The aspects concerning architectural features, building design, electrical and mechanical systems for environmental control, and building management were the concerns of the government regarding the built environment. Sets of criteria were developed by every government in order to upgrade the building policies to satisfy further the country's policies in protecting the environment, less usage of energy, better waste management and water conservation. (Chow, 2003)
In addition, upgrading the country's policies on the built environment through green or sustainable buildings, the chance of fire accidents will also be lessened. Fire safety is yet another issue that is addressed by the green building policy especially in Hong Kong. Since 1996, the number of fire incidents in the country has appeared to be increasing. This phenomenon however did not leave other countries behind. Some of the most famous were the World Trade Centre and the South Korea underground railway fire. (Chow, 2003) The countries were alarmed by the situation therefore, green or sustainable building policies would be able to limit these incidents if not fully resolve it.
Green or sustainable buildings might give new architectural features where the prescribed fire codes are difficult to follow. Examples include the internal voids, double-skin facades and others. As a result, fire engineering approach which is similar to applying fire safety engineering to passive construction design through engineering performance-based fire codes used in overseas has been accepted by the local government since 1998. (Chow, 2003)
Just as the countries worldwide have been practicing green building policy, Hong Kong has its own green building policy that every building construction planning has to conform with before it actually started. Countries around the world share almost the same policy though each has its own special features.
Hong Kong green building policy features the following policies such as:
Providing more natural ventilation based on wind action for reducing cooling load while operating mechanical ventilation and air-conditioning (MVAC) systems;
Utilizing more daylight instead of illuminating by artificial tungsten filament lamps with lower efficacy, leading to wide use of glass;
New light materials but better thermal insulation to reduce the Overall Thermal Transfer Value (OTTV) of building envelopes;
Internal building void; and
Double skin facade. (Chow, 2005)
These new architectural features are able to save the non-renewable energy and maintain a healthy natural environment. It is beneficial in terms of the environmental aspect of green building. However, there were arguments regarding its adverse effects in building policies such as the issues that concerns fire safety. Some of the above examples on green projects have difficulties in complying with the fire safety codes. (Chow, 2005)
Green building policy, however, does not only apply for the new buildings but is also relevant to renovation works involving the old buildings. But this involves millions of dollars that attracts a good deal of market since the need to satisfy the green or sustainable