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EMSD new headquarters fulfils concept of
environmental protection


    The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) had made a wise decision when it chose to convert and reprovision a former cargo terminal building into its new headquarters, the Permanent Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works (Works), Mr Lo Yiu-ching, said today (July 14).

    It set a good example of sustainable development, Mr Lo said.

    "The project has proved that reprovisioning for new usage will give old building a new life and is a viable path.  I hope the same mode could be applied in other government projects in the future so as to create a new culture in the community," he said at the opening ceremony of the EMSD new headquarters.  

    "Hong Kong is an ever-progressing society.  As the executors of works projects, we can easily feel such changes.  The projects we planned and constructed, such as the new Airport, Disney theme park, Shenzhen Western Corridor and West Kowloon Development, have continuously helped to change and improve Hong Kong's economy as well as its outlook, enabling Hong Kong to progress and prosper."

    The EMSD new headquarters, with a gross floor area of 81,000 square metres, is a seven-storey building comprising offices, vehicle workshops and electronics workshops.  Starting from May, about 2,100 staff members began to move in by phases.  With the removal, the department has been able to return two urban sites to the Government for more cost-effective utilisation. They are the department?s former headquarters in Caroline Hill, Causeway Bay, and Kowloon workshop in Sung Wong Toi, To Kwa Wan.  

    The new EMSD headquarters building has been designed to make full use of the concrete structure of the former cargo terminal building as far as possible, resulting in a saving of $600-$700 million.  By retaining most of the concrete and steel structure of the old building, the conversion has greatly reduced the use of energy and construction material as well as construction waste created in the process.  The volume of construction waste saved can fill a four-storey building of the size of a football pitch.

    The new headquarters building has a number of features that will  enhance energy efficiency and use of renewable energy.  The solar photovoltaic system installed on the roof is the largest of its kind in Hong Kong, consisting of more than 2,300 photovoltaic panels with a maximum generation capacity of 350kW.  

    The panels are grid connected with the distribution network of CLP Power, producing about 300,000 to 400,000kWh of electricity annually from direct sunlight.  The amount roughly equals the total electricity consumption by 90 families in Hong Kong or 3% to 4% of the electricity consumption of the headquarters building.  Apart from producing electricity, the system will achieve a reduction of carbon dioxide emission from power stations amounting to 210 to 280 tonnes per annum.

    Besides, "slurry ice" is used to store energy and reduce electricity consumption during the off-peak period of electricity demand.

    The features are designed for making the headquarters building more energy efficient by 10% or more.

    In addition, "ammonia" is used as refrigerant in the new headquarters building to reduce the damage to the ozone layer.

    Other environmental friendly designs of the new headquarters include the use of double-layer curtain wall that can reduce both heat and noise; sun pipes to reflect daylight through groups of reflective pipes; motion and daylight sensors to minimise energy consumption; energy-saving desk lamps; sunshades to reduce energy required for providing air conditioning and grey water recycling system for flushing purposes.

    The Director of Electrical and Mechanical Services, Mr Lai Sze-hoi, said it was the department's aim to create a modern and effective workplace for its staff so that they could better serve the Government and the public.  

    An exhibition gallery and education path have been set up in the headquarters to enable the department to offer on-site public education tours and programmes for students and members of the public on electrical and mechanical safety as well as energy efficiency, he added.  

    The EMSD headquarters building was a winner of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects 2004 Annual Award Merit Award.

Ends/Thursday, July 14, 2005


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