Fast-paced, stylish and sophisticated are some of the words that visitors would use to describe their impressions of Hong Kong, but so are noisy, frenetic and polluted. Hong Kong recently ranked second in the world’s highest greenhouse gas emission according to Green Power’s local and non-local measurements. The city’s Environmental Protection Department informs the public of the daily Air Quality Health Index, from one (low) to 10 (serious). Emissions are not only produced by Hong Kong, but also by a concentration of large factories in neighbouring regions of southeast China.
Due to its geographical location in the subtropics, Hong Kong has a long rainy season from April to September. The 'Rainstorm Warning System' with three levels of warning – amber, red and black – is announced over the media so everyone can take precautions. In recent years black rainstorms have become more frequent, causing traffic jams, road floods and landslides. Together with the AQHI, they are telling signs of increasing pollution throughout the past decade.
As a reaction to this, many organisations have sprung up in Hong Kong to take green initiatives, educating locals and getting them involved...
Zero Carbon Building
The Zero Carbon Building, located in Kowloon Bay, features exhibition and education areas, a multi-purpose hall, home and office space, an outdoor square and café, all equipped with the latest environmental-friendly facilities.
At the entrance to the ZCB square, there are earth air tubes protruding in the shape of candy canes from the ground. These are part of a system of pipes that draws warm air from the outdoors to beneath the surface, where it is naturally cooled and then fed to air-conditioners. High-volume low-speed fans boast a patented blade design that reduces energy consumption to a minimum while functioning silently and efficiently. On top of the building, large wind catchers allow air to flow indoors via wind pressures. The high temperature cooling system intelligently manipulates rising warm air and falling cold air to provide air circulation.
Zero Carbon Building
Besides environmentally-friendly air-cooling methods, light guide pipes further lower energy consumption by deflecting natural light indoors. High efficiency windows filter in optimal light while shielding off heat. Other features such as light shelves and heat-reflecting shades all create a more comfortable space without using power.
Urban farming is another green initiative that has been growing in popularity. While farmlands have all but disappeared due to urbanisation, rooftop gardens have mushroomed throughout the city. Rooftop Republic's urban farming mission is to reconnect people with their food source, and therefore reconnect communities. They work with companies, schools and city dwellers to set up and maintain urban farms on their rooftops. They provide workshops where staff, students and communities can get involved and learn new skills, like growing their own vegetable garden.
Green Monday, as its name suggests, aims to have one meatless day of the week, reducing everything from cow manure to greenhouse gases produced from processing and transportation. Thousands of restaurants, hotels and caterers, F&B industry consultancy, marketing and public relations services, schools and ambassadors are committed to the meaningful movement that begins sustainability from what the food choices we make, to decreasing carbon footprint on a global level. Not a bad way to start the week.
Rooftop Republic Urban Farming: www.facebook.com/RooftopRepublicUrbanFarming
Experience a Green Monday at any one of is partnered restaurants, see greenmonday.org/restaurants/hk