ESUS SAG Newsletter – March 2018 Special Events

Sustainability in Asia

Jenny Yeoug, ESUS Advisory Group Member

The Hong Kong Chapter visits T-Park

T-Park is Hong Kong’s first sludge treatment facility.  It is also the world’s largest sludge incinerator.  Hong Kong produces 1,200 tonnes of sludge every day.  This amount is estimated to growth to 3,000 tonnes per day in 2030.  Landfilling is no longer an effective solution.  The Government promotes “waste-to-energy” for the good of the community, hence the idea of T-Park. “T” means “Transformation”.  It reflects a vision to encourage positive change in people’s attitudes and behaviours towards waste management and resource recovery and recycling.  T-Park is a self-sustained facility combines a variety of advanced technology with recreational, educational and ecological features in a single complex.    It is a place to learn, relax, preserve and inspire.

T-Park was built in Year 2016.  It collects sludge from all 11 water treatment works in Hong Kong, 70% via vessel and 30% via truck, operating 24×7.  The operation is self-sufficient that there is no external supply of water and electricity.  In T-Park, sewage is used as fuel.  A proven and high-tech thermal technology known as fluidised bed incineration is adopted to treat the sludge through high efficient combustion.  Sludge is burnt at the incinerator at 850 Degree Celsius for 2 seconds to control the formation of organic pollutants.  Recovery of heat energy supports 3 spa pools and generates electricity, not only to support the daily operation of the entire facility but also produce surplus power for up to 2 megawatts to the public power grid that can be exported to power up 4,000 households.  After incineration, sludge will be converted into ash and residues – a total reduction of 90% of the original sludge volume. This dramatically cuts down the quantity of waste to be disposed of in the landfills and reduces the emission of greenhouse gases by up to 237,000 tonnes a year through highly effective flue gas cleaning system to remove particulates and pollutants.  The cleaned flue gas is constantly monitored by a Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS) to ensure full compliance with stringent international emission standards.  In a near future, inert ashes will be further converted into construction brick to fully recover the resource.

An on-site desalination plant is used to purify seawater drawing from the nearby Deep Bay to provide potable and process water, while rainwater is collected for non-potable use. The facility achieves “zero effluent discharge” through the deployment of a compact wastewater treatment system that allows all wastewater to be collected, treated and reused on-site for irrigation, flushing and cleansing purposes.

T-Park is more than a sludge treatment facility.  It stood out as a distinct complex.  It was designed by the late, great French architect Claude Vasconi.  Over 2,000 specialists from all over the world came to Hong Kong to join the project team to turn a pulverized fuel ash lagoon into a world class ‘waste-to-energy’ facility.  It stands as a testament to the unwavering commitment to excellence.  T·PARK’s innovative wave-form design and stunningly streamlined architecture distinguished an united ethos.  It won the Merit Award in the New Building Category (Building Under Construction) from the Green Building Awards bestowed by the Hong Kong Green Building Council in 2012, DFA Design for Asia Awards in 2016, and Cross-Strait Architectural Design Awards in 2017.  The building is open to general public providing learning and rejuvenating experience.  Landscape areas include T-Garden, T-Roof, T-Sky, T-Habitat.  Learning areas include T-Gallery, T-Theatre, T-Corner, T-Hall, T-Space.  Recreation areas include T-Habitat, T-Spa, and T-Café.

T-Park is turning grey to green, turning challenges to achievements, turning waste to energy, turning sludge to power, turning waste water to wealth, turning ideas into action, and turning trash to treasure.  

Photo stream of the T-Park visit:


WE + Sustainability = Your Competitive Advantage

The Workplace Evolutionaries (WE) & the Sustainability Community (ESUS) co-hosted a pre-conference workshop on March 19th, 2018 in advance of the Facility Fusion conference. Held at one of the world’s largest sustainable buildings, theMart, we heeded the “call to action” – exploring the 3rd industrial revolution, its impacts on the built environment, and the FM’s pivotal role as the revolution plays out! READ MORE…

The workshop featured a full-day agenda, summarized below;

Setting the Stage

Drawing inspiration from Jeremy Rifkin’s Keynote address at World Workplace 2017, the theme of the workshop focused on how FM’s can maintain competitive advantage as the world is transformed by a third industrial revolution.  In this opening segment, we were pleased to have IFMA’s Global Chair, Bill O’Neill, introduce the Call to Action for the workshop.  

Exploring What’s Possible

Chris Cayten, Principal at CodeGreen Solutions and member of the ESUS Advisory Group, moderated a series of case studies highlighting successful sustainable projects;

The Merchandise Mart
Mark Bettin, Vice President, Engineering/Sustainability, Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc.

At 4.2M square feet, The Mart is the largest sustainable facility in the world.  Beginning in 2005, The Mart has engaged in progressive updates to this circa 1935 property resulting in a 30% energy reduction since 2001 netting an annual savings of $860,000.  Not content to rest on these accomplishments, The Mart is now pursuing USGBC ARC, Fitwel and RESET certifications.

Cook County
Ann P. Kalayil, Ph.d.

Chicago’s Cook County manages 210 unique properties totaling 19M square feet.  Like many governmental entities, they have priorities to green their buildings, increase economic impact and become a Smart County.  Targets include a 1M/SqFt reduction by 2018 and 80% greenhouse gas reduction for County Owned buildings by 2050.  Programs include familiar categories of;
  Energy – 80% emission reduction by 2050,
  Water – 30% usage reduction by 2025,
  Waste – 80 diversion rate by 2050,
  Technology – 80% incorporated smart building technology by 2025, 
  Community – create a positive impact on County residents.  

The Edge – Amsterdam
Jan-Hein Lakeman, Executive Managing Director USA at OVG Real Estate

The Edge holds the distinction of being one of the most sustainable buildings in the world.  Completed in 2014, this 500K/SqFt building was awarded the BREEAM-NL Outstanding certification.  Unique architectural features include the orientation and shape of the building to maximize sunlight and thermal efficiency.  The build utilizes 60K/SqFt of solar panels and geothermal energy sources.  It also incorporates other state-of-the-art features such as LED light over internet, smart access, UHD cameras, sensor arrays,  digital ceilings, and an advanced building management system.

Method Soap
Karl Heitman, Founder & President, Heitman Architects Inc.

Founded in 2000, Method is the pioneer of premium planet-friendly and design-driven home, fabric and personal care products. Formulated with naturally derived, biodegradable ingredients, Method cleaners put the hurt on dirt without doing harm to people, creatures or the planet. Located in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago’s south side, Method built an advanced facility with the goal of being the world’s first and only PLEED Platinum certified manufacturing plant in its industry. plant features include a refurbished wind turbine, solar panel installations, large amounts of natural light throughout the factory, and native land renewal across 22 acres.

Leveraging Technology

Jeremy Rifkin outline the criteria signifying start of an “industrial revolution”.  We are witness to the third industrial revolution indicated by the rise of renewable energy, an explosion of digital communication, and emergence of driverless electric vehicles.  

In this panel discussion we will explore what this means for the built environment by examining the convergence of these forces, how to leverage the immense amounts of data being generated by IoT, and how this will influence future building design.

Moderated by Dean Stanberry, ESUS Community Chair, this panel included;
Chris Zlocki, Head of Innovation, Colliers
Sonny Garg, Global Lead – Energy Solutions, Uptake
Ruairi Barnwell, Principal – Energy Services Lead, DLR Group.

Chris led off by outlining the Convergence of Disruptive Forces —


This set the stage for a discussion of the changing nature of work.  Organizational models look more like networks of interconnected nodes vs. the traditional hierarchical org chart we’re all used to seeing.  Chris also highlighted that the old ways of measuring performance won’t work in this new paradigm.  Historically, organizations have made use of lagging indicators to measure performance, which will need to be replaced with leading ones.  New areas of research include people alignment, process alignment and AI predictive analytics.

Sonny relayed Uptake’s work in predictive analytics across a number of industries including agriculture, aviation, energy, fleet, mining, oil & gas, rail and wind. Each industry presents unique opportunities to optimize performance, reduce equipment downtime, and ultimately increase profitability.  Fundamentally a data science problem, he noted that as little as 1% of industrial data is being used today?

With the rise of commoditized sensors, connected technology, massive storage capacity and growing processing power, every asset in every industry is capable of generating valuable data at incredible scale. This key information can answer the most critical questions across business operations and open the door to unprecedented commercial advantages.

Ruairi highlighted DLR Group’s work in high performance design working with the New Buildings Institute, curator of a comprehensive list of high performance buildings aiming to achieve zero net energy (ZNE).   While ZNE emerging buildins have a publicly stated goal of reaching ZNE, most have not yet demonstrated achievement of that goal.  Ultra-low energy buildings have demonstrated significant technical progress towards goals of energy use reduction through design.  Here again, data takes center stage to close the design loop.

The Impact on Human Performance

Moderated by Kate North, WE Community Chair, this panel included;

Shona O’Dea, Senior Associate, DLR Group
Kate Lister, President, Global Workplace Analytics
Dr. Sally Augustin, Principal, Design With Science
Ellen Keable, Principal, Jacobs.

The first question tackled by this panel focused on “What’s the bigger business case?” by examining Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) reporting and what ESG issues to investors want to know about;
 – Exposure to climate risk
 – Treatment of workers
 – Quality & safety of products
 – Product claims
 – How are natural resources used.
A Price-Waterhouse-Coopers study indicates ESG reporting  among the S&P Global companies has grown from 20% in 2011 to 81% in 2016.  31% of investors say ESG reporting is very important to equity investment decisions.  A Harvard Business Review article titled “The Comprehensive Business Case for Sustainability” indicated;
 – Morale ^ 55%
 – Loyalty ^ 38%
 – Productivity ^ 16%
 – Turnover v 25+%
 – Cost of Capital ^
 – Stock Performance ^

The next question focused on “The Truth about Density”.


Design testing on individual work settings concluded that 25 Net Square Feet work setting were the minimum, providing 5-feet distance between people for the Social Zone.  Of note; 4-foot work surfaces preclude varying desk orientation and can place people in Personal Zone.

The “Psychological and Behavioral Implications”


Studies on the impact of choice & flexibility indicate overall satisfaction is a minimum of twenty percentage points higher when there is flexibility with high choice over flexibility with low choice.

“Sustainability / Well-being is the new ROI”


Using stress as an example;

About 43% of the workforce suffers from chronic stress; the research shows that on average, a stressed-out employee loses 35 minutes of productivity/day due to absenteeism (the teal part of the bar) and presenteeism (in orange).  Presenteeism = being at work but not performing your best.

Interestingly, while employers wring their hands over the high cost of healthcare (the grey bar at the bottom), that the least of their problems.

And check out the depression bar, the average lost productivity is 36 days each year and another 7 in absenteeism.

Managing Energy

Moderated by Chris Cayten, Principal at CodeGreen Solutions and member of the ESUS Advisory Group, this panel included;
 – Cindy Zhu, Building Technologies Office Fellow, U.S. Department of Energy
 – Craig Haglund, Program Manager, ENERGY STAR, U.S. EPA
 – Amy Jewel, Chicago Advisor, City Energy Project

US DOE Better Buildings Initiative

Cindy provided an excellent overview of the work being accomplished under the Better Buildings Initiative.  The DOE provides a wealth of resources available through the Better Buildings website.

ENERGY STAR Commercial Buildings Program

Craig reminded us that Energy Star is an expensive program that include product, home and commercial building rating mechanisms.  In the commercial sector, Energy Star Portfolio Manager provides the means to assess a buildings energy and water consumption.  And they also offer tools to locate licensed professionals and a building value upgrade calculator.  

City of Chicago Energy and Climate Initiatives 

The City Energy Project (CEP) has partnered with 21 cities across the US to assist in their efforts to establish and deploy benchmarking ordinances.  Amy is the CEP resident advisor for Chicago.  While her discussion was unique to Chicago, each CEP city will have a similar story.  


Setting Actionable Goals

To cap off this full agenda, Shona O’Dea, DLR Group, led the attendees through an exercise to start building their own action plan – relevant to their personal and company goals.  This exercise was simply a start to completing a full-fledged action plan, but the attendees walked away with tangible ideas and actions based on the workshop data. 

On to Happy Hour…

This was an incredibly packed day, and this summary only provides a glimpse into the material delivered by the assembled experts.  Following the official close of the workshop, we retired to enjoy some social time and guided tours of TheMart.  The WE and ESUS Communities would like to thank the presenters, panelists and attendees who made this stellar event possible.