Green Behaviors and Green Buildings : A Post-Occupancy Evaluation of Public Housing Estates in Hong Kong

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number9862
Journal / PublicationSustainability
Issue number16
Online published10 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022



A green building is believed to promote green behaviors from energy-saving to waste recycling. Green building certifications have attracted wide interest, and some were made mandatory for publicly funded developments in cities such as Hong Kong. Policymakers debate whether the city’s expanding public housing stock should be exempted from the green certification mandate for reasons of cost, while evidence of behavioral benefits in green residential buildings is thin, or nonexistent for public housing estates. This paper describes a post-occupancy evaluation study on selfreported green behaviors in Hong Kong’s public housing estates. The study subjects are 400 occupants from two pairs of public rental housing estates with or without green certifications. A natural experiment was conducted, in which surveyed occupants were allocated to certified and uncertified estates via a random lottery, without significant differences in socioeconomic characteristics and propensity to green behaviors a priori. The results show that green-certified housing estates partially induced energy-saving behaviors, but not water saving or waste recycling, nor does it enhance satisfaction or green awareness. A certification alone is insufficient to induce behavioral changes, rather, efforts should be invested in conveying the green message, public education, and appropriate fiscal incentives.

Research Area(s)

  • post-occupancy evaluation, green behavior, occupant satisfaction, public housing, green building certification, Hong Kong

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