Tuesday, 1 December 2015

CS: Building a greener city

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam

Real estate development is Hong Kong's lifeline and building a quality city through heritage conservation, harbourfront enhancement, urban regeneration and green environment topped my policy priorities during my tenure as the Secretary for Development. Although real estate and city development matters are under the Financial Secretary rather than the Chief Secretary, I can assure you that I continue to remain passionate about our city environment and will not hesitate to overstep my portfolio when that is necessary for the betterment of Hong Kong, a city I love and appreciate.

 

Back in 2008 when I first spoke at the opening ceremony of MIPIM Asia, the world economy was suffering severely from the financial tsunami. The outlook for the Hong Kong economy and property market was rather gloomy at that time. I recall that battling against adversity seemed to be the hidden theme of MIPIM Asia 2008, against the backdrop of negative market sentiment. But there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to the contributions of all of you and the endeavours of the community, we have not only survived the difficult times but also taken a great step forward in making our economy stronger. The implementation of mega infrastructure projects and the booming of the property market, partly driven by an acute shortage, helped sustain the real estate sector, which in turn contributes to the economic growth and long-term competitiveness of the territory. Other than the growing number of projects, I am much encouraged by the positive results of an area-based approach we have adopted in delivering quality developments, for example in the Energising Kowloon East initiative.  

 

Big green push

Green building is a subject dear to my heart as it has been another important initiative of the Development Bureau introduced during my tenure. This initiative takes forward the development of the city in a sustainable manner and contributes to combating climate change. I am pleased to say that in recent years, the Government has worked in concert with the Hong Kong Green Building Council (HKGBC) in giving green buildings a big push in Hong Kong. The HKGBC is now a highly regarded institution tasked to promote green buildings in Hong Kong, including conducting comprehensive environment assessment on buildings under the "BEAM Plus" assessment. The HKGBC has just co-organised, along with the Construction Industry Council (CIC), the World Green Building Council Congress 2015 in Hong Kong at the end of October, and has won the honour of hosting the World Sustainable Built Environment Conference in 2017.

 

To lead by example, new government buildings are now adopting various forms of energy efficient features, greening measures and renewable energy technologies, while buildings exceeding a certain size are subject to "BEAM Plus" assessment. The newly commissioned Trade & Industry Tower in the Kai Tak development area is a case in point in adopting innovative green building designs and it has attained the Grand Award of the Green Building Award, the Platinum rating in BEAM Plus and the Platinum certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) of the US Green Building Council.  

 

Without doubt, the promotion of green buildings needs concerted efforts. Participation from the private sector is indispensable. I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to private developers to join this green building movement in order to provide a sustainable living environment for our future generations.  

 

The MIPIM Asia Awards are the industry's highest honour. I am excited to know there are four Hong Kong projects which have been shortlisted for the MIPIM Asia 2015 Awards and one of them is our government project, namely the Tin Shui Wai Sports Centre and Community Hall, in the category of Best Innovative Green Building. I am sure every project team must have worked very hard to strive for these accolades. I am thankful for their efforts in delivering their best projects to our community.

 

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam gave these remarks at 2015 MIPIM Asia Awards Gala Dinner.

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