• Greening the largest columbarium in Hong Kong

    8 August 2022

    The new Columbarium and Garden of Remembrance (CGR) in Tuen Mun, the largest of such facilities managed by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), has gained a prestigious industry accolade – the Building Environmental Assessment Method (BEAM) Plus Platinum Rating under the Hong Kong Green Council’s BEAM Scheme.


    Much of the honour can be credited to the sustainability efforts of leading contractor Leighton Asia (a member of CIMIC Group), commissioned by FEHD, project management by the Architectural Services Department and designed by the lead consultant, Simon Kwan & Associates Ltd., to construct the columbarium in-line with a comprehensive set of performance criteria relating to environmental issues associated with the planning, construction, and commissioning of the building. 

    Catering to the public regardless of religious faith, the 8-storey iconic building provides about 160,000 niches, surrounded by approximately 6,700 square metres of landscaped gardens.

    Maximising natural lighting and ventilation

    “The columbarium maximises the building’s natural lighting and ventilation to enhance the comfort of visitors while reducing the level of its energy consumption and carbon footprint,” said Mr. Hercules Tsoi, Project Leader of Leighton Asia’s CGR project. This is achieved by utilising opened spaces to bring in ample sunlight and fresh air.

    “In the Garden of Remembrance, dedicated areas are set aside for columbarium users to perform memorial rituals, scatter the cremated ashes of their loved ones and mount commemorative plaques in fond memory of the deceased,” he added.

    Challenging soil conditions

    Leighton Asia’s scope of works as main building contractor also included the design and construction of a foundation system, together with pile caps and strap beams, to support the building.

    “From a green perspective, one of the main challenges we faced was the site itself. The site sat on a parcel of brownfield land with different deposits. The design solution involved covering the entire area of deposits with a layer of natural soil about one metre thick,” said Mr. Tsoi.

    H-piles were designed to lay a deep foundation for the site. The building loads are supported by these piles without displacing or affecting the underlying soils. “Because of this, we managed to minimise the disposal rate and trips for soil export, in-line with best environmental protection practices.”

    Heat island effect

    “We installed a green-roof system for insulation purposes. Instead of the commonly used foam boards, roofing materials like rockwool, fiberglass, metals, paving blocks and tiles were chosen for their solar spectrum reflective characteristics, with a Solar Reflectance Index of 78 documented. Fifty percent of the roof area is covered with vegetation to protect it from direct sun exposure and keep the interiors cool,” said Mr. Tsoi.

    Vertical greenery was “planted” on the exterior walls to raise the columbarium’s visual appearance and energy savings. These efforts have been undertaken to mitigate the urban heat island effect, in order to provide comfort for visitors.

    Sustainable procurement

    Another sustainable move by the project was to procure materials, including joss burners, soft wood, materials for stone masonry, steel rebars and concrete, within a radius of 800 km from the site, to limit emissions of delivery vehicles and decrease air pollution on the site. Timber used for project construction was sustainably sourced from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)-certified suppliers in Mainland China.

    “Energy efficiency is another top concern factored into our sourcing and procurement decisions. Energy-efficient construction equipment were procured, in parallel with the import of eco-friendly heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) plant and equipment. Similarly, care was taken to ensure the insulation materials supplied to the project were manufactured entirely without chlorofluorocarbons or hydrochlorofluorocarbons blowing agents”, said Mr. Tsoi.

    In addition, the team pursued a “Three Rs” approach to facilitate reduction, reuse and recycling of office paper, plastic water bottles, metals and concrete waste, ensuring that high sustainability standards were observed throughout the project cycle from construction planning through to completion.

    Better asset management using digital engineering

    Leighton Asia’s surveying team extended the application of laser scanning and photogrammetry to the completed CGR project. The two technologies can be associated with 2D Computer Aided Drawings and 3D Building Information Modelling for comparison. This creates reality captures including geospatial data for inaccessible area, and hence facilitates the asset management and maintenance of the CGR if there is need.

    Next goal: BEAM Plus (Existing Buildings)

    Mr. Tsoi concluded: “We are delighted that our project has achieved Platinum rating, the highest level under the BEAM Plus (New Buildings). Based on the green foundation we have built, we hope the project operator will take the newly-won title to the next level of assessment – BEAM Plus (Existing Buildings) – in the years to come.” The new Columbarium and Garden of Remembrance (CGR) in Tuen Mun, the largest of such facilities managed by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD), has gained a prestigious industry accolade – the Building Environmental Assessment Method (BEAM) Plus Platinum Rating under the Hong Kong Green Council’s BEAM Scheme.

    More Features
    Defining World Firsts in Asia’s World City
    Eckersley O’Callaghan is an international structural and facade engineering consultancy with an award-winning reputation for innovative design and technical excellence. A GLOBAL COMPANY WITH LOCAL EXPERTISE Eckersley O’Callaghan has developed a reputation for technical excellence, which can be attributed to knowledge accumulated through incremental innovation and challenges the firm has [...]
    Bespoke Interiors for a Brave New World
    A 25th anniversary is a milestone. For a company, it implies that the business weathered cycles of good and bad times, prospering while adapting to new normals. For architecture and design firms, a silver anniversary is remarkable as the profession demands that each project be better than the last one. For companies that specialise in commercial projects, seismic shifts such as online [...]
    Act now for Net Zero: Remodelling existing buildings
    Retrofit proposal by LWK + PARTNERS turns high-rise office building into urban forest paradise The threat of climate change is imminent, and we must act fast. In Hong Kong, China, commercial buildings currently take up the highest percentage of electricity use and its ageing building stock is seriously holding back the city’s transition to carbon neutrality by 2050. LWK + PARTNERS, one of [...]
    Dow celebrates 125 years, Imagining a better future on the road to carbon-neutral
    Founded in 1897 and headquartered in the Michigan in the US, Dow Chemical operates 104 manufacturing sites in 31 countries and employs approximately 35,700 people. In 2021, the company delivered sales of approximately $55 billion. (按此瀏覽中文版) For Jim Fitterling, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dow, hard work, determination, and an unwavering allegiance to the core values [...]
    A Decorative Life!
    PRC Magazine sat down for an exclusive interview with Creativo Managing Director, KC, who shared his more than 20 years of experience working in the decorative plaster business. (按此瀏覽中文版) KC and his partners founded Creativo in 2010. They have been active in the decorative plaster industry and are well-known in the local building industry. Their portfolio includes many different [...]
    Instagram-worthy interior design a key to competitive success
    Keeping up with community and social trends is the secret to commercial design success for JATO Design International Limited, an award-winning international design firm operating in Hong Kong and Shanghai. (按此瀏覽中文版) According to Kali Chan, Vice General Manager, Design Director – Interior at JATO Design, it has been the company’s regular practice to incorporate [...]
    URBAN SPEAKER the New Home of K-Pop
    The South Korean music scene, otherwise known as K-Pop, is currently making huge strides in the global music industry. Popular with fans from Asia to the Americas, South Korean bands are currently topping the charts and selling-out stadiums. With its fingers on the cultural pulse and a social-media-savvy fandom, K-pop is currently taking the world by storm. (按此瀏覽中文版) In 2017 YG [...]
    Moving beyond the vertical TKE reimagines how we move through the world
    If you’ve ever thought about reaching the top floor of a high-rise tower without the aid of an elevator or escalator then you will know how essential mobility solutions are to bringing a building to life. PRC Magazine recently spoke to Birgitta Van den Driessche, Marketing Director APAC of TK Elevator to learn about the latest developments in mobility solutions. (按此瀏覽中文版) With [...]
    Sustainability trends in retail
    Sustainability in the retail industry has become a hot topic, especially in Asia. At BEE, from our vantage as an industry leader, we have seen a recent growth of interest in healthy buildings, energy consumption and circularity. These trends are apparent given the number of retailers participating in the different sustainability programs currently available on the market. [...]