Carbon Neutrality during Construction

Low-Carbon Environmental Protection
Carbon Neutral Construction and O·PARK2

The Group has taken into account the life cycle carbon emissions of the building in all aspects, including design, materials, engineering construction, and operational maintenance. The CSHK has also decided to take the Organic Resources Recovery Centre Phase 2 (O·PARK2) project as the first pilot example to implement carbon neutrality during construction phase. The Group is committed to making O‧PARK2 the first project in China to achieve carbon neutrality during construction period, setting an exemplary benchmark for the sustainable development in the construction industry.

For more information about O·PARK2, please click here.

Project Background

Food waste accounts for about 30% of the municipal solid waste disposed of in Hong Kong, the highest proportion of waste categories. Disposing of organic waste at landfills takes up a shortage of landfill space and creates leachate and landfill gas during the biodegradation process, creating a long-term burden on the environment. Recycling food waste can reduce the amount of waste disposed of in landfills, extend the life of landfills, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Separating food waste at source, recycling it into useful resources, turning waste into energy, making good use of resources, and making society more sustainable.

The O·PARK2, located in Sha Ling, North District, is a commercial and industrial organic waste recycling facility developed by the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department as part of the plan to establish a food waste recycling network in Hong Kong, as part of the HKSAR Government’s waste management policy. A joint venture between CSHK and its partners has been awarded the design, construction and operation contract for O·PARK2, including a 15-year operation period. O·PARK2 will use anaerobic digestion technology to convert food waste into biogas for power generation and will process the treated residue into fertilizer.

Carbon Neutral Construction Planning

In order to implement the carbon neutral project, O‧PARK2 has established a Carbon Neutral Working Group, headed by the Project Director and Site Manager to lead all relevant departments, including the Design, Quantity Surveying, Engineering, Quality, Materials and Environment Departments. The Working Group takes responsibility on the carbon neutrality plans and practices of the project. In accordance with ISO 14064–1 Greenhouse Gas and PAS 2060 Carbon Neutrality standards, the Working Group conducts carbon emission data accounting in a scientific and professional methodology.

The working group adopted the operational control method to determine the organizational boundary and accounted for the carbon emissions of the O‧PARK2 project under the responsibility of CSHK in the first two years of construction, and identified and quantified the direct and indirect emissions that CSHK will control at the operational level. For the identified major sources of carbon emissions, we formulated corresponding emission reduction plans for direct and indirect energy use and other indirect greenhouse gas emissions, and took measures to reduce them. According to the preliminary estimation of the working group, building materials account for over 80% of the carbon emissions during construction, which is greater than direct emissions and indirect energy emissions, so measures targeting the downstream of the value chain are essential to reduce emissions during construction. The Group actively collaborates with various stakeholders in the construction value chain in formulating the construction phase emission reduction plan to meet the functional and architectural design requirements of the project, while working with suppliers to source suitable low-carbon building materials.

On November 9, 2021, CSHK, a subsidiary of the Group, issued the Carbon Neutral Commitment for the Construction Period of Organic Resource Recovery Centre Phase II, committing to achieve carbon neutrality during the construction period of O‧PARK2 through three major strategies: sustainable management, technological innovation and support for voluntary emission reduction, and to disclose relevant data and results on a regular basis every year.

Sustainable Management
Project Design and Construction Incorporates the Concept of Sustainable Development

Optimizing land uses to alleviate the problem of food waste in Hong Kong:

  • Through sophisticated BIM design and the introduction of advanced foreign food waste treatment technology, O‧PARK2 can handle 300 tons of organic waste per day on a mere 2.5 hectares of land.

The project has been designed according to Hong Kong BEAM Plus Platinum rating standard with the enhancement of virescence ratio:

  • Maintaining 40% of the original plant on site and replanting trees throughout the slope area;
  • To increase the green area to 50%, we will build gardens and urban farms on the roof of buildings to integrate the buildings into the surroundings and reduce the impact on landscape.
Intelligent Site Management

The C-Smart Intelligent Site Management Platform, developed by the Group’s wholly owned subsidiary, enables digital, refined, and intelligent management to reduce carbon emissions generated from day-to-day site management. For more information on the C-Smart systems, please refer to the section of Innovative Technologies and Applications.

Green Purchasing

In accordance with the CSHK Procurement Policy and the Supplier Code of Conduct, priority should be given to the procurement of nearby and environmentally friendly materials, and orders should be made according to demand. Procurement should be strictly based on the number of site applications and project needs to reduce the waste of resources and the additional carbon emissions.

On the basis of this policy, the project has further sought and adopted low carbon materials available on the market, such as concrete and steel reinforcement containing recycled materials. The project uses up to 100% recycled steel and metal iron, as well as the concrete with ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBS) as a replacement for 60% of cement, reducing the carbon emissions of construction materials.

In addition, the project also applies CO2 mineral carbonation curing concrete building blocks based on CCUS technology. CCUS (Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage) technology is one of the key cutting-edge technologies to deal with global climate change.

Site Environmental Management Measures

Construction sites electrification

  • Installed and adopted the CLP’s battery energy storage system (BESS) to replace conventional diesel generators, reducing the use of diesel and achieving reductions of emissions and greenhouse gas.
  • The site purchased four electric vehicles to replace petrol vehicles, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving roadside air quality.

Resources saving

  • Design with BIM to optimize anaerobic cylinder structure and reduce the concrete usage by 22.5%;
  • Replace wooden templates with reusable templates to reduce the use of timber;
  • Digitize construction sites via paperless meetings and site inspections to reduce paper use;

Energy saving

  • Use of energy-saving appliances and equipments, installation of energy-saving prompts and lighting with motion sensors in the site office, and installation of sustainable energy facilities such as solar power panels.
  • Solar power panels will be installed upon completion of the project, and an intelligent system will be used to monitor daily electricity consumption and power generation.

Water conservation

  • Use a well-established sewage treatment system to treat construction sewage and reuse a portion of the water used for washing vehicles, saving approximately 36,500 liters of water per year. The installation of flush-free urinals in the Falcon Waterfree Urinals on-site toilets can save up to 151,000 liters of water annually;
  • Upon the project’s completion, the sewage treatment system will provide 294,500 liters of reclaimed water per day for daily cleaning as well as process water. Collect rainwater and recycle the treated wastewater for plant irrigation, which can save 82.4% of irrigation water.

Waste management

  • Over 94% of the waste generated on-site has been generated and recycled to date, with 9,100 tonnes being recycled till August 2021. These include:

    Transport of 37 tons of non-inert construction waste to the Green Park for recycling;

    Bring 375 tons of metal, plastic, paper, glass, etc., to the EPD’s community recycling network “Green in Fanling” for recycling;

    Transport of 8,750 tons of inert construction waste to public fill depots or temporary construction waste screening and sorting facilities as fill for reclamation and filling works;
  • Purchase of solar waste compressors at construction sites to reduce refuse and improve environmental hygiene.
Enhanced Carbon-Related Disclosure

The Group has been publishing and disclosing the performance of sustainable development through sustainable development reports and websites. To further enhance information disclosure, the Group has undertaken the following actions:

  • Build an on-premises sustainable data cloud platform that addresses information and data collection and storage challenges, and consolidate ESG data across sites and offices to improve data accuracy;
  • Self-developed carbon neutrality cloud platform to collect and demonstrate the carbon emission levels of the O‧PARK2 pilot projects and to enable the electronic carbon verification process;
  • Monthly updates on the platform on GHG emissions, distribution and effectiveness of carbon reduction measures for sites and offices;
  • It helps the decision-makers to grasp the real-time carbon emissions of the Group, so as to formulate corresponding countermeasures and serve as the basis for the development, trading and management of carbon assets in the future.

The Group will continue to share the findings of O‧PARK2 carbon neutrality pilot project in the Sustainable Development Report and on the project website to promote the low carbon transformation of the construction industry.

Technological Innovation

The Group combines its experience in all aspects of design and construction with innovative technologies, including BIM technology and MiC construction technology, and applies them to the entire building life cycle to practice low-carbon and environmentally friendly construction.

Design, construction, operation and maintenance using BIM7D innovative technology platform

We have adopted the BIM technology in the project to guide the completion of collision checks through 3D models, simulate the construction processes through 4D models, and guide the actual operation through 6D models. We have achieved the LOD500 operation model, which includes the functions of each element in the actual building, assists in the commissioning and management of the facility, a level of detail rarely seen in BIM projects in Hong Kong. This is another example of the Group’s leadership in the high-end development of the construction industry.

The project has also explored the use of BIM 7D, linking the model to the Construction Industry Council’s (CIC’s) Carbon Assessment Tool to streamline the carbon assessment process.

Adoption of MiC and Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA)

MiC technology was used to build the O‧PARK2 site office. About 70% of the construction was completed in factories in mainland China, and the manufactured components were sent to Hong Kong for on-site assembly, significantly reducing construction time and the resulting disruption and pollution, while also improving project quality. Upon completion of the project, the office can be disassembled and recycled. Further, the DfMA building method will be used in some engineering works of O‧PARK2 to further reduce the carbon footprint of the construction.

According to the internal estimation of CSCI, in comparison with the traditional construction method, MiC technology of CSHK can reduce:

  • timber consumption by 80%
  • noise and construction waste generation by 60%
  • human resources by 50%
Introduction of innovative materials

We have adopted innovative materials and technologies for corrosion protection, including fiber cement, iron powder modified cement, high-density cast-in protective layer, etc., to ensure the equipment for food waste treatment process is acid-resistant, high temperature-resistant, anti-aging, and anti-wear, etc. This will in turn, extend the life of equipment and contribute to the sustainable development.

Support for Voluntary Emission Reduction Projects

The Group has made every effort to reduce the carbon emissions from the construction of the project; however, there will still be remaining carbon emissions being generated due to the current construction methods and technologies. The Group will take the initiative to purchase voluntary emission reduction credits to offset the remaining carbon emissions and achieve carbon neutrality during the construction period of the project.

At present, a number of certified Voluntary Emission Reduction (VER) project standards have been published internationally and in Mainland China. For instance, the Gold Standard, the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), and the China Certified Emission Reduction (CCER), etc.

Based on the actual needs of the O‧PARK2 pilot project, the Group will consider factors such as the extent of application of the VER standard and its applicability in deciding which project to purchase VERs from.

Carbon Neutrality Roadmap during Construction Period

Based on the project experience of O‧PARK2, the Group has formulated the following carbon neutrality roadmap during construction period. In the future, this action plan can be practiced in the construction project to implement carbon neutrality during the construction period.

Carbon Accounting and Emission Sources Identification
  • Conduct comprehensive accounting of carbon emissions from construction materials and construction processes
  • Examine the project carbon footprint
Development of Carbon Reduction Strategy
  • Development of Carbon Reduction Strategy
  • Develop a comprehensive carbon reduction strategy
  • Implement the strategy during construction
Annual Carbon Reduction Performance Report
  • Calculate the actual annual carbon footprint
  • Evaluate and adjust the carbon reduction strategy
Third-Party Carbon Audit
  • Independent third-party carbon auditing bodies are engaged to audit and verify the carbon emission data for construction work
Carbon Offset
  • Account for the actual carbon emissions after the project is completed
  • Purchase carbon credits to offset the remaining carbon emissions
Results Release
  • Research and summarize carbon neutrality measures, such as the MiC technology, etc.
  • Apply for carbon neutrality certification and publish the carbon neutral results of the project

Future Outlook

With the commissioning of O‧PARK2, the decrease in use of fossil fuel for electricity generation together with the reduced amount of organic waste landfilled will prevent the emission of some 67,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually, and reduce about 110,000 tonnes of food waste to be disposed of at landfills in Hong Kong annually and handled around 8% of food waste in Hong Kong. In addition to providing electricity and water for its own facilities, the surplus biogas produced can be converted to electricity, sufficient for use by some 5,000 households. The Group is actively exploring the possibility of developing carbon assets in the project operating period to achieve a negative carbon economy throughout the project life cycle.

Moreover, based on the experiences achieved from O‧PARK2 carbon neutrality actions and the carbon sequestration, the Group is studying the possibility of practicing carbon neutrality in other engineering projects. The practice will be initiated via two types of engineering projects, the design-construction contracts and projects targeting at BEAM Plus Platinum Certification. The former one has the conditions for the overall planning of low carbon practices for all life cycle including design, materials selection, construction; the later one has a solid foundation for sustainable development and can help reduce the difficulties of achieving carbon neutrality. We will continue to build on O‧PARK2’s carbon reduction experience and carry out low carbon transformation at other sites to assist the Group in its sustainable development strategy.

In addition to the pilot project of carbon neutrality during the construction period, the Group will continue to promote the in-depth integration of low-carbon and environmental protection with corporate strategy, production and operation, technological innovation, and cultural development to enhance the company's "green" competitiveness. The Group plans to launch a series of exploration programs in the future, including exchanges with colleges and universities on research topics related to carbon reduction, promoting cooperation between the construction industry and research institutions, and stimulating technological innovation through the sharing of information and technological achievements, promoting the transformation of achievements and industrial upgrade, and transforming research results into products and services with business value. In addition, the Group will continue to explore the feasibility of developing green buildings and carbon assets during the construction period, fully cooperate and support the low-carbon economy transition in the Greater Bay Area, and actively promote the development of the carbon trading market.

The Group will work closely with the national and HKSAR carbon neutral development policies to promote the sustainable development of the construction industry. It will also work with various sectors to explore innovative construction methods and opportunities for carbon reduction.