According to the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC), buildings currently account for 39% of energy-related carbon emissions globally―with operational carbon emissions accounting for 28% while embodied carbon emissions account for the remaining 11%. Urgent and immediate action to decarbonise the built environment is therefore critical.

“Advancing Net Zero” (ANZ) is WorldGBC’s global project which aims to promote and support the acceleration of net zero carbon buildings to 100% by 2050. Under this project, WorldGBC calls for business, organisations, cities, states and regions to reach net zero operating emissions in their portfolios by 2030 and for all buildings to be net zero in operation by 2050. In a more recent “Bringing Embodied Carbon Upfront” report, WorldGBC also calls for at least 40% less embodied carbon for new buildings, infrastructure and renovations by 2030 and to advocate for net zero operational and embodied carbon by 2050.

Hong Kong Green Building Council (HKGBC) is committed to helping Hong Kong’s building and construction industry to decarbonise and advance towards net zero emissions – a monumental and complex challenge in a subtropical, high-rise, high-density urban context. In support of the WorldGBC’s global “Advancing Net Zero” project and the HKSAR Government’s recent announcement of striving to achieve carbon neutrality in Hong Kong before 2050, HKGBC is proudly organising the first-ever “Advancing Net Zero” Ideas Competition in Hong Kong.


The Competition aims to generate ideas and solutions, enhance learning and knowledge sharing, and to push the boundaries to design future-ready buildings and retrofit existing building stock to advance net zero emissions economy by 2050.

The objectives of the Competition are:

  • To drive professional organisations, technology providers, academia etc. to build up their capacity to support the building sector to advance towards carbon neutrality;
  • To generate new ideas and solutions for the building sector;
  • To accelerate the building sector to adopt and develop low/zero carbon design and technologies; and
  • To stimulate the review of current regulations and code of practices to facilitate the adoption and development of low/zero carbon design and technologies where appropriate.


Under the key theme of ‘Advancing Net Zero’, the Competition seeks to address the following sub-themes:

Zero Carbon and Ultra-Energy Efficient

A key principle of net zero carbon is to prioritise energy conservation and energy efficiency to ensure that buildings are performing as efficiently as possible in the first instance, and not wasting energy. A zero carbon building is characterised by energy efficient design and systems, typically using some combination of the following strategies:

  • Passive strategies
  • Active strategies
  • Fitout/user strategies
  • Renewable energy
  • Energy/carbon management

The Competition seeks ideas and solutions that can push the boundaries of energy conservation and energy efficiency: to create the next generation of zero carbon and ultra-energy efficient high-rise buildings in a subtropical high-density urban context through new building design; and to significantly raise the overall level of energy efficiency in the existing building stock through retro-commissioning, replacement, new low/zero carbon systems, and/or renovation/retrofit.

Embodied Carbon

This Competition seeks innovations to enhance resource efficiency and reduce embodied carbon emissions across the lifecycle of a building. This includes the upfront, use stage and end of life carbon emissions generated in various lifecycle stages of a building.

Embodied carbon will continue to grow in importance as a proportion of total carbon emissions as the operational carbon of buildings is reduced over time. We are searching for ideas, concepts and solutions to reduce embodied carbon emissions across the life cycle of buildings. Some strategies that can used to achieve this objective include:

  • Design for efficiency
  • Design for buildability
  • Design for adaptability
  • Design for durability
  • Design for deconstruction and decommissioning
  • Design for material reuse and recycling

Healthy and Sustainable

Zero carbon buildings provide high standards of occupant comfort (thermal comfort, daylight, acoustics, ventilation, air quality and safety etc.) with low energy consumption. They can further enhance occupant health, wellbeing and experience through better water quality, biophilic design, access to nature etc. Concurrently, occupant behaviour can also significantly affect the performance of zero carbon buildings, for example, in energy consumption (switching lights on and off) and indoor air quality (by keeping windows/doors open or closed).

This Competition looks for ideas and solutions that enhance the health, wellbeing and experiences of building occupants in subtropical high-rise buildings whilst achieving maximum energy and carbon reduction. At the same time, innovations that engage with building occupants and facilitate behavioural change are also encouraged.


The winner of each Competition category, namely Future Building and Existing Building, will be awarded a grand prize of HK$300,000 with a plaque and certificate.

A total of HK$600,000 prize money will be shared amongst the remaining eligible shortlisted entries for both categories — FOUR (4) to SIX (6) in total. Each shortlisted entry will also receive a plaque and certificate.

Key Dates

Open for registration  –  25 March 2021
Closing date for registration  –  7 May 2021

Deadline for Stage One submission – 28 May 2021
Notification of shortlisted and unsuccessful entrants – w/c 28 June 2021

Deadline for Stage Two submission – 24 September 2021
Notification to winners and announcement of final results – November 2021

Award presentation ceremony – Late November/early December 2021

Jury Panel

Prof. Christopher CHAO Yu-hang

Dean of Engineering and Chair Professor of Mechanical Engineering,
Faculty of Engineering
The University of Hong Kong

Ms Tanya COX

World Green Building Council

Prof. Yi JIANG

Director of Building Energy Research Centre,
Tsinghua University

Mrs Elizabeth KOK

Director & Senior Advisor,
Swire Properties Limited

Prof. LAM Khee Poh

Provost’s Chair Professor of Architecture and Building,
Dean, School of Design and Environment,
National University of Singapore

Prof. Stephen LAU Siu-yu

Honorary Professor,
Faculty of Architecture
The University of Hong Kong

Ms Meaghan LLOYD

Gehry Partners, LLP

Mr William McDONOUGH

Founding Partner,
William McDonough + Partners

Organising Committee


Ar. Ada FUNG Yin-suen, BBS

Organising Committee Members

Ms Patricia IP

Sr Dr Stephen LAI Yuk-fai, JP

Prof. LING Kar-kan, SBS

Ir Ringo YU Shek-man, JP

Technical Committee


Dr Raymond YAU Man-hung

Technical Committee Members

Associate Prof. Jack CHENG Chin-pang

Mrs Sylvia LAM Yu Ka-wai, JP

Prof. Michael LEUNG Kwok-hi

Prof. Edward NG Yan-yung

Ir Prof. Wei PAN

Mr Chris TWINN

Ir Prof. Shengwei WANG

Associate Prof. Qingpeng WEI

Advisory Team

Advisory Team Members

Mr Barry CHU Kei-ming

Mr Evans IU Po-lung

Mr John KWONG Ka-sing, JP

Mr José YAM Ho-san

Ms Alice YEUNG Lai-fong, JP

Ms Clarice YU Po-mei, JP

Principal Partner
Supporting Partners
Media Partners
Supporting Organisations

Terms and Conditions

  1. All Entrants agree to comply with the following Terms and Conditions by entering the Competition. If any of the Rules and Regulations are violated, such entry may be disqualified.
  2. Submissions shall not be indecent or adversely affect the reputation of the HKGBC, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or any other parties.
  3. No revision to submissions will be accepted after the specified deadlines for Stage One and Stage Two competitions.
  4. All submitted work(s) must be original, not published elsewhere, or otherwise submitted to other competitions.
  5. All submitted work(s) must not be commissioned works and have not otherwise been sold to third parties.
  6. All Entrants agree to be photographed, video-recorded and interviewed by the media for promoting the Competition and for relevant HKGBC educational activities. All Entrants further agree with the HKGBC to make any transfer and disclosure to mass media (for the use of media interviews, exhibitions, etc.) or other third parties as deemed necessary.
  7. The decision of the HKGBC will be final and binding on all matters relating to the Competition.
  8. Each and every Entrant agrees to indemnify the HKGBC from and against any and all claims, expenses and liabilities arising out of or relating to the Competition.


  1. The HKGBC reserves the right to modify, add to and delete any terms and conditions of the Competition.
  2. The HKGBC hereby disclaims any and all liabilities that may arise in connection with the Competition entries and any materials produced in relation thereto.
  3. As this is an Ideas Competition, there is no obligation for the HKGBC and the Principal Partner to construct the design in full or in part.

Contact us

All enquiries relating to the competition should be directed to: