With sustainable development now a priority of many enterprises and corporates, have you ever seriously thought about how the concept can impact our lives today and those of the next generation? Link recently held “A Real Time Walk to See How We Link Sustainability with Communities” to showcase how Link uses measures such as energy saving and waste management to create better living environments for people through innovative means such as placemaking and community engagement projects. After the virtual tour, you may realise that Link’s green-living initiatives are everywhere.
In this edition of Channel 823, you will be on a trip to Link’s shopping centres, namely Lok Fu Place, Choi Ming Shopping Centre, Tsz Wan Shan Shopping Centre and Sau Mau Ping Shopping Centre. You will have a glimpse of Link’s effort to create a sustainable community.
When it comes to how each of us can help reduce carbon footprint, other than cutting down on daily energy consumption, making good use of renewable energy is another main trend. Link has identified 47 of its properties in Hong Kong, or just over a third of its local portfolio, as suitable for putting up solar cell panels on the roofs. Installation has already begun. After completion, total capacity of 3.3 MWp and annual output of 3,300 MWh in renewable energy can be generated, that is equivalent to the annual average electricity consumption of about 1,000 Hong Kong households, making it one of the city’s largest privately-run solar-powered electricity projects.
As of August this year, Link has installed solar panels in 13 of its properties, including Lok Fu Place, TKO Gateway and TKO Spot. The goal is to add another 20 properties early next year, bringing the total to 33. It is expected to complete installation in 44 properties by the end of 2024.
Many people love to turn up the air-conditioners during summer. Yet even under hot weather, more cold air indoor doesn’t necessarily mean higher comfort level. In fact, optimising air-conditioning – balancing energy savings and comfort – is a branch of knowledge in itself. Since last year, Link has been test-running Energy Management System (EMS) at T Town, Cheung Fat Plaza, Tsz Wan Shan Shopping Centre, and TKO Gateway for electricity usage planning, as well as for collecting and analysing data on external factors such as weather and mall traffic. It then uses these data as the base for adjusting interior temperature and managing the air-conditioning systems. As a whole, EMS can help reduce absolute energy consumption by an estimated 4% each year. Link expects installation on 54 of its properties to be completed by 2024/2025.
To offset rising gas price and address environmental concerns, many car owners have been turning to electric vehicles (EVs). In response to rising demand for charging points, Link announced in November strategic partnerships with three EV charging service providers to deliver 3,000 public EV charging points at its carparks in Hong Kong by the end of 2024. The plan will make Link the Hong Kong’s largest private provider of public EV charging points, while also supporting the government’s goal of achieving net zero by 2050
Most of Link’s shopping malls sit in the residential communities, making them the perfect starting points for building ecological networks. With the support of Link’s “Link Together Initiative”, the Environmental Association has built outdoor butterfly gardens at five of Link’s shopping centres (Choi Ming Shopping Centre, Kai Tin Shopping Centre, Chung On Shopping Centre, Sau Mau Ping Shopping Centre, and Tsz Wan Shan Shopping Centre) over the past two years. The project aims to both improve biodiversity and to recruit butterfly ambassadors from the community. After going through the training, these new ambassadors will assist to manage the gardens. Over the next year, three more gardens will be completed, including Choi Yuen Plaza, Fu Shin Shopping Centre, and Tin Chak Shopping Centre. With Link’s property network, the goal is to connect all these ecological hot spots and transform our city into a large natural habitat for butterflies.
For the past two years, Link has planted the seeds of green living into the community through the urban farms. One of them is the 3,000-square foot urban farm located on UG2 level of Lok Fu Place, which is just a few steps from the Lok Fu community. Its over 1,000 grow spots can supply around 60 types of organic produce and herbs, such as cherry tomatoes, baby Chinese cabbage, and beetroots. The farm also collaborates with social enterprises to raise public awareness of food waste by allowing them to experience organic farming themselves.
Compared with designing from the ground up, having to renew and revitalise old buildings may take even more skills. Link has turned the podium on the fifth floor of Tsz Wan Shan Shopping Centre into an adventure park. This project has simultaneously upgraded and revitalised old facilities and transformed public space in its properties into community social hub by borrowing the concepts of placemaking.
In contrast to most public parks and children’s playgrounds, this playground with adventure elements features a two-storey tall slide, a giant rope course, swings, among other facilities, to encourage families experience more outdoor active fun within the community free of charge.
Roughly 3,255 tonnes of food waste are put in the landfills of Hong Kong every day. That number is equivalent to the weight of 226 double decker buses. “Being wiser with food” shouldn’t just be a slogan and there are plenty of ways to put that into action. To promote food wise culture and to encourage donation of redundant food, Link collaborates with Food Angel to hold Hong Kong’s first Mobile Food Angel Pop-Up Store, which has been moving around Link’s shopping malls since May. One of its stops was Sau Mau Ping Shopping Centre. Through exhibitions, mini-games, and free green workshops, Food Angels aims to engage visitors with knowledge about food waste reduction and to help them put food-wise culture into practice.
In addition to promoting food-wise culture with the Mobile Food Angel Pop-up Store, Link is providing user-friendly food donation platforms to help reduce food waste. Through the “We Link We Share Programme”, members of Food Angel regularly collect surplus food from Link’s fresh markets and shopping centres to prepare meals and food packs for the needy. There are now 39 fresh markets participating in the programme, while Food Angel has set up collection boxes at 15 Link shopping centres. The project targets to benefit nearly 1.9 million people.
While looking for fresh ingredients at Link’s fresh markets, you may have seen some styrofoam boxes for carrying vegetables. They are light, insulative, and durable. All these qualities make them both hard to be replaced and processed. Since early April, Link has installed compacting machines at five of its fresh markets. Foam boxes collected on the spot would be crushed into slices by these machines before being turned into plastic pellets. After further processing, they can then be used for making household products such as clothes hangers and outer casting of electrical appliances. The machines can now process an estimated 60% of used foam boxes at their respective fresh markets. In addition, Link is collecting foam boxes at 27 fresh markets under its portfolio to be taken to recycling plants where they would be processed into usable materials.
From April to November this year, Link has recycled nearly 1.6 million styrofoam boxes, representing a recycling rate of 86%. Though the project doesn’t cover all of Hong Kong, it has nevertheless set a good example in recycling initiatives for the rest of the city to emulate.
In fact, there are many more of Link’s green initiatives that deserve our attention. With further collaboration with stakeholders, we wish a greener community to all of you!