Ninety shopping malls have promised to raise indoor temperatures to save energy, according to new Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing.
Wong told the Legislative Council yesterday that under the energy-saving contract, which came into effect last month, the malls have pledged to adjust their indoor temperatures to 26 degrees Celsius, from 24 degrees, until September.
Through this scheme, people will learn how to use air conditioners in a greener and more effective way, he added.
Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong legislator Gary Chan Hak-kan told the Legco session that some malls are just too cold.
Lau Kong-wah, another DAB lawmaker, said: "It is an awkward phenomenon to see students putting on sweaters and women wearing scarves while shopping at malls in the summer."
Meanwhile, Wong said a project to install green rooftops on more than 200 government buildings has been completed, and carbon auditing will be conducted at different departments to optimize the use of electricity.
He added that the government will fund about 140 subsidized schools and NGOs to build green rooftops, under a HK$60 million program of the Environment and Conservative Fund.
Civic Party lawmaker Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said she doubted the government could serve as an example when the indoor temperature at the government complex is set at 22 to 23 degrees Celsius.
Wong replied that the thermostat for most offices in the complex is set at 25.5 degrees. But the temperature in the consolidated server center is set lower because of the large number of computer servers in the room.
Friends of the Earth director Edwin Lau Che- feng said the contract between the government and the malls is on a voluntary basis and it is up to the mall management to enforce it.
"The government should randomly check these malls to make sure they are carrying out their promise," he said.
Green groups should also help monitor the malls if they have extra resources.