BEAM Plus

BEAM Plus

26 September, 2013
Green interiors
HK Green Building Council launches new assessment system for indoor spaces
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Tired over overly air-conditioned shopping malls?  Do you find that your employees are taking sick leaves more frequently?  We can relate. Buildings with green interiors can help solve these problems while minimizing the impact of buildings on the environment. But what are the steps to ensure a more earth (and people) friendly indoor environment? Most of us aren’t experts, but everyone from restaurateurs to small business owners can benefit from some kind of concrete guidelines on greening interiors. Even better would be some kind of recognition for doing so.
 
Enter BEAM Plus Interiors, a new green assessment rating tool system launched this week by the Hong Kong Green Building Council (HKGBC) and BEAM Society Limited. The new system is applicable to office and retail premises, hotel rooms and function rooms, restaurants, educational facilities and institutional facilities such as hospitals.
 
 “Our commitment to building a green city has to strengthen with the growing environmental challenges we face,” Ir Wong, Chairman of HKGBC, explains of the launch.  “In response to the Industry demand for years, we are now taking a further step to encourage construction companies and designers to adopt a holistic, whole-building strategy to achieve environmental, public health and safety as well as socioeconomic benefits,” He adds, “BEAM Plus Interiors widens the coverage of existing BEAM Plus system to include fit-out, renovation and refurbishment projects of non-domestic, occupied spaces specifically for Hong Kong.”
 
Being the compact city it is, and well-known as the city of skyscrapers, there is potential for Hong Kong to take a green building lead in Asia by greening its existing building stock and employing green building methods in new construction.
 
BEAM is a fully local initiative, and the only such certification truly designed with Hong Kong’s unique characteristics in mind. Devised specifically for new and existing buildings within the local context, the assessment scheme has undergone several stages of refinement and is regularly enhanced to keep pace with evolving industry trends and regulations.
 
John A. Herbert is director of BEAM Society. He chaired the BEAM Interiors steering committee, and is now conducting training for Hong Kong’s professionals to use the BEAM Interiors (BI) new tool.
 
"BI is a new landmark for green building rating tools, designed specifically for the challenges posed by Hong Kong’s vibrant real estate market, and where adopted it will significantly lower the impact on Hong Kong’s environment," Herbert said. "We use more than twice the resources the planet can provide, it’s simply not sustainable.  We need more design, not less, and the BI tool set out some challenges for Hong Kong Interior designers."
 
Requiring only a one-stage assessment process at the end of the fit-out, renovation or refurbishment and associated testing and commissioning, BEAM Plus Interiors offers four certification levels - Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze.  Criteria include Green Building Attributes (GBA); Management (MAN), such as green cleaning and health and safety; Materials Aspects (MA), such as waste recycling facilities; Energy Use (EU); Water Use (WU); Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ), such as indoor planting and air quality; and Innovations (IV).  And unlike other systems, the BI manual is FREE to download from the BEAM Society website.
 
With 40 million square metres of office space alone, not to mention the hundreds and thousands of industrial buildings that will be refurbished in the coming years, there is much room for Hong Kong’s buildings to adopt BEAM Plus Interiors and other BEAM green building certification to help make Hong Kong a greener, more liveable city – indoors and out.
 
For more information about HKGBC, visit: www.hkgbc.org.hk

By: Ecozine Staff
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