LCQ4: Electricity consumption and energy efficiency of new CGO and LegCo Complex

     Following is a question by Hon Audrey Eu and a reply by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (July 4):


     According to the Government's reply to the Legislative Council (LegCo) earlier, both the expenditure on electricity and the electricity consumption per square metre have increased by several folds after the Government Headquarters and LegCo were relocated to the present sites.  Although the new Central Government Complex (CGC) have vertical greening and roof greening features and plans are in place to conduct energy-cum-carbon audits on the new CGC and the LegCo Complex in consultation with the LegCo Secretariat, electricity consumption still increases by folds.  Given that the new-term Chief Executive and the Secretary for the Environment of the new-term Government will be taking office, and as the saying goes, "new people invariably bring new style of work", will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it has plans to review the electricity consumption and energy efficiency of the new CGC and the LegCo Complex with a view to minimisng electricity consumption and maximisng energy efficiency as far as possible; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;

(b) given that 48 per cent of the electricity consumption in the new CGC arises from air-conditioning, whether the Government has counter-measures in place to drastically reduce the use of air-conditioning in the new CGC; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(c) whether the new-term Government has plans to study the feasibility of minimisng the use of air-conditioning in the new CGC Low Block, in which the Office of the Chief Executive is located, so as to set an example of green, low-carbon and energy conserving practices for members of the public?



     The Tamar Development Project is a sustainable development project which has incorporated a variety of environmental friendly features, e.g. energy efficient sea-water cooled chiller plants, green roof, photovoltaic panels, daylight sensors and computerisd lighting controls, building façade design with non-reflective low-E (low emissivity) coating insulated glass etc.  These green features will reduce the overall building energy consumption.  The Project is anticipated to achieve the highest rating, i.e. Platinum, under the building environmental assessment method by the Hong Kong Green Building Council.

     Despite the fact that a series of green features had already been provided, there is a difference in the total electricity consumption between the old Central Government Offices (CGO) and the new CGO because their sizes, facilities, the number of Bureaux and Offices accommodated as well as the design are different.  A number of new facilities such as the auditorium, conference hall and communal conference rooms have also been provided inside the new CGO.  Due to their operational and design needs, these new common facilities are provided with higher ceiling heights and larger internal spaces, resulting in higher electricity consumption on air conditioning and lighting systems.  In addition, there is a consolidated server centre (the Centre) occupying one whole floor in both the East and West Wings of the new CGO.  The Centre houses vast numbers of computing server equipment.  Since the Centre has to operate at a relatively lower room temperature round the clock, the electricity consumption of the Centre alone already accounts for about 25 per cent to 30 per cent of the total electricity consumption.  On the overall design, in order to provide a wind corridor to the Admiralty office area, the majority of the facilities of the new CGO is east-west oriented, against the old CGO which is primarily north-south oriented.  This factor has also increased the loading on the air conditioning system.

     Besides, the operating hours of the central air conditioning system has also attributed to the higher electricity consumption.  The normal operating hours of the central air-conditioning system for office areas of the old CGO was 8am to 7pm on working weekdays from Monday to Friday.  Outside these hours, air conditioning was provided by air-conditioners on a need basis.  The central air-conditioning for the new CGO is provided on a zonal basis based on the operating hours of individual Bureaux/Offices, generally from 7am to 8pm on working weekdays From Monday to Friday.  Some offices need a longer central air-conditioning period due to operational need, and the electricity consumption on lighting and computer systems also increased correspondingly.

     My reply to the three-part question raised by the Hon Audrey Eu is as follows:

(a) In the construction of the new CGO and the Legislative Council (LegCo) Complex, a computerised building energy management system has been provided for each building to monitor and analyse their energy consumption status.  This system operates 24 hours a day to monitor the electricity consumption of the buildings concerned.  The Architectural Services Department has assisted the Government and the LegCo Secretariat to analyse the monthly electricity consumption data collected for each building and review the implementation of energy saving measures, e.g. rescheduling the operating hours of the lighting, lift and air-conditioning systems at office floors and communal areas.  To further reduce electricity consumption, the Administration Wing will also remind users of the new CGO building on office energy saving measures, such as turning off the lighting and computer equipments during non-office hours or while they are away, lower the sun blinds before leaving office and on weekends/holidays so as to limit the sunlight entering the office area, hence reducing the air conditioning load.  The Administration will continue to closely monitor the electricity consumption of the new CGO as well as conducting carbon audit for monitoring and improving the situation of green gas emission.

(b) Air conditioning system normally accounts for 50 per cent of the total building electricity consumption for office buildings in Hong Kong.  Apart from adopting measures as mentioned in part (a) above, we will continue to review the operating hours of the air-conditioning system in the office areas and communal facilities of the new CGO, and make adjustments to room temperature and air flow volume as far as practicable for energy saving.  We have readjusted the temperature setting in the Centre from 22 degrees Celsius to 23 degrees Celsius.

(c) The energy saving measures mentioned above are also applicable to the building of the Chief Executive's Office.

Ends/Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Issued at HKT 15:33