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According to the 2018 Smiling Report conducted by Better Business (a company that conducts market research), Hong Kong is one of the most grim-faced cities in the world, ranking 25 out of 29 cities, and ranked the last and second-last in 2016 and 2017 respectively. With reference to the 2018 Quality of Living survey conducted by Mercer, the results show that people living in Hong Kong have a high cost of living and their main burden is to pay for their debt in order to purchase a flat (ranging from 100 sq. ft to more than 1000 sq.ft).
In Hong Kong, where land is so scarce yet filled with a dense population of approximately 7.5 million, flats have been shrinking in size drastically, living up the name of “micro” or “shoebox” flats. Many of those who are living in here believe that living in Hong Kong is tiring and draining, both physically and mentally, as they feel often either trapped between four walls or have no purpose in living.
Therefore, this proposal aims to utilize every flat to its fullest extent through energy efficient methods, which helps the occupant to save money in the long run and also hopes to liven up one’s spirits through a luminous environment. This proposal can be applied to most flats (with slight alterations), including public rental housing flats by the government and private apartments, aiming to promote the health and well-being of occupants and nature through “building green,” or also known as “green remodeling” for existing buildings.
While lighting is an essential and critical component of one’s living in terms of one’s indoor environmental quality, lighting may account for 15% of a household’s electricity consumption depending on the need of the occupant, which shows that a significant amount of money can be saved with energy efficient lighting installations. With reference to how most of Hong Kong’s population live in flats or apartments, the following suggestions are suggested to fit the living conditions of Hong Kong as much as it can.
For apartments with a balcony or terrace available, slidable glass doors would be a good option to put between it and whatever it is connected to, for example, the living room. Sunlight would be able to shine through the glass door and into the room, providing light and warmth for the occupant. In case one would like to live in a dimmer environment, internal shading devices can be installed in the flat, for example, remote controlled blinds or translucent curtains which does help to shade the sunlight away. This also minimizes the need for artificial lights and therefore cuts down the electricity bill.
For apartments which lack a balcony or a terrace, a light shelf can be installed on the walls along with installing light reflective decorations on the ceiling. The light shelf reflects sunlight to the ceiling, maximizing daylight penetration and window glare of the occupant. The light shelf can be installed on the exterior or interior side of the wall which is up to the occupant’s preferences in terms of daylight accessibility. The light reflective decorations, especially those made with a high refractive index (for example diamonds), reflect and refract more light than other materials, and thus minimizes the need for artificial lights and once again cuts down one’s electricity bill.
For rooms that are in the north facade, with reference to the design of the HSBC Main Building, it is suggested to have full height glass partition or windows without grilles if possible as it is mostly in shade and this design maximizes the transparency of the flat which helps to let sunlight pass through.
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