Hong Kong has seen its very first zero carbon building, the ZCB. Ronald Lu & Partners designed the building using passive design techniques to ensure that energy use is reduced. With a natural ability to ventilate, a close-fitting thermal envelope, waste-to-energy biodiesel creation, a photovoltaic roof, rainwater collection, and advanced monitoring system the ZCB wastes no energy by ensuring that no extra energy is required in addition to that produced by the building.
ZCB, which stands for Zero Carbon Building, represents Hong Kong’s first attempt at net-zero energy construction, and advocates for a low carbon lifestyle in addition to outdooring designs and technology available for low/zero carbon construction. Now open for the public, the building together with its gardens will receive an estimated 40,000 visitors each year.
The building’s main aim was to reduce energy use while producing all (and sometimes even more than) the energy required to run the building on site. Passive design techniques applied by Ronald Lu & Partners include solar shading, orientation, natural ventilation for passive cooling in summer and natural heating in winter, and a massive roof overhang. The tight thermal envelope that can be cooled or heated mechanically can also be exposed to the environment in the right conditions.
The building site was so chosen to minimize noise caused by traffic with more than 50% of the site landscaped to allow storm waters to be soaked, thus minimizing heat island effect. To produce the building’s electricity, the roof has photovoltaic panels. Biodiesel is also produced from waste cooking oil, with grey water and rainwater being collected for treatment in reed beds.
A cutting-edge management system ensures that there is efficient energy use and that excess energy is taken up by the grid. Also, with implementation of the Cool Biz Dress Code, the ZCB ensures that employees and visitors are more comfortable in warmer weather conditions.