The three-storey structure, featuring an "eco-home" and the city's first urban woodland, is being built by the Construction Industry Council (CIC) and the Development Bureau.
"CIC has always been committed to promoting sustainable buildings and good industry practices towards environmental protection," says CIC executive director Christopher To. "We believe that the building will provide a platform for knowledge exchange and experience-sharing for the construction industry through showcasing the latest zero-carbon design and technologies, and also educate and inspire the public on low-carbon living."
This green awareness has been recognised at the highest levels. "To fight climate change, the government proposed targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction of 50 to 60 per cent carbon intensity reduction by 2020 compared with the 2005 baseline," says CIC chairman Lee Shing-see.
"Buildings are the major contributor to GHG emissions in Hong Kong. Electricity generation accounts for at least 60 per cent of the total GHG emissions and buildings consume about 90 per cent of the electricity. Thus, the construction industry has a significant role to play in GHG emission reduction," he adds.
The academia is also involved. Since 1995, the department of civil and environmental engineering at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has been working on "green" skills that industry and society need.
"We base our research on science but it is very practical in the sense that it solves real-world practical problems that humanity faces in daily life," says Professor Irene Lo Man-chi. "Our faculty members engage in cutting-edge research and work with the industry. We bring our research into teaching and we link research and ed<90,-30>ucation together."
According to Lo, this practical approach begins at undergraduate level. "For their final year project, students on the bachelor of engi