Conservation International’s Hong Kong office is the first to receive Platinum status in BEAM Plus Interiors certification for its eco-conscious workspace. Tamsin Bradshaw writes.
Conservation International believes in practicing what it preaches – as evidenced by its new “Green Sky” office in Windsor House, Causeway Bay, which keeps the nature conservation organisation’s environmental footprint to a minimum. Created in collaboration with BeeXergy Consulting and Yauki Construction Company, Green Sky recently achieved Platinum status under the BEAM Plus Interiors system, the highest rating available.
BEAM Plus Interiors is an assessment tool introduced by the Hong Kong Green Building Council, and it covers new and existing buildings and their tenants. The assessment scheme takes into consideration everything from green building attributes and management to indoor air quality and innovations. The Hong Kong Green Building Council is a non-profit organisation working to elevate environmental standards in the building industry.
“As the first office in Hong Kong to finish the BEAM Interiors certification programme, we didn’t have other models to follow or peers to ask for advice on their experience,” says Jude Wu, Managing Director of Conservation International Hong Kong.
Ninety-nine per cent of waste from the renovation itself was transported to a recycling facility in Tuen Mun. Ongoing eco-conscious measures include water savings of 60 per cent, thanks to low-flow water aerators on all the taps, plus a 40.9 per cent reduction in Lighting Power Density (LPD). This was achieved through motion sensors, which activate lighting when someone comes into the room; long-life LED bulbs; access to natural light in every area; and the use of high energy-efficient appliances. The environmental organisation also introduced an Energy Manager system from Enerwise Global Technologies. “The system includes hardware that connects to our power metres, which feeds real-time data of how much electricity is being used in each zone in our office,” says Wu. “Web-based software allows us to view real-time dashboard and historical graphs and reports of our electricity usage – including usage by kilowatt hour, financial cost, and impact on the environment.”
Green Sky also features a Net Effect carpet from Interface, which sees discarded fishing nets collected by fishermen in the Philippines and then repurposed as carpet tiles.
For BeeXergy consultant Kelvin Hah, who worked with Conservation International on the project, long-term thinking was key. “The office renovation is just the beginning and if it ends when the renovation is complete, something has gone wrong,” he says. “The renovation just sets the stage to help the company achieve its green goals more easily.”
With clever budgeting and creative thinking, the office fit-out cost HK$740 per square foot, which is well within the average fit-out cost range. Says Wu, “Come up with a list of non-negotiables and incorporate them at the design stage, then all else follows. Our ultimate vision was to create beautiful, healthy and inspiring offices for staff and guests.”