiatives on building safety and timely maintenance, such as promoting clearance of unauthorized building works; a public consultation document on "Building Management and Maintenance" was issued to create green initiatives. A Comprehensive Environmental Performance Assessment Scheme (CEPAS) for rating and benchmarking the environmental performance of building developments in Hong Kong will be produced. CEPAS aims to be tailor-made for situations in Hong Kong.

These are hoped to provide driving force to the industry as well as building owners to adopt green building features in their building developments.

2.4 Major Barriers in the development of sustainable buildings

"70% of Hong Kong developers and landlords believe the government is not providing sufficient regulatory structures to promote sustainability in the real-estate sector." (Ina Pozon 2010)

In many countries, tenant preference has been the main driver behind the "greening" of buildings. In Asia, multinational companies, usually the anchor tenants of new commercial buildings encourage their property-management departments to contract new leases in green buildings. Lucy Carmody, executive director of Responsible Research, an environment, social and governance (ESG) research outfit that in early 2010 released an investor report on green buildings in Asia, points out that the real-estate industry in Hong Kong "suffers from a shortage of supply of the type of buildings which are in demand by both local leading companies and MNCs [multinational corporations]."

Alongside the perception of higher upfront costs, Carmody identifies the shortage of sites for new buildings as one key reason why sustainable-building initiatives have been slow to take off in Hong Kong. "The situation in China is different due to a strong focus on municipal-level sustainable city planning, green fiscal stimulus and many MNCs looking for large, newly built premises of the highest green specifications," she says.

Another analysis considers the split incentive between the developer/owner of a property and the tenant, which has been labelled the "blame game". Put simply, there is insufficient incentive for the developer to build in more energy-efficient equipment, even if the costs are recouped over its lifetime, as it is the tenant - and not the developer - who benefits from lower electricity bills. Developers are usually under pressure to complete the project in the shortest timeframe possible and at the lowest cost, and will only consider additional spending on technology if this impacts the buying or leasing decision.

Low electricity tariffs, which fail to internalise the true environmental, health and other associated costs of production and distribution of power, do not incentivise investment in energy efficiency either, though this problem is not particular to Hong Kong.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to sustainability in Hong Kong's building sector, however, is the lack of the kind of regulation that can correct market failures and signal to the relevant players that greenhouse-gas and energy-efficiency issues are in fact material. A new energy-efficiency law, known as the Building Energy Efficiency Bill, is currently pending but has already been criticised by environmental organisation Friends of the Earth (FoE) as being "nothing more than a fig leaf". The lighting conservation standards for offices, restaurants and building atria adopted in the bill lag behind other countries. Take the standards for office lighting as an example: the bill recommends a maximum of 17 watts per square metre, well above the 7 watts per square metre applied in Australia and the 10.8 watts per square metre mandated in India. 

"The energy conservation standard for lighting in the Mandatory Building Energy Codes (MBEC) for Hong Kong is of a developing-country standard that falls far behind mainland China and India," says Edwin Lau, director of FoE Hong Kong. "So we are doubtful of our government's commitment in conserving energy for the environment."

How does the Hong Kong government justify adopting standards lower than those in mainland China or India? While there is no direct answer to this question, part of the explanation can perhaps be gleaned from the stakeholder-engagement process for the MBEC launched in December 2007, as documented in a report from the Climate Change Business Forum (CCBF), an initiative that aims to get Hong Kong's businesses to collaborate on tackling climate change. While the consultation involved a large number of groups ranging from members of the public to professional organisations, the information gathered and the methodology employed in analysing the responses were largely untransparent.

According to the CCBF report, "Respondents have not been segregated or analysed by group or vested interest despite an apparent bias in the consultation towards property developers, owners and managers. In addition the assumptions behind government statements regarding the savings, costs and benefits of the proposed efficiency levels have not been published."

2.5 Possible ways to overcome these barriers

In the absence of government regulations, the industry, led by property developers Swire Properties and Hong Kong Land, put together voluntary initiatives including the Hong Kong Building Environmental Assessment Method (HK BEAM) certification, which aims to measure, improve and label the environmental performance of buildings. It was inspired by a similar green-building rating system in the United Kingdom, the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM). As of October 2009, HK BEAM had provided recognition for enhanced building performance to nearly 200 Hong Kong properties, equivalent to 9 million square metres and 50,000 residential units.

In 2009, four industry leaders- The Construction Industry Council, the Business Environment Council, the BEAM Society and the Professional Green Building Council - came together to establish the Hong Kong Green Building Council, which aims to engage stakeholders and foster greater understanding of green building issues. The Council, supported by the Hong Kong Development Bureau, will take the lead in revamping voluntary green building labelling schemes and lobby for sustainable initiatives such as energy codes.

Experts in the industry are clear, however, that voluntary initiatives are no substitute for regulation. A 2009 survey conducted by property services firm Jones Lang LaSalle indicates that 70% of Hong Kong developers and landlords believe the government is not providing sufficient regulatory structures to promote sustainability in the real-estate sector. However, this may change as the government contemplates the adoption of a territory-wide carbon target of a 50% to 60% reduction in carbon intensity by 2020, with building energy efficiency slated as a major priority. 

The Jones Lang LaSalle report concludes that, while there is recognition that developers and landlords play a critical role in promoting sustainability, the industry views government guidance as an essential supporting framework. "The regulatory framework will need a radical overhaul to deliver significant carbon reductions," notes Liam Salter, chief executive of RESET Carbon Management, a firm that helps companies lower their carbon footprint, and one of the lead authors of the CCBF report. "The government has been particularly wary of regulating existing building stock and this will need to change."

(Ina Pozon 2010)

An underlying intent of this research project was to plant the seeds for a formal best practice guide for overcoming the barriers to sustainable construction and design. Through a research of construction industry best practice organizations, there does not currently exist a best practice guide for sustainability. The best two ways to overcome the barriers of sustainable construction and design are experience in previous projects and pre-project planning. Unfortunately, experience in previous projects cannot be taught in a formal training session, only appreciated that overcoming the barriers to sustainable construction will only get easier as a company completes several projects. But, as with many barriers that exist to all phases of a project, spending an extensive amount of time in the pre-project phase usually brings a high level of success. A best practice should definitely be developed on the implementation of the extensive pre-project planning of sustainable projects.

The three main factors that contribute to Hong Kong building more sustainable projects were culture and community influence, higher cost of energy, and more government regulation. An interesting topic for further study to develop a best practice guide for sustainability would be how can the rest of the country create a similar culture and community attitude to promote the success of building green? Or, what is the inspiration or source that causes Hong Kong to have such a strong community push for sustainable design and construction? Almost all of the responses from Asian were the highest ranking for community and culture influence.

If sustainability is measured in a building's durability and life span, another interesting topic for further research and study would be to perform a correlation study between building life span and sustainability. If a building lasts twice as long as another building, then technically, is the building twice as sustainable as another since it does not have to be rebuilt? How can companies promote the use of materials that last up to 100 years or more? Most bridges in the United States were built to only last 50 years, but there are many structures around the world that have been standing for a 1000 years. Surely, a bridge that has to be built 20 times to last 1000 years is not very sustainable, no matter how many sustainable products are used in its construction. How may the priorities of sustainable construction change in the future?

Though an immense amount of material was organized, cross-referenced, and analyzed for this research project, there still exists an incredible amount of data that has not been addressed. Further more focused and intensive research could be acquired through the use of personal interviews with the Hong Kong contractors that took part in this research. Also, outside of this text, further research could be studied concerning more specific details of overcoming the barriers to sustainable construction and design.

2.6 Sustainability could be adopted in Hong Kong and how they could be implemented

Renewable Energy

Energy-efficient Lighting

High Performance Building Envelopes

Variable-frequency Chiller Systems

Heat Recovery Systems

Automatic Fresh Air Systems

Maximizing daylight and controlling solar gain - Electric lighting energy use is reduced by occupancy and daylight sensors and low energy fittings wherever possible. The central three storey glazed street is protected by brise-soleil on the southern façade. Solar control glass is employed on the rest of the south facing glazing.

Visible sustainability' - It is not very common for building plant to be put on display, but the college wanted to actively encourage its students to take an interest in the environment through the use of 'visual' sustainability. Consequently the energy centre is placed in a prominent public location at the front of the building, with large glazed panels allowing good views of the Biomass boiler. An LCD display resides in the main entrance to display and monitor the performance of the PV panels and wind turbine, also linking this to its website. It is understood that since opening the new college has attracted a higher quality of student.

Biomass - The Biomass boiler can use wood pellets or chips as the fuel source. Though wood chip is being used initially. The fuel is sustainable and almost carbon neutral. The boiler provides 80% of the Heating and domestic hot water maximum demand, with gas boilers providing the remainder 'peak' load.

Natural ventilation - The building is predominantly naturally ventilated, and windows and equipment linked to the building management system (BMS) control heating and cooling. Most of the teaching pods off of the main atrium have exposed precast concrete plank ceilings. These provide thermal mass to help to moderate temperature changes. Night-time cooling is achieved via high level windows linked to the BMS.

Photovoltaic glass and Wind turbine - The front entrance is almost fully glazed with photovoltaic laminate. In combination with the solar control glazing, the dense arrangement of the PVs as well as creating electricity, also contributes to limiting solar gain. A wind turbine takes advantage of the site's elevation. The turbine and PV's between them generate a respectable amount of power for the college. In between term times, these installations will continue to provide energy back to the National Grid, thus building up an additional saving on energy costs for the College.

Sustainable drainage - Due to the impermeable clay soils allowing little absorption and poor surrounding drainage infrastructure, a large number of attenuation tanks and swales have been installed to keep the water on site..

Rainwater Harvesting - Rainwater is stored in an 8400 litre tank and used for flushing toilets in the teaching block. This can be topped up from the mains if required in a drought. The tank storage is also designed for fire brigade use if required.

Materials - Many achieved an 'A' rating in the Building Research Establishments (BRE) Green guide to specification. This guide gives guidance on best environmental choices - materials and components on an elemental basis, It assess from 'Cradle to Grave' on A+ to E ranking. It is now available free online to assessors, clients and design teams

Chapter 3 Research Methodology3.1 Introduction

For this dissertation, the aims are to identify suitable approach in the development of sustainable buildings in Hong Kong. Therefore, a research should be carried out to find out the actual situation of the development of sustainable buildings and then compare with the point of view from the literature review.

Actually, the aims of the research are as follow:

Find out the level of knowledge of sustainable buildings in Hong Kong.

Find out the government policy can be effectively to development of sustainable buildings in Hong Kong

3.2 Background of Research Methodology

For the method of research methodology, there are mainly two methods of research. They are 1. Qualitative method and 2. Quantitative method. In fact, these two methods have their advantages and disadvantages.

Firstly, Strauss (1987) states that qualitative methods emphasize the use of descriptions and categories, derived from the experiences of people, as a means of understanding and explaining phenomena. Through the use of open-ended interviews, focus groups, participant observation/ethnography, documentary materials, and behavioral surveys, qualitative methods engage research questions through inductive reasoning and "grounded theory". Like the approach of quantitative methodology, qualitative methods rely on a systematic and structured approach to data collection, organization, and analysis. In this way, qualitative methods can be understood as more than a supplementary option to conducting quantitative research.

Qualitative methods often consist of words that describe an experience or impression from the point of view of the people being studied. However, the observations and experiences related by program managers and project staff are also an important part of the qualitative methodology. Some commonly used qualitative methods are focus groups and knowledge, attitudes, and practices surveys.

On the other hand, Strauss (1987) states that quantitative methods emphasize the use of numbers and statistics to understand and explain phenomena. In this approach, answers to countable questions are derived through the collection of numerical data. Quantitative methods enable researchers and practitioners to better understand social structures and to make general statements over wide populations on a number of social topics ranging from infant mortality to unemployment. Numerical data provide an opportunity to initiate correlation studies, and to track changes over time.

For instance, quantitative methods can be used to determine the number of behaviour change communication messages prepared, the number of condoms distributed, or the number or frequency of clinical services delivered. Quantitative methods can also be in the form of surveys that seek numerical information that can lead to a better understanding of how to conduct programmatic work.

3.3 Limitation of Research

Practically, all the research methods have their own advantages. On the other hand, they also have their own limitations. In this part, it will analysis the limitation of the regarding three research methods (Case Study, Questionnaire Survey and interview).

Case Study:

The major limitation of case study method for this dissertation is the data may be limited to one construction contract only. It is because case study can give more detail of data to be analysis. Therefore, it cannot collect the information from too many sites within the limited time to be completed.

Moreover, the results of case study may not generalize to others. In fact, the data or result may not be applied to other construction site. It can only reflect the actual situation of the regarding site to be research. For example, the data of building works cannot be applied to civil work or renovation works.

Questionnaire Survey:

For the questionnaire survey, the limitation is that the collected information is not so much detail compared with case study. But it can reflect the actual situation or opinion from different professionals or other workers. Apart from this, the data to be collected may have some errors because the respondent may not know the issue on Sustainable Buildings in Hong Kong. Then he or she may give the wrong answer in the questionnaire and thus the data analysis may have some errors.


Inadequate information:

There are certain matters which can be written in privacy but about which one does not speak before others. If these matters are subject of an interview, the likelihood is that only a disguised version of these will be presented. Again, there are people who are temperamentally unable to discuss things though they are powerful writers. These persons are also unlikely to present true facts in an interview.

Defects due to interviewee:

If an interviewee is of low level intelligence he is unfit to give correct information. Some persons are in the habit of talking in around about manner and it is impossible to decipher what they say.3.

Prejudices of Interviewer:

The prejudices of interviewers are as much problem of research as are the inadequacies of the interviewees. If the interviewer is unable to suppress his prejudices, his understanding and interpretation of the information given in interview will be defective.

One-sided and incomplete research:

In the interview, certain aspects of human behaviour get over-emphasized at the expense of others. There is a tendency to give too much importance to personal factors and minimize the role of the environment factors. For these reasons, the research by interview is liable to suffer from one-sidedness.

Interviewing is an art rather than science:

Another limitation of interview method is that its procedures cannot be standardized; there is too much room for improvising. The success of an interview is more due to skill and tact than due to knowledge. However, the success in interview depends exclusively on the intelligence and skill of the interviewer. Therefore, the method of interview is more an art than science.

Difficulty in Persuading the Interviewee:

Many people are unwilling to participate in interviews. Under these circumstances, the first problem before the interviewer is to persuade the prospective interviewee to extend his cooperation for the research project and agree for being interviewed.

3.4 Choose of Research

Refer to the limitation of research. There are actually two research methods to determine the actual situation of development of sustainable buildings in Hong Kong issues in this dissertation. They are 1. Case Study and 2. Questionnaire Survey. For case study, it is a qualitative method. On the other hand, questionnaire survey is a quantitative method.

Case Study:

This case study is used to investigate the actual condition of development of sustainable buildings in Hong Kong. The research will find out the government efforts and their effectiveness in the promotion of Sustainable Buildings.

Questionnaire Survey:

This questionnaire survey is to collect the information and data under difference construction site about sustainable buildings. This questionnaire survey is used to find out the actual situation for the level of knowledge of sustainable buildings in Hong Kong.

The questionnaire will be send to the persons who are engaged in the construction field. It will send out approximate 50 nos. of questionnaire by e-mail or by hand. Moreover, the period of this survey is about 2 months and the period is from Nov, 2012 to Jan, 2013.

3.5 Details of the Questionnaire Survey

According to Appendix 1 and for the details of the questionnaire survey, it contains total 25 questions to be answered. Generally, it divides in 5 parts. The structures of the questionnaire are as follow:



1 to 5

Personal data of those invited responders.


6 to 10

Historical background and the recent development of Sustainable Buildings.


11 to 15

Government efforts and their effectiveness in the promotion of Sustainable Buildings.


16 to 20

Major Barriers and possible ways to overcome in the development of sustainable buildings.


21 to 25

Explore possible ways to overcome these barriers.

Table 1: Structures of the Questionnaire Survey

According to the Table 1, part 1 is to collect the general information of the respondent. Part 1 contains 5 questions. It mainly includes the personal information of the respondent regarding the construction firm who are engaged and the working experience of the respondent. It is used to collect the data of respondent from different construction firm and different working experience in construction field. Moreover, if the respondent has more working experience in construction field, the credibility is higher.

Furthermore, for part 2, it contains 5 questions. The aim of this part is to collect the knowledge of the respondent which is cognition the historical background and the recent development of Sustainable Buildings

Moreover, there are 5 questions in part 3. It is used to review the government efforts and their effectiveness in the promotion of Sustainable Buildings.

Moreover, there are 5 questions in part 4. It is used to review the major Barriers in the development of sustainable buildings and possible ways to overcome these barriers.

Lastly, there are 5 questions in part 5. It is used to collect the type(s) of sustainability could be adopted in Hong Kong and how they could be implemented

Article name: The Development Of Sustainable Buildings Environmental Sciences essay, research paper, dissertation