Hong Kong tech innovation spurs green transition

February 07, 2023 09:20
Photo: Reuters

The protracted war between Russia and Ukraine has led to a surge in global energy prices. Hong Kong’s two power firms have increased the tariffs by around 5 and 6 per cent starting this year, citing the conflict as a contributing factor. The soaring prices will weigh on businesses further, especially for those in the catering sector, as they are already grappling with sluggish customer spending amid the current gloomy economic outlook.

Nevertheless, the situation should create incentives for a transition to a more sustainable and efficient energy consumption model. According to the "Hong Kong Climate Blueprint 2050", the government aims to reduce electricity consumption in industrial and commercial buildings by 20 per cent by 2035. One way to attain it is to replace traditional old fluorescent tubes (T8 and T5) with energy-saving LEDs. The switch will support the green transition in order to meet the energy-saving goal in 2035.

However, it is always easier said than done. Companies often encounter a dilemma when it comes to transitioning to green energy. Large-scale infrastructure overhauls and conversion to energy-saving products often require a considerable capital investment, which involve huge amount of underlying financial planning and cash flow considerations. For example, to replace the traditional lighting system, an operator needs first to purchase the energy-saving LEDs as well as other existing equipment such as battens and transformers that come with it. The new installation will not only increase the operation costs but also “cannibalise” the return from energy saving.

Hong Kong’s engineering scientists have been working hard to help corporates overcome these hurdles and to enable the transition to a Green Economy. One of the latest energy-saving tubes available in the market can save 80 per cent on electricity consumption compared with traditional tubes. Another tube which is compatible with 95 per cent of market’s mainstream electronic gear has also been developed. The devices can help businesses to save up to 60 to 70 per cent on installation costs.

Such that in response to the government’s push for sustainability and carbon neutralisation, Hong Kong-based energy management firms have launched a number of green financial plans which allow subscribers to "save now and pay later". Under the scheme, corporates bear no upfront capital investment for the advanced “Go Green” solutions. With the contract period linked with a “calculated payback period”, the combination of no CapEx, low OpEx and high-performance solutions can for sure help companies transform into a green commerce model.

In fact, Hong Kong has one of the world’s highest energy consumption per capita in the world, primarily because of the concentration of business activities.

Energy sustainability can be achieved through innovative technology and prudent financial arrangement. It means striking a balance between economic development and environmental protection. Hong Kong, where iconic neon signs and brightly-lit commercial buildings are ubiquitous, has the potential to become a shining role model for the world in the transition to green lighting.

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General Manager, Excalibur ESCO