Hong Kong is among the cities considered most vulnerable to global warming.
Hong Kong's green building with reflective elements is a good example of sustainable, environment-friendly building design. Energy consumption in its showcase buildings was cut by 40 percent compared with typical Hong Kong buildings.
The three defining structures stand like jade boxes. Inside the towers are fledgling startups, dedicated to researching environment-friendly technologies.
This is the showcase for Hong Kong's bid to turn into the Asian hub for "nurturing development and renewable energy technologies". Built into the compound are 48 features, reflecting state-of-the-art, green technologies and sustainable building design. Three curtain walls on each of the showcase buildings take full advantage of natural light, contributing significantly to the overall 40 percent reduction in power consumption.
With specially designed silver coating on the curtain walls, and reflective material on the rooftops, the buildings are shielded from the full blast of the sun's blistering heat during summer's hottest days.
The buildings are air-conditioned by a district cooling system, consisting of centralized, chiller plants and water pipes to distribute cooled water to different buildings. This method differs from older designs, which rely on several chiller plants and are only energy efficient with economies of scale and could not be tailored to only cool an individual unit.
In buildings with such older designs, even if only one user turns on the air conditioner, one chiller plant has to work and supplies much more power than that person's need, resulting in energy wastage, explained Lui in safety vest. In contrast, centralized chiller plants can avoid this problem and minimize energy waste during light load periods.