How Hongkong Land Cools It Exchange Square Office Complex At A Lower Cost
HONG KONG – To cool the air-conditioning system of Exchange Square, a mixed-use development comprising 3 office towers and a shopping mall, landlord Hongkong Land pumps 64,000 cubic metres of seawater daily from Victoria Harbour into an underground area beneath the commercial complex, reported the South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Saturday (10 September, SGT).
The commercial property owner revealed that this method cost 35 percent less energy than conventional air-cooled systems – generating huge savings for Hongkong Land, which utilises nearly half of its power consumption in Central alone on air-conditioning.
“We pioneered the direct seawater cooling system in Hong Kong,” said Hongkong Land’s Technical Manager Derek Chan, during a tour of the landlord’s real estate portfolio in Central. “The chiller plants are controlled automatically now, so you won’t find any operator stationed here,” he added.
Hongkong Land has been utilising seawater since 1963 to cool its 450,000 sq m (4.84 million sq ft) of real estate close to Victoria Harbour. The system, which is used for 12 buildings in Central, is overseen from the 400 sq m command centre at the top floor of Two Exchange Square, with the aid of advanced technology, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
This has helped the commercial property landlord achieve 30 percent energy savings and a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions at the end of 2021 compared with 2008, when it first conducted a comprehensive energy audit.
“Working with existing buildings presents challenges, but we are determined to overcome these with new technologies and systems,” commented Hongkong Land’s Director and Head of technical services, Andy Yeung.
Notably, Hong Kong is home to more than 10,000 high-rise towers, of which over 2,000 are buildings taller than 100 metres, based on data from building information directory Emporis.
Collectively, these high-rise towers account for 90 percent of Hong Kong total power consumption. This was revealed by former chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor in her 2021 policy address, during which he highlighted the importance of green buildings in slashing energy demand as part of the authorities’ push to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Hong Kong’s government targets to cut power consumption of commercial buildings by 30 percent to 40 percent come 2050 from 2015 levels. It hopes to hit the halfway point of this target by 2035.