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energy costs

energylab energy conservation consultant, energy consultant, Hong Kong

2015 was the hottest year on record so far, so without reading your bill we know the result, your energy bills were higher than before if you used air conditioning, because air conditioning is the largest portion of energy usage in Hong Kong.

hong kong energy audit

credit: Hong Kong Observatory website 2 June 2016

Today, the Hong Kong Observatory has issued the hot weather warning, the air temperature is over 30 deg C across Hong Kong. And commentators are predicting that 2016 will be hotter than 2015, in that event, your 2016 energy bills will be higher too.

emsd REA services

energyLAB has specialist tools to assess your building and find energy cost savings.

energy audit temperatures

credit: Hong Kong Observatory website 2 June 2016

When is the best time of year to conduct an energy audit?

In Hong Kong, it is summer, and June is the peak month (refer chart above) because the building and engineering equipment will be stressed, coping with the summer heat and humidity, which cant be witnessed during the winter months.

thermal scan hong kong

If you want to stop wasting money,  call the energyLAB experts to enjoy lower energy costs!


#energyefficiency #hongkong #REA #energyaudit

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Kung Hei Fat Choi or Happy Chinese Lunar New year

energylab Chinese Lunar New year

We wish all our customers, friends, and colleagues a happy and healthy Chinese Lunar new year or simply Kung Hei Fat Choi

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Building Approval Process CoCR


by John A. Herbert

How to comply with BEEO ordinance for new construction?

To build in Hong Kong you will need to follow the traditional BD submission format, and also fulfil the mandatory requirements detail in the Building Energy Code.  How does that impact the construction process?

The Owner must engage a EMSD Registered Energy Assessor (REA) to complete and issue EMSD Form EE1 also known as Stage 1 Certificate of Compliance Registration (COCR), and also EMSD form EE2 known as Stage 2 COCR.

When does CoCR need to be issued?

Stage 1 COCR must be submitted within two months after obtaining BD consent. For Stage 2 COCR, that must be submitted within four months after obtaining BD Occupation permit.

further details are provided on the EMSD website.


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energy audit: inefficiency

by John A. Herbert

Part of the energy audit process should be to review the condition of the plant, and equipment, generally if problems are discovered these can be categorised as deferred maintenance.

Here an example, an 800 mm axial fan, and a key part of the extract system providing mechanical ventilation. The photograph of the suction side clearly shows the flexible connection is ripped, and the discharge side was similarly damaged.

hong kong energy experts

The extract fan was operating, still moving air, and consuming amperes, but the ‘system’ was not functioning. The failure points occurred at the highest pressure (discharge side) and lowest pressure (suction side) regions, that means little air movement could occur inside the ductwork.


Now explain to the management why they paid for electricity for the whole of last year, but no mechanical ventilation was provided.

For an energy audit, that complies with EMSD Energy Audit Code, call the energyLAB experts today!

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COP21 means 2 degC or bust?


COP21 commences today, with leaders from 200 counties meeting in Paris, and buildings, for the first time, will be in focus, a milestone indeed.

Its important for Hong Kong where buildings consume 90% of the electricity generated, equating to about 63% of the cities carbon load. But bear in mind that Hong Kong is a high density city, with little industry left, it is almost entirely a service economy, but in terms of emissions although Hong Kong is a well developed economy, it is counted as part of China.

So in principle idea, limiting atmospheric temperature rise to less than 2 Deg C, is a moot point really, since we half way already, the first 1 Deg C rise has already occurred. But the focus on buildings is timely, not only for Hong Kong, but across Asia, where energy efficiency building operations is low priority for most.

hotel energy auditing expert

I have yet to see any silver bullet solution, or even close, what is required is dedicated hard work, simultaneously on several fronts, to lower emissions, and then keep them low. Look at this year, 2015 has been the hottest year on record so far, all other factors being equal, your air conditioning energy consumption and bills will be highest on record too.

You have already have a full plate, right? You staff to manage, administrative work to handle, shareholders to satisfy,  profit targets to achieve, and competitors taking your market share, etc. but can you really afford to leave money on the table? Your competitors energy savings has give them extra cash, maybe it funded a killer marketing campaign. You may not know it but you need expert help starting right now!

If you know buildings as well as we do, then you know there are countless opportunities to manage and reduce your energy consumption. It cant be once a year, or once every ten year effort, you need to continuous manage energy, the same as other aspects of your business and one of the easiest ways to manage these buildings is by installing the quietest portable generators.

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Capturing lost electricity capacity in your factory or manufacturing facility

factory electrical power capacity recovery, energyLAB, Hong Kong, energy audit

Capturing factory/manufacturing electrical power capacity recovery is cost efficient

Successful manufacturing business’s often outgrow the installed electrical power capacity in large facilities, those transformers that seemed ‘plenty big’ at the design stage are now fully loaded, and you face extra costs, production disruption to expand your operations.

Help is at hand, before you embark upon that expensive upgrading programme, first call energyLAB experts, we can help your business, we would conduct a feasibility study, using the same skill set we employ to conduct energy audits, to identify waste within your existing plant, releasing that lost electrical capacity for the new line, latest equipment, etc.

We have the latest tools at our finger tips, and the knowledge gained over decades, to identify all the opportunities.

energyLAB infra-red imager

energyLAB infra-red imagery in action

The benefits are clear, using the existing electrical services infrastructure will be far cheaper, and saving time compared to installing new transformers and the associated utility, metering, MV and LV distribution boards, and cabling required to upgrade. You can visit Utility Saving Expert, to see how you can make your electric bill cheaper. There are commercial considerations too, where time, and time to to market is important for you, speed is key.  We can capture any lost capacity in your electrical system significantly faster than the time needed to plan and install new transformers rooms, transformers, utility feeds, etc. etc. and you’ll beat the competitors hands down!

In studies we have identified a variety of fixes, including electric meters that were still connected, but not actually used!

How it Works

energyLAB would send an engineer to review your facility, examining the electrical distribution network from the energy saving perspective, our feasibility study provides a roadmap to recover lost capacity.

#China #factory #feasibility studies #electrical power

by John A. Herbert


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Eco Expo Asia 2015

energyLAB’s director Mr John A. Herbert attended Hong Kong’s premium environmental fair, Eco Expo Asia 2015 Oct. 2015, here are some photos from the event:

#hongkong #energylab #energyefficiency

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Energy Matters Seminar – 2 Nov. 2015

energy seminar , John a. herbert

HAESCO, a Hong Kong Not For Profit Trade association ( is organising an energy seminar on 2 Nov. 2015 – to register here is the  LINK



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Hong Kong’s hottest June for more than a century

You thought June was hot, and RTHK reports the HKO’s confirmation that is was the hottest June since records began  – expect your air conditioning bill to soar.

03-07-2015 – Hong Kong’s hottest June for more than a century

Records from the Observatory show that Hong Kong had its hottest June since records began 130 years ago. Last month’s average mean temperature came in 29.7 degrees Celsius, which is 1.8 degrees higher than the June average. The number of very hot days and very hot nights also hit a record. The Observatory’s Scientific Officer Tsoi Tze-shun said though the temperature variations show ups and downs, the trend definitely indicates global warming.



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BEC Chairman Mr John Chai presents carbon certificate to John A. Herbert at enviroseries conference on 18 May 2015


Left to right: BEC Chairman Mr John Chai and John A. Herbert carbon certificate presentation enviroseries conference on 18 May 2015.

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Blueprint for Hong Kong Energy Consumption

energy_saving_blueprint_2015-2Hong Kong has launched its first, energy conservation strategy (LINK)  primarily containing  lists of Government achievements (earlier hint).

But wait, it is more than the usual self congratulatory tome, note it has highlighted the specific occasions when energy policy can be improved over the next few years. Read page 68 – Figure 33 is titled ‘Timeline of regulatory tools reviews on energy reduction’ that tells the story in my view it is an invitation to drive policy changes.

Whilst the 40% reduction sounds like an ambitious number (it is based on energy intensity) framed as absolute energy consumption the reduction amounts to approx. 6% reduction.

What will be the impact on building owners?

I have read the blueprint, the whole document, how Government intends to achieve this target is not mentioned just yet, it is not a roadmap, just a broad plan. So it is inevitable that building owners will be the first to feel the pressure to tackle energy efficiency. Failing to tackle this cornerstone issue early is likely to cause some red faces in the sector.

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5% Energy Reduction by 2020 HKSAR Policy Address


The Hong Kong Government hinted at the end of 2014 about energy savings, in today’s policy address (14 Jan 2015) a five percent (5%) energy reduction for government buildings, over the next five years (2020) was promised. It is a landmark in the development of energy conservation in Hong Kong because typically government buildings were granted what was formerly known as Crown immunity, an exemption from those tawdry requirements for the masses, and today that changed.

Here is the abstract:

176. Today I also announce that the Government is setting a new target of achieving a 5% saving in electricity consumption for government buildings under comparable operating conditions in the coming five years. Energy audits will be conducted for major government buildings to identify opportunities to enhance energy-saving performance and green building measures. The Government will work with stakeholders and public and private organisations to further foster a low-carbon and livable built environment to reduce Hong Kong’ overall electricity demand.

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Govt. plans for new energy conservation measures to be published next year

The SCMP reports that the HKSAR govt. will shortly release the plan to reduce energy consumption for commercial and residential buildings, citing information gained from the BEEO requiring building owners to engage an REA to conduct an energy audit every ten years, and we have conducted many such energy audits. However, to rely on that data is an serious oversight, some examples:

1) Hotels, and government buildings, are amongst the long list of exempt buildings, so coverage is hardly comprehensive;

2) Accounting for energy in complex buildings is somewhat flawed. Where a composite building comprises car park and shopping centre the result is a single combined EUI. Composite buildings with large, naturally ventilated car park (and little energy use) significantly lower the total EUI;

3) In smaller commercial buildings, the energy consumption for the tenant area is excluded. However, the tenant floor area is accountable when calculating the EUI which is misleading;

Having said all that, there are cost effective solutions that don’t break the bank, our clients already enjoy the benefits of lower energy consumption and lower energy costs. But you do need an energy auditor with experience, some buildings we have visited, and energy audit reports that have crossed our desk would make your toes curl.

One classic error is reducing the hot water storage temperature to save money, this could be a fatal error. Legionella is a particularly nasty aqueous pathogen that thrives in warm water environs, in other countries there is legislation in place, but that’s rare in Asia. Lowering the water storage temperature, and or switching off the water heater for prolonged periods, provides the perfect opportunity for Legionella proliferation, which in turn could lead to infection. If you are male, over 40, and are unfortunate to contract Legionnaires’ Disease and survive, it is likely that you will never work again.

HKGBC’s paper HK3030 is very much wider than than government announcement because encourages the uptake of BEAM Plus green building initiatives. Indeed its often overlooked that the best investment to improve your energy efficiency is simply better training.

hong kong energy consultant energyLAB

If you need to lower your energy costs and reduce your environmental impact contact our energyLAB experts to conduct your energy audit.

In case its lost in the cloud, here is the SCMP article and link:

Hong Kong government to release 10-year plan to cut energy consumption in buildings

The government wants to set targets for reducing electricity use in residential and commercial buildings in a bid to slash carbon emissions

The Environment Bureau is expected to release a 10-year energy-saving roadmap early next year, including an official target to cut buildings’ electricity consumption, a government source told the South China Morning Post.

The roadmap could be highlighted in Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s policy address next month. It would be the third blueprint to be formulated by the bureau since last year. The first was aimed at improving air quality, while the second targeted a reduction in waste.

“It will give different energy-saving targets for residential and commercial buildings, which account for 90 per cent of the city’s electricity use,” the government source said, adding that substantial cross-departmental effort was needed to formulate the blueprint.

The city has more than 41,000 buildings. Close to 70 per cent of the city’s electricity is consumed by commercial buildings.

Green Building Council chairman Conrad Wong Tin-cheung supported the move. “The city has focused on green building designs over the past years. It’s time to move on to improving building management, like how offices should be operated to save energy,” he said.

Wong hoped that the government would adopt the target proposed by the council two years ago, which aims to reduce buildings’ total electricity consumption by 30 per cent of the 2005 level by 2030. Such a target would translate into a saving of more than 33,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity and 23 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

William Yu, an energy specialist and chief executive of the World Green Organisation, said the roadmap would be a way to reduce carbon emissions. “But the key is whether the roadmap will be devised with effective measures and will offer attractive incentives to different sectors to work towards the goal,” he said.

Yu was referring to the plan proposed by the government in 2010 to cut carbon intensity – the amount of carbon dioxide generated in producing a unit of gross domestic product – by up to 60 per cent on 2005 levels by 2020. He complained that little action had been taken to realise the plan.

Apart from giving out subsidies, Yu suggested the government should act as a guarantor for small to medium-sized businesses so they could obtain money from banks to retrofit their premises.

The news came as owners of more than 2,600 commercial buildings – with the oldest built 36 years ago – submitted energy audit reports to the government under a requirement specified in the Buildings Energy Efficiency Ordinance, which took effect in September 2012.

Under the law, owners of commercial blocks, including shopping malls in residential complexes, are required to conduct an audit every 10 years.

An Environment Bureau spokeswoman said the reports would be submitted in four phases by 2016. The first phase has already been completed.

“With records of how much electricity the buildings are consuming, the reports will provide useful baseline data for the government to set a realistic target [for cutting energy use],” Yu said.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as 10-year plan to cut energy consumption set for release

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Entrance Lobby Temperatures

by John A. Herbert

entrance summer temperatures, energy audit, John Herbert

As the hot summer pounds on our cities, increasing temperatures drive up Air Conditioning energy consumption and costs, but we can use the power of human physiology to help lower building energy costs.

People entering an air conditioned space from outsdoors will immediately FEEL cool where the entrance lobby temperature is a few degrees Celsius BELOW the outdoor temperature, so set the lobby temperature accordingly, you don’t need to set it to 20 deg C.

It works because people don’t compare the temperature to their office temperature, but against the higher outdoor temperature and humidity just experienced. It is a well known phenomena use it for your advantage.

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What is the condition of your AHU?

by John A. Herbert
blocked cooling coil, John Herbert energy audit

The above pictured AHU cooling coil was ‘maintained’ by the term Air conditioning contractor. However, during our energy audit we inspected the AHU, dropped the air filters and found that the cooling coil was plugged, approx. 50% of the face area of the coil completely blocked.

Cleaning the cooling coil will restore lost energy efficiency, and improved comfort conditions in the space.

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Hong Kong’s Profitable Energy Audit

by John A. Herbert, REA

The Hong Kong Government mandates that commercial buildings owners shall engage a Registered Energy Assessor (REA) to conduct an energy audit and display the resulting EUI every ten years. Whilst many organisations are scrambling to fathom the impact of their published EUI (Mj/sqm/pa) being exposed in the public domain , others have been pleasantly shocked by the range of energy saving options, and more importantly the cost savings.

There are countless success stories, for example, the REA energy audit of a commercial building in Tsim Sha Tsui Hong Kong found HKD 75,000 per year cost saving, the implementation cost zero! On the other side of the coin, it means the building owner and tenants had wasted/overpaid HKD 825,000 and without the Government mandated audit they would probably still wasting money.

Another glorious find! Part of the tenant lighting installation on every floor of a office building was actually connected to landlord’s electricity meter, and to make matters worse the time control operated all the light fittings overnight, another easy cost saving for the landlord. Although explaining to tenant their lighting cost will increase is different issue. It must said, this is a classic commissioning failure, had the building had been properly commissioned at day one, this type of problem should have been rectified before occupancy.

Another common issue is poor maintenance, often wrapped in softer terms, for example deferred maintenance, is another easy win. A shopping centre with central chilled water installation suffered with low delta problems, that means the temperature difference between the chilled water flow and return temperature is inadequate and since energy Q = M.C.deltaT, the system fails to perform effectively.


In this case our investigation found that the AHU cooling coils were damaged and plugged with dirt, with available area for heat exchange compromised the air velocity increased and the chilled water was returned to the chiller, still cold without cooling the air. Simple, low cost coil cleaning rectified the problem, ensuring maintenance is conducted regularly is key. blocked-coil-3

Our REA provides you with an extra set of eyes and ears, on ground, reporting any deficiencies that impact energy consumption.

Will an energy audit solve every problem? No, energy audit merely identifies the problems, it is only the first step, the most important step, yes more important than the audit, is committing to the design and remedial work to optimise your energy consumption because next years utility charges will be higher than the last, and where your EUI is in the public domain, your investors, buyers, prospective tenants, and competitors already know the score.


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Anatomy of the Energy Audit

by John A. Herbert

An energy audit is much like an annual financial review but instead of profit and loss, the data and information is based on historical energy usage, the energy audit deliverable is the energyLAB energy audit report, containing our findings and recommendations in three energy management sections, namely:

  • Housekeeping
  • Operation & Maintenance
  • Capital works

Within these three sectors, we explain energy saving options and opportunities for your review and implementation.


Housekeeping measures are generally improvements involving virtually no cost, and involve relatively simple steps to start achieving energy savings. For example training courses to increase energy consumption awareness amongst your staff.

Operation & Maintenance

These improvements necessitate some change within your existing regime or maintenance strategy. For example lighting modifications, improved the switching arrangement or implementing a new lamp replacement strategy benefiting from the efficacy of the latest technology. In the majority of cases, the working environment for your customers is improved.

Capital works

Capital works would be major improvements to your premises or systems that will require significant expenditure. Examining your installation, analysing your operating and maintenance costs, and evaluating possible options for energy conservation. Viable proposals that will benefit you financially are offered for appraisal. For example switching to water cooled air conditioning (cooling towers) under the Hong Kong pilot programme or consideration of cost effective cogeneration solutions.

energylab energy conservation consultant, energy consultant, Hong Kong

Financial Analysis

The energy analysis would comprise a practical and economic evaluation of viable energy saving options. This evaluation would include an investigation of all the various elements that contribute to your owning and operating costs. Typically these would comprise:

  • Initial expenditure (CAPex)
  • Cost in use (OPex)

Investment analysis

Each of the elements would be analysed to gauge the overall economic viability of a particular energy-saving strategy or programme.

CapEx – is the initial expenditure, defines the money required to purchase plant or equipment.

OPEX – is the cost in use is the operating and running costs for the installation based on the data retrieved during the energy audit.

Investment Analysis – is the money side of capital works, comprising fiscal, payback and net present value calculations, these tools are primarily used to establish if a proposal would recoup your investment during a specific period. Payback hurdles would be established to meet the needs of the organisation.

hong kong energy consultant energyLAB

Energy Audit Standards

Is there any guideline for energy audits? Certainly, the process is structured, there are several published reference standards for energy auditing, including

  • EMSD’s BEC Energy Audit 2012
  • Energy Audit Guidelines – EMSD Hong Kong
  • ASHRAE Procedures for Commercial Building Energy Audits
  • Energy Audits Australian Standard AS 3598:2000

Note these guides/standards do not suite every project type.


The energy audit process can be sub-divided into three activities:

  • data collection
  • analysis
  • solutions reporting

Data Collection

The critical information for the audit is collected, for example the drawings, and energy bills, and also any identify any shortfall.


Based on the data collected, the energy consumption is reviewed, and opportunities to lower cost identified.

Solutions Report

The deliverable is the key, the report should clearly explain the opportunities to lower costs. However, those ‘energy standards’ mentioned earlier often require pages and pages of superfluous material which detract from the real energy auditing goal lower costs.

Success Story

Our long standing international expertise has helped design, auditing and implementation of energy audit recommendations, particularly our experience providing E&M capital works projects.

We have unique knowledge, gained across three continents, backed up with our experience from many years of Building design and operations. We help organisations lower operating cost to leverage a competitive advantage. Call the energyLAB energy audit experts today!

Project references include shopping centres, commercial buildings, leisure facilities, retail units and industrial facilities.

Commercial Building – We identified 30% annual energy savings

Shopping Centre – We identified 10% annual energy savings, with little no CAPEX

Hotel – We identified  15% annual energy savings, and uncovered design fixes to lower operating costs.

Every Watt Counts

Registered Energy Assessor (REA)

If you are choosing firm to ensure a Registered Energy Assessor (REA) who can perform energy audits in accordance the Hong Kong Building Energy Efficiency Ordinance (CAP 610).

John A Herbert

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Lighting levels Lux

by John A. Herbert

Lighting provides good opportunities to lower costs without impacting the building operation. The BEC 2012 provide guidance for the lighting power density for new build, and most existing buildings exceed this guidance.

lighting installation cost savings

We find external lights burning during the day, unoccupied rooms with lights switched on all day, the difference is that our fresh look identifies cost savings that your staff accept as the status quo. Technology has advanced, with new occupancy and daylight sensors, coupled with dimmer racks, and controls lower the electricity consumption and your carbon footprint.

energylab lighting upgrades by design, John Herbert

Above: Hidden T8 Lamps, Get a ladder to find out what type of lamps are hidden in the ceiling.


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Beyond Energy

by John A. Herbert
thermography hong kong infra-red images, power, energy audit

Infra-red thermography provides the opportunity to explore beyond a visual inspection, it supports preventive maintenance and energy efficiency. However it only one tool of many tools energy auditors need to be able to conduct a useful energy audit.

ir thermal camera analysis
If you ever doubted that lighting is inefficient this next image shows the real story, you cannot see it with the naked eye, but the imagery clearly reveals the hidden secret, the red coloured area is the hottest part of the lamp, the heat generated from this CF type lamp.

infra red image energylab copyright








— John Herbert

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Government Energy Audit EMSD

by John A. Herbert, REA

The Hong Kong Government enacted the BEEO in order to regulate the energy efficiency of key building services installations inside prescribed buildings, building owners are required to hire Registered Energy Assessor to undertake energy audits, and John A. Herbert is our in-house EMSD Registered Energy Assessor (REA).

john herbert EMSD Registered Energy Assessor

PHOTO ABOVE: John A. Herbert, REA

The Energy Audit shall be conducted at least once every ten years, in accordance with the prevailing version of the Energy Audit Code (EAC).  The latest EMSD forms provided by EMSD, once completed and signed by the REA they are then submitted to EMSD.

the energy audit shall cover the major engineering systems in the building including, Air- conditioning, Lighting installation, electrcial Installation


PHOTO ABOVE: EMSD Poster to advertise BEEO operation

The deadline for compliance with the BEEO ordinance depends on the Occupancy Permit date of your building, as follows:

OP date on or after 1 January 1988 — deadline is 20 Sept.2013
OP date after 31 December 1977 but before 1 January 1988 — deadline is 20 Sept. 2014
OP date after 31 December 1969 but before 1 January 1978 — deadline is 20 Sept. 2015
OP date on or before 31 December 1969 — deadline is 20 Sept. 2016

There is no requirement under the ordnance for EMSD to issue reminder notices, owners should comply with the prevailing ordnance.

Fit-out Projects

There is approx. 40 million sqft of non-domestic office type accommodation in Hong Kong, with the frequent turnover, and renovation of leased spaces. Under the same ordinance, A&A work, fit-out or renovation projects with a floor area larger than 500 sqm. ( combination of works greater than 500 sqm, shall comply with the requirements of the Cap 610 BEEO ordinance.


In this case the owner is required to engage the REA to complete and sign the compliance forms, and submit to EMSD not later than 60 days after completion. In this context completion does not mean the same as occupancy, essentially it means ready for normal occupation. For example, if the project is complete 1 May, but the space occupied at some later day, the EMSD compliance documentation shall be submitted no later than 60 days after 1 May irrespective of the actual occupancy date.

The purpose of this requirement is to ensure the content of the A&A works, fit-out and renovation is also energy efficient and in line with the requirement for new buildings.

updated 26 Feb 2014 – The EMSD requirements for the design of Lighting Installations have been amended, call your REA for more information.

For the latest advice always refer to the latest documents published on EMSD’s website.

Our REA Mr John A. Herbert has conducted EMSD energy audits for commercial office buildings, sports centres, shopping centres and mixed-use buildings in Hong Kong – Contact us today!

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Hong Kong Electricity cost set to Rise in 2013

increased tariffs, electricity, Hong Kong

The cost of electricity in Kowloon served by CLP will increase by 5.9% and Hong Kong Island served by HKE by 2.3% in 2013 it’s reported in the SCMP (see above). However, the full details are not revealed as yet.

Ultra low users, those consuming less than 400 kwh over two months, should enjoy a reduced cost in 2013, but I suspect there will not be many customers that fall into that category. 400 kwh equates to 37 18 watt CFL’s operating 10 hours per day.  And heavy users will be penalised.

As energy costs rise firms with active energy management projects are leading the charge to lower costs. Whilst many organisations are still seeking silver bullet solutions, the real progress has been made improving operations.

It’s worth remembering that although a building might appear as a fixed edifice from the outside, internally churn is constant. It’s one reason why we suspect owners don’t engage, the building looks the same as before,  nothings changed.

But nothing could be further from the truth, technicians should be maintaining and repairing you’re E&M systems but often maintenance is deferred.  We have found and identified countless defects in buildings including leaking ducts, leaking air handlers, blocked cooling coils, air locked chilled water pipes, broken control valves, tampered set points, sensors in the wrong location, to name just a few.  Most people seem to be banking their hopes on some new technology, but that is not the solution, on ground in plant rooms most fear to tread we have found solutions to lower operating costs. You’re competitors have progressed, are you?

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your air conditioning system handling the heat?

chiller operation bad

It’s the summer, and it’s hot, and humid, over the last few days it have been around 32 Deg C. And air conditioning systems across the region will be working overtime to keep your building cool.

In Hong Kong and sub-tropical regions, Air Conditioning is the largest and most expensive portion of energy expenditure, it can be 60% of the energy cost for a building owner.

We investigated the central chilled water system operation, and the neat chart above clearly illustrates our findings, the second chiller (BLACK LINE) was found to be frequently stopping and re-starting throughout the day,  no wonder the energy costs were rising. Our energy audit uncovered this no cost EMO that it will save approx. 1.2 million Hong Kong dollars per year.

chiller operation savings

Using the conversion factor (Hong Kong) of 0.7 kgCO²e/kwh that equates to saving approximately 1,400 tonnes CO²e  (carbon equivalent)  but really, what does that figure mean? That is equivalent to planting 60,000 trees per year.

It’s a good example for the 30% club, there countless organisations and individuals who tout upto 30% savings to entice more sales, and not something we would ever subscribe.

Sure, 30% might sound like an impressive number, its a marketing gimmick, because no baseline is given. If your commercial building consumed 3GJ/sqm/pa would a 30% saving a good deal? To find out the answer, ask energyLAB experts!

In this case, hard work delivered real results, with real savings, without vague possible savings promises.

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Inevitable Energy Cost Increase?

The price of Hong Kong’s energy set to rise again, the unlinkable SCMP reported (9 May 2012) from the China Light and Power shareholders meeting held on 8 May 2012.

Of course, the HKSAR’s 2015  reduced emissions target will demand generators to burn cleaner fuel, but we are not alone.  Following Fukushima global demand for cleaner fuel is increasing Germany and Japan have ceased nuclear generation driving the demand and cost for clean fuel higher and with it the cost of electricity.

However, electricity is a manageable not a fixed cost, most building in Hong Kong have opportunities to lower their operating cost, the worst performers will save millions. Optimising the HVAC and the lighting systems yields the fast results, it depends on the extent of the investment.

For example, we audited a building in Hong Kong, and quickly identified a HK$ 670,000 per year saving with ZERO capital expenditure! the opportunities exist.

— John Herbert, Consultant

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Hong Kong Tariff hike

energylab energy conservation consultant, energy consultant, Hong Kong

2012 will bring another tariff hike for electricity customers in Hong Kong,  CLP and HKE governed under the  Scheme of Control  agreement with the HKSAR Government, CLP and Hongkong Electric propose 9.2 percent and 6.3 percent tariff increases respectively last week.  Criticized by all sectors, it should be no surprise that some “concessions” have been offered as an effort to placate government officials and the public. HKE’s latest proposal is 4.97 % increase for domestic users, and 6.08 % for businesses.  CLP is offering a 7.4 % increase.  However, as last with years hike, the structure of the proposal is more important than the actual percent figure cited, eventually somebody will have have to pay for the increased cost of fuel, if not this year, then next year.

UPDATE: CLP has reduced the electricity from tariff increase to 4.9%  [link]. However, looking at the details you should budget for a significant tariff increase in 2013.

– John A. Herbert, energyLAB Consultant

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Is this what your AHU looks like?

air handling unit energy waste, energyLAB Hong kong

The AHU pictured above is failing to deliver adequate service, We found the entire surface of the unit and frame is covered in condensate, forget about the mess, it is expensive wasting energy 18 hours per day instead of cooling the air inside the unit. In fact it is the first step of every energy audit,  evaluate the equipment! Sure it’s hard work, and therefore often overlooked.  Take a closer look examine the inside of the AHU’s, we have identified numerous problems including loose drive belts, blocked cooling coils, missing air filters, missing door seals, air duct leakage, perished flexible connections, code violations, combustible materials and much more.

The important issue for an energy auditor is to identify and record any deficiency that lowers the operating efficiency of the air conditioning plant and fix it……….so what is the condition of  your AHU plant?

— John A. Herbert, Consultant

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Carbon Tax Downunder

The Australian News is flooded with the senates decision to apply a tax on Carbon, pundits rail for and against, but accountable carbon is leading the way for consumers to pay the true cost of using limited resources.  A $23-a-tonne price will be imposed on about 500 businesses, the biggest polluters starting from July 2012, to be followed with a carbon trading scheme.

The carbon exchange rate, known as the emission factor varies depending on the fuel mix used, which varies between the different territories for the worst case Victoria the power generation emission factor is 1.23  (source National GreenhouseGas Account  Factors)  due the the larger proportion of coal fired power generation plants in Australia is significantly higher than Hong Kong’s 0.7 emission factor.

A small business in Victoria lets say uses 200,000 KWH of electricity per year, she would need to pay an extra carbon tax of approx. $ 5658 per year,  or put it another way, a 13.2% increase.  The key question will the increased cost provide sufficient financial incentive to encourage improved energy efficiency? Certainly, and any large businesses that hasn’t yet engaged an energy consultant they had better issue that RFP asap!

— John Herbert, Consultant, EnergyLAB

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Will Hong Kong finally ban Incandescent Light Bulbs?

sale of incandescent lamp bulb restriction Hong Kong

This is your chance to add your voice to the ban the bulb debate!  The estimated annual electricity consumption for non-reflector type Incandescent Light Bulbs (ILB) meaning GLS lamps, candle shape, fancy round and other decorative lamps, and tungsten halogen lamps is a staggering 900 GWh (2008) that is equivalent to approx. 2% of Hong Kong’s total electricity consumption.  The Hong Kong Government’s public consultation paper closes on 11 November 2011.

Here is link to download the consultation paper which outlines the Government’s proposal to restrict energy-inefficient incandescent lamps.  It is boiled down for easy consumption, in to three key questions:

1. Should Hong Kong restrict the supply of energy-inefficient Incandescent Light Bulbs (ILB) by mandatory scheme, voluntary measures or leaving it to market forces?

2. What types of Incandescent Light Bulbs (ILB) should be restricted if a mandatory scheme is introduced to restrict the supply of ILB?

3. Should Hong Kong adopt the MEPS approach in phasing out Incandescent Light Bulbs (ILB)?

Have your say before the deadline 11 Nov. 2011 deadline.

Will Hong Kong join the growing list, Australia and Europe? It’s difficult to judge, some types of decorative incandescent lamps are very popular here, and with no viable CF alternative, perhaps LED will provide the alternative? Banning the all type of Incandescent lamp may just open the door for alternative sources from across the border. As noted previously although Hong Kong is small place,yet it is without the means the handle mass fluorescent lamp disposal.

It also interesting that this consultation has been conducted by the Environmental Bureau, and no word from friends at EMSD.

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Autopay Utility Bills – just say NO!

Taking time out to sit down to pay your water or electric bill may at first seem like an onerous chore, even the utility companies and others encourage automatic payment through pay or direct debt payment of your bills to help make your life simpler but does it?  Your bill is one way to monitor your water and energy consumption. “If your electricity bill is high,  maybe it means the air conditioning is operating overnight” Herbert says.  Having to check the bill every month can be tiresome but it’s the first step to manage energy consumption.  Another great idea is try and predict your bill for the next month,  once you have the prediction write it down, its important to write your prediction, in the office get your colleagues involved, at home get your family involved.

energy bill sample by CLP bulk tariff

SAMPLE CHINA LIGHT POWER Electricity bill from

From the professional energy management perspective monthly billing is too coarse, over the billing period there are too many variables to consider. We recommend weekly monitoring,  and predictions of next weeks energy consumption.

Let me share a true story from here in Hong Kong,  a property management company managed a high rise residential property. Bills arrived (for the common areas) and were paid.  Then they received a water bill  approx. HK$ 160,000 – many  times higher than normal.  Shocked and certain it was not their problem they requested the Water Authority to check there water meter – that was the second mistake to assume it must be a meter problem, the first mistake was not monitoring consumption.

Time passes, the next water bill arrived it was higher, HK$ 220,000, again much higher than normal. Eventually, the Water Authority reported back, no fault with the metering or billing.   You have probably guessed, it was a water leak within the development after the meter. It’s a timely reminder to encourage closer monitoring of all utilities bills, every week, and don’t assume that an abnormally high consumption is a metering problem.  Beyond the professionals in the industry, people automatically assume that it must be a metering problem! Whereas 21st century metering does not suffer from the problems your parents suffered through,  indeed today meters are robust and accurate.

~~~ John Herbert, Consultant

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Lighting Upgrades

energylab lighting upgrades by design, John Herbert energy consultant

Improving the energy efficiency of lighting systems is a no brainer, the obvious gain is lower the lighting energy consumption. But in air conditioned areas the second benefit results from the lower heat output, because means reduced bills for the air conditioning too.

Let say your air conditioning system has a COP of 3, then reducing the lighting consumption by 1 kW also means lowering the load of the air conditioning system power consumption by approx. 0.333. So together, a lighting improvement will save 1.33 kW.

Concealed uplighting, as pictured above, is the ideal candidate for lighting upgrades, replacing those tired T8/T12 lamps with energy efficient T5 lamps today!

— John Herbert, REA, Energy Consultant

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Lighting conservation

I stumbled upon a useful resource for all facility operators about lighting ( and sent the author a note with a few suggestions who graciously add my suggestions  ideas, here is the link:

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Energy Management System training course #2

EnergyLAB’s director, Mr John A. Herbert has nearly thirty years experience in the industry, and will conduct the following training course:

An Energy Management Systems (EnMS),  covering both ISO 50001 and BS EN 16001 will  be held on 14 April 2011,  here in Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Innocentre.

For registration and further information directly contact the organiser:  LNS Limited, Mrs Wong on Tel:  +852  2482 2901

Register today!  sign up before 1 April 2011 to enjoy the reduced early bird rate,  download the registration form  (PDF)  for Energy Management System ISO 50001 and BSI 16001 training

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Energy Management System Training Course

An Energy Management Systems (EnMS) training course, covering both ISO 50001 and BS 16001 will  be held on 21st February 2011, here in Hong Kong.  For registration and further information directly contact the organiser:

LNS Limited, Mrs Wong on Tel:  +852  2482 2901

Register today!

DISCOUNT – Register before 7th Feb 2011 to enjoy the 15% discount!

Download the flyer (PDF)  for Energy Management System ISO 50001 / BSI 16001 training

About the Instructor:

EnergyLAB’s director, Mr John A. Herbert has nearly thirty years experience and will conduct this training session.

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Higher power cost for 2011

Looking back over the last year, the increasing interest in building energy efficiency was notable, if not somewhat misdirected. However,  the wider publicity and awareness of the issues will we hope drive consumers in the future to seek expert advice.

If a reminder is needed, your electricity bill will be higher next year (2010), because  both of Hong Kong’s power generation utilities CLP (China Light and Power) and HKE (Hong Kong Electric) will raise their electricity tariff by 2.8%.

Links to the official announcement:

For the Hong Kong largest consumers, that increase means extra millions will need to be found in the budget,  and that should drive energy efficiency improvements.

— John Herbert, Consultant

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building operations

building energy efficiency solutions cant be determined from behind a desk

27 Nov 2010 –  Saturday was a beautiful, crisp, sunny day,  I attended the Cityspeak forum at the Fringe Club on Lower Albert road. Afterwards, I couldn’t help notice that the adjacent building had external lighting fittings (photographed above)  still burning carbon at 12 noon!

A simple sensor would prevent this obvious waste of money and electricity.

Energy improvements and cost savings cant be determined sitting in the office from behind a desk, we are different, we are on-site surveying the site, equipment, and settings to identify the problems and provide the cost saving solutions.

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energyLAB participated in the China International Environmental and Energy Efficiency event held as part of CISMEF 2010 Guangzhou, China in Sept. 2010. Our booth was located in Guangzhou Exhibition center Hall 4.2 with HAESCO and another HAESCO member Euro-tech.

energy conservation consultant energylab China

Unlike other events, this was focused more towards SME business, which has been largely left out of the EE arena, since most of government effort has been focused on State Owned Enterprise (SOE) and there industries.
Indeed we were fortunate to meet a number of vendors actively promoting EE and green products, and clients seeking improved energy efficiency solutions.

energy conservation energylab energy consultant china

Energy auditing and energy assessments are still far from common place in China, and getting the message of fuel savings, results in cost and environmental savings is by no means an simple task. It is clear that advanced fuel saving designs including free cooling, heat recovery, and thermal storage need detailed explanation, and often met with disbelief.

Much if not all of this critical sector has expanded rapidly and is too focused on new/clean technology  in my view.  The holy grail for energy and environmental protection, it is not clean technology.  Sure, new technologies have been introduced such as LED lighting, and is gaining ground.

However, smart energy solutions depend on the correct application and operation, and if the operators burn electricity using LED lighting on all day because is consumes a little energy, we will be back to square one very shortly.  Facilities engineering solutions are not sexy, they often have no cost – those are the best solutions.

Additionally, one single technology will not be able to solve every type of problem, a classic example is the IMM (Injection Moulding Machine ) common across South China and the PRD.  Each machine has a heating, cooling, and hydraulic pumping components, and the energy conservation strategies would be different and dependent on the component.  Combining or bundling different solutions together, needs talented a consultant.

John Herbert energyLAB Consultant

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designed for full speed

Vary Your speed

Hong Kong's leading energy consultant, energyLAB, John Herbert

HVAC equipment and industrial machinery are designed to operate at the peak capacity, to handle the worst case scenario.  However, during normal operation periods of partial load occur when the load is less than the design load.

For example, comfort cooling air conditioning systems operate for 99% of the year inside the design condition, particularly the autumn and spring months demand less capacity and injection molding machines hydraulics cycle through full load to no load, and back to full load.

Control by Obstruction

Motors are dynamic, driving equipment that moves fluids, hydraulic fluid, water, or air, from one place to where it is needed.  Without variable speed motor control we need an additional device to either bypass or create an artificial resistance to flow.  Briefly, there are two primary means of operation:


In this situation a valve or other device might be used to divert the excess flow under part load conditions.  Commonly used applications include:

  1. the differential pressure relief for chilled water systems and injection molding machines;
  2. the hot gas bypass used in refrigeration systems and chillers;


In this situation, a device is installed to create an artificial pressure loss, and therefore reducing the flow rate.  Common applications include:

  1. Inlet vanes used on centrifugal fans;
  1. Regulating valves used on hydraulic systems;

However, both modes waste energy. To capitalize on the potential energy saving, the speed and hence the power consumption of the motor needs to be lowered during part load conditions.


One solution is the tried and tested VFD (Variable Frequency Drive) it is an electronic motor speed controller that varies the motor speed to match the required load.  During periods of part load operation,  lower speeds translate into reduced power consumption, and operating cost savings.

Even a relatively small speed reduction provides attractive energy savings.  for example reducing the speed of 1500 rpm motor by 150 RPM (approximately 10%) equates to a power reduction of  27%.

Because a VFD can vary the motor speed from zero RPM thorough to full speed, it reduces the mechanical and electrical shock and stresses during normal operation extending the operating life of your plant and equipment.

— John Herbert, Consultant

Learn more about Ambrose Air HVAC service.

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clean labels and motors


Buy the most efficient motor available, and keep it clean.

Electric motors account for nearly sixty percent (60%) of the global electricity consumption!  Comparing the total life operating cost with the first cost is instructive. Typically the CapEx (capital cost) is only 1 % of the total cost of ownership (e.g. 20- 25 years lifespan for HVAC equipment) Additionally, during the first year of operation a motor will consume electricity to cover its CapEx value, considering the life time cost purchasing the most efficient motor is very cost effective investment.

Look after your motors

Thirty years ago I visited facilities with a real boilerman, he did more than just operate the boiler, but that was his title. Perhaps boilerperson would be politically correct today.  Back then, he was a rare breed,  and fiercely proud of his domain.  Upon entering any plant room you were greeted by gleaming plates,  gauges, copper and brass polished bright,  polished cladding, the room itself fit for dining, but not today cleanliness has gone the way of the dinosaurs.

One popular and possibly most annoying pastime of today’s fitter is over-painting equipment labels,  indeed it’s seems to be compulsory. Yet it still holds true today, a clean facility will have fewer problems.

One obvious and often overlooked matter is electric motors,  simply keeping the cooling fins clean maintains the heat transfer efficiency from the motor fins to the surrounding air. The failure to follow simple maintenance procedures can be costly, allowing motor winding temperature to exceed the manufacturers rating by 5 DegC halves the operating life of the motor! Keep the plant and motors clean.

— John Herbert, consultant, energyLAB

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emergency lighting

Replacing traditional emergency lighting fittings pictured above, with the LED type immediately provides energy savings, and lowers carbon emission. Additionally, the longer lifespan of an LED fitting also results in reduced labour costs.

— John Herbert, energyLAB , consultant

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percentages beware: we do math


Recently I was talking to a colleague about the pervasive use of the “percentage”.  You will have seen the advertising offering up to 30% energy savings ,  and no doubt you will have seen NGO’s giving awards for 25% percent energy savings!

It’s a great marketing, but not science.

  1. When a system or building is performing poorly,  it’s a simple matter to find one time savings, try to find another 30% saving in the second year!
  2. Good data is critical, don’t compare apples with pears.  For example, if building operation in year one 24/7, and in year two it is only 9-5. Just comparing the operating annual cost, magically you have made tremendous energy savings. Quoting these raw cost savings, without a good  metric or benchmark is quick, easy and misleading.  For systems influenced by the weather  i.e.  air conditioning and winter heating,  adjusting the data using degree days takes account of weather variations.
  3. Benchmark  – comparing your system, or annual operation cost to an industry standard is a meaningful, however finding a benchmark can be difficult indeed.

Some advisers that can’t do the math to quantifying the energy and cost savings,  so revert to percentage generalisations – Don’t try fool your client –  give data not generalisations.

Pitching your cost saving solution is not always easy, simply stating an energy saving is often dry, and frankly difficult for the majority of people to grasp.  Use an illustrative comparison that can be easily visualised.

For example, our proposal will save xxxx $ –  that’s the same as saving as driving 100,000 km per year.  Choose a comparison that can be readily identified, so your manager can see an image and the savings.

– John A. Herbert, consultant

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2010 China International Energy Efficiency Event

Guangzhou – energyLAB – energy consultants will attend the 2010 China International Energy Efficiency event to be held in Guangzhou, China.  The EE event will take place over three days, with international companies participating.

Date:  15-18 September 2010

Location: Guangzhou Exhibition Centre,  Pazhou complex,  Gz.

The event will be held this yea r in conjunction with the 7th China International SME Fair (CISMEF).

Visit us at the EnergyLAB booth!!

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carbon consciousness

road safety

From our earliest days our parents drilled us about the roads, and road safety. Everyday, every opportunity it was hammered home — look left, look right, then look left again was one of the many rules of life pushed upon us.

As with road safety, we need to appreciate that “Energy Efficiency” is more than a one-time event – A wider carbon consciousness is needed.

Its more than a one-time event, its more purchasing a energy efficient  appliance.  Ultimately, energy efficiency must become full-time carbon consciousness that includes everything from turning off unnecessary lighting to replacing light bulbs to turning off appliances such as televisions when not in use.

A study from the United Kingdom [link] importantly highlights that carbon consciousness will save more than thought possible.  The study shows the gross carbon emitted is thirty percent (30%) higher than individually calculated outputs.  Dr Adam Hawkes author of the paper said:

“This means any reduction we make in our electricity use — for example, if everyone switched off lights that they weren’t using, or turned off electric heating earlier in the year — could have a bigger impact on the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by power stations than previously thought.

Because we have only two power generators the outcome of this study will not impact the  carbon emission factors used in Hong Kong.  However, if we consider our neighbours, and S.E. Asia countries, higher emission factors offer the potential for more carbon savings — and carbon consciousness will have a greater impact than previously imagined.

–  John A. Herbert, Consultant

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HAESCO event

hong kong energy consultant energyLAB

Mr John A. Herbert, director of energyLAB Limited, was pleased to announce that energyLAB will be one of the title sponsors for the HAESCO annual reception in May 2010.  He said “we must try and support this fledgling  industry”.  energyLAB conducts high level energy audits for organisations, including commercial properties and real estate.

energyLAB limited - bronze sponsor

energyLAB limited – bronze sponsor

HAESCO 18 May 2010

HAESCO 18 May 2010

energyLAB - energy consultant logo

energyLAB – energy consultant logo

Ms Anissa Wong, JP should be Permanent Secretary for the Environment/ Director of Environmental Protection

keynote by Ms Anissa Wong, JP HKSAR Permanent Secretary for the Environment / Director of Environmental Protection

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Hong Kong Association of Energy Services Companies (HAESCO)

haesco_logo_blogEnergyLAB limited is pleased to announce and report that our director Mr John A. Herbert was elected as director Hong Kong Association of Energy Services Companies (HAESCO) on 31 March 2010, and thereafter appointed to the position of vice-chairman of the board.

He joins the other directors of HAESCO, working together to promote energy services businesses and opportunities in Asia.

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Energy Efficiency Has Moved to the Top of the Energy Agenda?

WEF_EE_report_2010Even the World Economic Forum[1] finally understands the benefits from improved EE (Energy Efficiency)… the report (pdf format).

The report covers the usual issues, so if you are looking for new content you would be disappointed. Although several industry leaders including US DOE Steven Chu provide some quotes which could be useful to help persuade your own CFO.

Whilst there is a plenty of talk, action needs to follow, Energy Efficiency is not a thing or product that can be bought, it’s  a process and persuading Asian CEO’s, management decision makers, and CFO’s to invest in a process is real the future.  Governments, for example United Kingdom have use the 10% carbon tax as one incentive to drive improvements. Yet whilst other governments still procrastinate, Asia’s would factory will keep producing the products for European and US consumers.

– John Herbert, Director

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Carbon Audit Hong Kong Standard updated

by John A. Herbert

The Carbon Audit standard for Hong Kong has been updated,  do make sure that your consultant is using the right standard for the Hong Kong carbon audits!


On the whole, the updated carbon audit standard is largely unchanged the major difference being the changes to the emission factors. However whilst minor, the whole revised standard has been released as one document.

related: Carbon Auditing standards

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Energy Experts Seminar (4 Dec 2009)

energyLAB Ltd. is pleased to report that last week on 4th December 2009 during the IDT expo held at the Wan Chai exhibition centre in Hong Kong our Director John Herbert give his energy audit speech at the energy seminar.
Continue reading

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energyLAB @ IDT conference, 3-5th Dec 2009, Hong Kong

image_0001Meet energyLAB next week at the Hong Kong Innovation Design Technology (IDT) conference and exhibition – drop by to see us booth  1B 09.

Continue reading

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energyLAB at ecoasiaexpo 2009

energyLAB hong Kong energy consultant

ecoasiaexpo 2009 supported by energyLAB and HAESCO

energyLAB Limited Hong Kong, Energy Consulting

energyLAB Limited Hong Kong, Energy Consultants

energyLAB hong Kong energy consultant

energy consultant John Herbert at energyLAB in ecoasiaexpo 2009

energyLAB hong Kong energy consultant

Mr John Herbert, energy consultant energyLAB

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what is your carbon footprint?

what is your carbon footprintDuring EcoAsiaExpo energyLAB conducted a survey, not of the visitors as you might expect, but other exhibitors in hall 5.

Frankly, I was expecting mediocre outcome, but the result was more shocking. The survey was simple, one easy question – What is your Carbon Footprint? Continue reading

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EcoAsiaExpo booth 5C13


Carbon management and energy consultants energyLAB limited  ( will be represented at the EcoAsiaExpo 2009.  Come visit us at booth 5C13 – we are part of the Hong Kong pavilion. Continue reading

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False Economy

hot water, hotels, hospitals, legionella, energy conservation

At some point in time you might be advised (not by energyLAB) to lower your water distribution and storage temperature for domestic hot water service – DO NOT lower the water temperature below 60 DegC – whatever promises and assurances are offer, its a false economy.

Devastation is caused by a microbe called Legionella.  Discovered in 1976, it is a potentially deadly bacteria found in natural water courses, lakes and streams, and Legionella can flourish in building water systems, given the right conditions it breeds rapidly infecting the entire systems.  If atomised in showers, cooling towers,  fountains and other devices – there is a risk of human infection causing a severe type of pneumonia known as Legionnaires Disease.

The inexperienced often make recommendations to lower the hot water storage and distribution temperature unaware of the potentially deadly consequences.

John Herbert
energyLAB Limited

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US fears loss of green energy efficiency technology

John Herbert energyLAB energy conservation consultant Hong Kong

A report in today’s Standard highlights one of the stumbling blocks to energy efficiency progress.  Overseas companies often cite the fear that bringing products into China risks loss of their IP rights because it could be reverse engineered, copied, and then sold has home-grown product in China. Continue reading

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Cutting Hong Kong Carbon


click image to download 4.42 MB PDF - English version

Last Thursday (14 May 2009)  John Herbert attended the Climate Change Business Forum (CCBF) launch ceremony for the new Carbon guide entitled “Capitalising On Business Opportunity” download your copy here,  strangely is actually host by another firm here is link for PDF format be aware its 4.42 Mb file.

At the launch, CCBF Chairman and Executive Council convenor Mr Leung Chun-ying said Now is the time for Hong Kong businesses to reduce their GHG (greenhouse gas emissions) to help combat climate change, and there are opportunities for businesses small and large to respond to the demand for goods and services that involved the production of fewer greenhouse gases. Mr Leung said “The guide does not say when we should do it because we believe the time is now“.


For 98% of businesses,  the reality is that their “carbon load” is their energy consumption, but it takes a while to get the message across. HongkongLand’s contribution pictured right, is the most relevant for building energy efficiency, a top ten list, including an annual energy audit recommendation making the list at no. 7.

Practice what you preach?

CCBF should practice what is it preaching,closely linked to BEC, they are located in the BEC Jockey Club building in Kowloon Tong that is still using air-cooled chillers nine (9) years after the introduction of the new code for water cooled chiller. Interesting that just opposite the BEC building, a commercially operated shopping mall has already upgraded to energy saving water cooled chillers and is enjoying the benifits of lower operating costs.

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Wall street venturing into efficiency

click to download report

Click graphic to download CLSA's report

As the New Work Times reports US Venture Capitalists are now starting to moving on the energy efficiency sector. Perhaps it has finally sunken into the conciousness that an 80% IRR on energy efficiency projects are regularly achieved. However, the double standard remains, whilst prepared to invest in capital plant and buildings with a very long Return on Investment, the hurdles for an energy improvement project in that facility is set very low indeed. Generally, the standard five years, became three, and now twelve months is often demanded.

A short term outlook under estimates the realities that organisations are facing,  inaction today can only result in draconian knee jerk reactions further down the road.  CLSA’s vivid (Sept 2008) report aptly titled Panic Button offers a very stark view of the result, and cost today’s  inaction.  In a future of procrastination, it predicts that Governments will delay and delay, until they are forced to invoke instant and dramatic measures,  reminiscent of the second world war impositions, and only those who have already prepared and implemented energy efficiency improvement measures have a chance to survive. If the Government demanded a 50% cut in energy consumption by the end of the week most operations would fold or lower production by 50% risking revenues.

A some point in time, the environmental and carbon cost must be counted, revenues will plummet, and CEO’s will cry they never saw the writing on the wall.

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30 energy saving tips for air conditioning systems

John Herbert energyLAB, energy consultant, energy accountant, accumulation of dust and dirt is a primary cause of inefficiency

The accumulation of dust and dirt is a primary cause of operational energy inefficiency. Switching to solar energy can save a lot of money, visit to learn more. Dust and dirt blocks air flow increasing air resistance, and lowers heat exchanger efficiency.  Where it accumulates on fan it lowers the fan efficiency. Dust finds its way into motors and bearings causing overheating and premature equipment failure. Air duct cleaning Frisco offers best maintenance solutions.

Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems in Hong Kong burn through twenty-nine percent (29%) of all the electricity generated in Hong Kong[1] , and account for the largest proportion of energy consumption[1], and therefore cost in the commercial buildings. Visit this page to see more about HVAC systems. Hong Kong’s soon to be released Building Energy Code focuses attention on the design of new buildings and while significant savings can be made when constructing a new building using integrated design and installation of efficient equipment, that does not address the biggest sector, the opportunities within the existing building stock. Here are some tips to help you lower your energy costs:

  1. Adjust the thermostats to suit the location and season
  2. Operate systems only when and where needed
  3. Eliminate re-heat if this is practised
  4. Allow relative humidity to vary naturally
  5. Minimise the amount of make-up and exhaust air (but ensure minimum required air changes)
  6. Minimise the amount of air delivered to a conditioned space
  7. Recover energy where feasible
  8. Maintain and regularly tune equipment
  9. Use passive solar design techniques to heat and cool air-conditioned space
  10. Ensure hot and cold air ducts are well insulated and do not leak
  11. Inspect automatic controls for proper operation
  12. Inspect heating elements, controls, and fans
  13. Consider the use of radiant heaters to ‘spot heat’ work areas in large factories and warehouses
  14. Reduce the use of radiant and electric strip heaters and portable heaters
  15. Regardless of the system employed the control of warehouse and factory systems is crucial in maximising energy efficiency
  16. Ensure thermostats are located to minimise temperature error settings
  17. Ensure heat exchanger fins are not damaged or disfigured
  18. Ensure air conditioning systems are correctly maintained
  19. Minimise air conditioning in unoccupied operations
  20. Clean the duct work
  21. Consider using demand limiting to minimise energy delivery costs
  22. Consider peak load shifting
  23. Seal openings in the building envelope
  24. Isolate large motors from the air conditioning stream
  25. Recalibrate Fan-Coil Unit Control Valves
  26. Clean open cooling tower systems
  27. Run motors at minimum speed to met actual load
  28. Don’t run dehumidifier and air conditioning simultaneously
  29. Check sensor positions, return air ducts, etc. for local influence
  30. Conduct annual audit log kw/TR
[1] 2008 Hong Kong End Use Energy Data
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Energy Efficiency India

energylab energy efficiency, esco, John Herbert, India

Do you read many of these ESCO/energy efficiency reports?  If you answered yes, then I guess you could probably list the table of contents without turning a page.  Here is the link to download the report (PDF format) authored by WRI so you can read it yourself.

As one might expect, it provides an overview and insight for the ESCO’s and Energy Efficiency projects and market potential in India. Of course it also identifies the obstacles for future development of the ESCO’s business model and energy efficiency improvement projects.  Financing for ESCO’s and business model improvements are cited as priorities.

John Herbert
energyLAB Limited

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Doing Well by Doing Good

energy_consultantAn RICS report titled Doing Well by Doing Good? Is an analysis of the financial performance of green office buildings in the USA conducted by Piet Eichholtz and Nils Kok of the University of Maastricht and John Quigley of the University of California, Berkeley 30 March 2009.

What is interesting for green building owners concerned with the potential return from Green building, well lets quote from the report summary:

The overall conclusion is that there is, indeed, a premium for the rents that ‘green’ buildings with the Energy Star rating can command, but no premium could be found for LEED-rated buildings.

Obviously, it varies according to a number of factors, but the aggregate premium for the whole sample is in the order of 3% per square foot compared with otherwise identical buildings – controlling for the quality and the specific location of office buildings. When looking at effective rents – rents adjusted for building occupancy levels – the premium is even higher, above 6%. The researchers were also able to look at the impact on the selling prices of green buildings, and here the premium is even higher, in the order of 16%.

Another study from USA confirms the healthy financial benefits from green buildings, particularly that handsome +16% for sale of green properties. Interestingly, this study does not supporting the same financial return for LEED rated properties.


Before jumping to conclusions remember that these rating tools are fundamentally different, with diverse rating criteria.  LEED is based on the whole, the sustainability of a building at design stage, whereas Energystar has a limited scope, and I am sure some would argue is rightly focused, based on real-life operational energy data.

Future Drivers

The future of Green Building will still be driven by corporations, demand based requirements for  environmentally sound structures to conduct business.   However, as the pressure to act upon climate change increase the carbon element  will increasingly drive a green rating systems, and operations will still hold the largest portion of the lifetime cost.

John Herbert

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Green Building Asia 2009

John Herbert green building consultant hong kong green building Asia

Our director Mr John Herbert will be speaking on the green building expert panel at the Green Building Asia conference.  The panel to be held on afternoon of day two, 9 (Thursday) July 09.  Contact the organisers directly for registration.


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Cooling towers can save your energy costs

energy consulting Hong Kong, cooling towers

Air Conditioning systems in tropical regions for example, Hong Kong, South China, and Singapore burn the lions share of the energy budget, equally there are opportunities to lower the cost of doing business.  Here in Hong Kong, more than 32% of all the electricity generated powers this demand for air conditioning systems to keep building occupants cool during the hot and humid summer months, and buildings account for 63% of Hong Kong’s carbon footprint.

If your Hong Kong facility has an existing air-cooled chiller plant, and it is nearing the end of its useful life converting to a water based cooling system using cooling towers provides significant cost savings, but also provides another number of related benefits including lower noise levels, recovered plant room space, etc. The minimised sound levels lend an aura akin to serenity to the place; something which can be attributed to the use of an acoustical sealant like greenglue sealant.

Cooling Tower and Operations

It is import to remember that you need to conduct regular maintenance to kept your new cooling towers operating at peak performance.  Controlling the water quality and bacteria are critical to success.

Missing the Business Risk?

Imagine for a moment that your major competitor has already hired energyLAB as their energy consultant, and they are already enjoying the benefits of lower operating costs, coupled with lower environmental impact.  I imagine they would sing that achievement from the roof top because  most people prefer working with greener businesses, perhaps they have already gained new customers.

Customers don’t always act in the way one expects, and businesses that differentiate themselves in the noise of the market perform better.

Studies prove that companies that have active energy policies, conduct energy audits and act on the results out perform their peers on the stock market. Why? because shareholder recognize  the extra value the management team adds by considering the future business environment. Many of today;s voluntary schemes will become compulsory, and if you are already on the track your competitors will find it very difficult, and will always be behind trying to catch the leader.

Contact energyLAB

If you need to cut costs, or lower your carbon footprint call the energyLAB today, we will implement our 3p programme so you can start saving energy!

John Herbert
energyLAB Limited

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Energy Efficiency And Air Pollution

Energy Efficiency and Air Pollution

energy efficiency consultant, energylab, hong kong energy expert

Wondering why air pollution and energy efficiency are so closely related? 89% of Hong Kong electricity generated is consumed in buildings, yet as little as 10% of the primary energy is actually provides useful work. Therefore every watt you save counts. In the chart using 2006 data, the purple represents Hong Kong electricity generation by coal, the green fuel by gas (original chart by IEA


We assess your energy consumption to track down all the wasted energy, recovering that lost energy lowers your operating cost, the generator uses less coal, in turn that lowers air pollution. And many businesses don’t appreciate the business risk, at the time of writing energy audits are still optional, but that will not always be the case, carbon accounting will certainly become compulsory.

In other countries labelling is already compulsory, and building owners now must compete marketing energy consumption. Green building labels such as LEED and BEAM are one type of market indicator.


To understand and track down the energy losses takes experience, experience modelling energy, experience on the application of power consuming process and engineering operation.  energyLAB can find the energy losses and return those savings to your pocket.

by John Herbert
energyLAB Limited

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Energy Saving Air Conditioning

energy saving air conditioning

Energy Saving Air Conditioning

The Hong Kong Government issued advice to building owners and operators encouraging setting the air conditioning thermostats to 25.5 Deg C. Of course the audience for generic advice was the general public, the broad message air temperature of 25.5 deg C (dry bulb temperature) is comfortable.  However, Hong Kong is located in sub-tropic climate region with ambient RH (relative humidity) up to 98% in the summer months. Hence, areas drawing in the least sunshine, like the basements, would be in need of dehumidifiers, which can easily be procured  from The implementation of dehumidifiers would ensure that there would be no moss growth and that the area would never smell damp. You can also speak to utility saving expert to help save some money and energy. The most popular piece of air moving equipment is the ubiquitous fan coil unit, controlled with a simple dry bulb  thermostat and has no humidity control, therefore the only way for the user to try and lower the relative humidity is lowering the air temperature.

Air Conditioning Energy Design

Any engineer worth his salt will tell you that just quoting the air (dry bulb) temperature is worthless information, it only tells half the story. For example would you like to work in air temperature 25.5 deg C & 90% RH? or perhaps 25.5 deg C & 10% RH? No, both are incredibly uncomfortable for humans, we prefer a range of humidity between 50-60% RH.

Comparative Conditions

Engineering the built environment means understanding the complex human physiology, and key to designing human comfort. So how can we use human physiology to lower operating costs? Thanks to the understanding Bluon technicians have of this complex balance, we know that we are more sensitive to changing environment, therefore if you walk into a building from hot and humid conditions, let’s say 35 deg C and 90% RH, into a space at 30 deg C & 50% RH, only 5 degrees cooler, we immediately feel significantly cooler than the 5 degrees would indicate (of course we can’t use this technique for continuous occupancy spaces).

Air Conditioning Equipment

The operation of the air conditioning equipment is another key factor for building energy efficiency.  Our weather changes throughout the day, and year. However, often we find that the air conditioning system is never adjusted. The system commissioned on day one, and never adjusted or tuned until there is a problem. Automatic controls are set to provide chilled water at 7 deg C, irrespective of the external ambient conditions, and chilled return water temperature.  Many building systems also suffer from low delta T (temperature difference between the supply and return chilled water temperature) and don’t realise they have problems. AC repair Mooresville will keep you and your family cool during the warmer temperatures ahead.

Over the years consulting engineers have been chained to their desks, pushed far from the oversight of building operation. Once upon a time, air conditioning and other plant rooms were clean and tidy, maintained in a near spotless condition by the operator was trained or perhaps brainwashed is a better term, to keep the plant room clean. The reason is simple dust and dirt let to accumulate will infer with mechanical equipment, including moving parts, gears, bearings, or block air flow over cooling fins necessary for efficient equipment cooling.

by John Herbert
energy consultant
EnergyLAB limited

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John Herbert appointed vice chairman

CEEO John Herbert

We are pleased to announce that our Mr John Herbert our CEEO (Chief Energy Efficiency Officer) a founding member and executive director of HAESCO (Hong Kong Association of Energy Services Companies) was elected as vice chairman of HAESCO on 26th March 2009.

He thanked the board, and said “I will endeavour to promote the great work being done at HAESCO to a wider audience in Hong Kong and the region, energy efficiency is the fifth fuel which we can use to help business in Asia”.

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Where is your energy accountant?

energy accountant, energy consulting Hong Kong, energyLAB

Having your business undergo an energy audit is a great way to spot where you could save money, and improve the energy efficiency of your business.

Like your finance accountant checks assets and liabilities, your energy accountant tracks down your energy debits and credits,  identifies where your energy losses occur, and then provide recommendations to plug unwanted leaks.

Its a Fact

One firm faithfully paid fuel bills until they accidentally noticed that the fuel bills had ballooned by more than 200% , nobody knew, and nobody noticed. The bills were paid on demand, on time, without question.  This is not uncommon “energy”  is generally viewed as a fixed overhead, and paying bills a chore.  A business wouldn’t operate a for a month without oversight from their financial accountant, yet they operate for several years without any oversight of their energy or an energy accountant.


In other countries Carbon (read energy consumption) is already regulated. Even EPA (USA) are considering the introducing of compulsory emission reporting for manufacturing facilities. In addition to the extra regulatory issues, your carbon emission, and therefore your energy efficiency, would be a public record which competitors may use to their advantage.

Contact energyLAB

If you need to cut business costs, and lower your carbon footprint call the energy accountant today to audit your business today!

by John Herbert
energyLAB Limited – the energy experts

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energyLAB blog launched

energylab_logo_105Welcome to the new energyLAB  blog,  energyLAB Limited is an expert energy consultant located and registered in Hong Kong. Our goal is to advise your business how to lower operating costs, and reduce environmental impact.

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