Cover Story

PolyU Environmental Week 2009

A series of promotional activities and events were held across the PolyU campus in October, highlighting the university's commitment to tackle the global issue of climate change.

As the first large-scale environmental awareness event at the university, the PolyU Environmental Week held from 12 to 16 October 2009 was initiated by the Energy Management Sub-committee of the Health, Safety and Environmental Committee and organized by the Health, Safety and Environment Office (HSEO).

A poster exhibition was staged at the podium of FG Wing that introduced the strategies of energy saving and carbon reduction at PolyU and other organizations as well as the use of renewable energies. Some samples of energy-saving devices and materials used in PolyU buildings were also exhibited, while a small number of relevant booklets and pamphlets were on offer.

In the same week, a 15-episode TV program entitled "It is Easy to Save Energy/Money" was broadcast through the digital display systems at various locations on campus. The Environmental Protection Department (HKSAR Government) and Television Broadcasts Limited production introduce different ways to save energy as well as money in our daily lives.

In the evening of 13 October, over 100 PolyU staff and students turned out at the Chiang Chen Studio Theatre for the screening of a documentary film highlighting the beauty of nature around the world as well as the damage to the environment caused by human activity. The film, "HOME", was shot by renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

On 15 October, an environmental talk on "Reducing Your Carbon Footprints" was held to enrich our students' and staff's knowledge regarding energy saving and carbon reduction. The guest speaker, Dr Chung Shan Shan, Assistant Professor with the Department of Biology at the Hong Kong Baptist University, introduced the basic concept and calculation of carbon footprints. She also shared her own experiences in reducing carbon emissions. Her presentation was followed by a fruitful discussion involving a good number of members of the audience.

To encourage reduced consumption of plastic disposable utensils and Styrofoam boxes for foods, the Plastic and Styrofoam Campaign was held at designated staff and student canteens between 12 and 31 October 2009, during which staff and students could save one dollar if they brought their own food containers for take-away foods during lunch and dinner hours.

Activities and Development on Campus

Alumni Contribution to a Green Hong Kong

On 29 November 2009, more than 1,000 enthusiastic PolyU alumni as well as their friends and family members planted more than 5,000 shrubs and saplings at Yuen Long Park with a wish for a greener Hong Kong.

The event, "Greening Hong Kong by PolyU Alumni 2009", was jointly organized by PolyU, the Federation of PolyU Alumni Associations and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. It was the fifth time such greening activity was held since 2004.

The meaningful event not only helped build a greener environment in Hong Kong, but also served to educate our younger generation about environmental care and sustainable development.

Green Roofs Appear on Campus

As mentioned in our previous newsletter, the construction of green roofs by the Campus Development Office (CDO) is underway. Phase I construction has been completed. Green grass now appears on roofs at Shaw Amenities Building, Communal Building and Core U. This will help to insulate the roof and to lower urban temperatures.

Resource Conservation

PolyU Staff in Support of the Used-Item Collection Campaign on Campus

A Used-Item Collection Campaign was held on PolyU campus on 4 and 5 November 2009. It was jointly organized by the PolyU Staff Association (PUSA) and the Industrial Relations Institute (IRI). Similar events had already been organized in November 2008 and January 2009 with enthusiastic support from our students and staff.

The IRI is a charitable organization that gathers used items from the community and re-sells them at a very low price to the low-income community after selection and proper classification. Items collected include electrical appliances, clothing, shoes and bags, houseware, beddings, decorations, non-pirated VCDs, DVDs, CDs, etc.

Inter-Hall Energy-Saving Competition 2009 - 2010

The PolyU Student Halls comprise eight Undergraduate Halls and one Postgraduate Hall with a total of over 3,000 student residents. In order to promote energy-saving awareness among residents and to encourage them to reduce carbon footprints, an Inter-Hall Energy-Saving Competition is being held at these halls from October 2009 to April 2010.

An award will be presented to the Champion Hall with the highest average scores in the areas of (1) the least electricity consumption and (2) the best improvement in saving electricity over the previous year. This is the second year that this annual competition is held.

Pollution Control

Wastewater Treatment at PolyU

PolyU supports the Government in providing a better marine environment and controlling further water pollution. Along with these objectives, Facilities Management Office (FMO) has commissioned accredited laboratories to collect treated wastewater samples from PolyU's licensed discharge points on a monthly basis for analysis, and the test results should not exceed the standards specified in the wastewater discharge licence issued to PolyU by the Environmental Protection Department (HKSAR Government) under the Water Pollution Control Ordinance (WPCO). The test results are also submitted to HSEO for monitoring.

Given that water pollution can often be invisible to the naked eye, its impacts are far-reaching. In general, bacteria, nutrients and other pollutants can make swimmers sick, contaminate or kill marine life, and may give off bad smells. Thus, the test parameters of the effluents often include Total Suspended Solids (TSS), Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Toxic Metals and many others.

HSEO is pleased to note that the test results of the wastewater samples have consistently complied with the licensing conditions of the WPCO.

News and Tips

The First Phase of Mandatory Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme has been implemented

Significant energy saving can be achieved by using more energy-efficient appliances which help to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants from power plants. To further facilitate the public in choosing energy-efficient appliances and to raise public awareness about energy saving, the Government has introduced a Mandatory Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme (the Scheme) through the Energy Efficiency (Labelling of Products) Ordinance.

On 9 November 2009, the First Phase of the Scheme was launched, under which energy labels are required to be shown on three types of prescribed products informing consumers of their energy efficiency performance. The three prescribed products are room air-conditioners, refrigerating appliances and compact fluorescent lamps. Under the Ordinance, a prescribed product being supplied by a manufacturer or importer shall be a listed model having a reference number assigned in its name by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) and bearing an energy label that complies with the specified requirement. A person who is not a manufacturer or importer of a prescribed product, for example a retailer or a wholesaler, shall ensure that a prescribed product being supplied by him/her is a listed model with a reference number and an energy label.

The energy label grades the energy efficiency on a scale of one to five, with one being the most efficient and five the least efficient. The label also indicates the performance of the appliance and how much energy the appliance (for air-conditioners and refrigerating appliances) is likely to consume in a year of average use. This helps us to choose the one that is the most energy-efficient and suitable for our use. More details can be found on the Web site of EMSD at

Another Green Building Award for the Hong Kong Community College (Hung Hom Bay Campus)

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University- Hong Kong Community College (Hung Hom Bay Campus) attained the highest platinum standard issued by the BEAM* Society of Hong Kong in October 2009. This is another award for her green building design following the "Merit" Award of the Green Building Award 2008 conferred by the Professional Green Building Council. The awards came as a result of PolyU's dedicated efforts to apply splendid green design elements in its new campus buildings. * BEAM stands for Building Environmental Assessment Method

Lee Shau Kee Building Registered as an Energy-Efficient Building

In December 2009, the Lee Shau Kee Building was registered successfully as an energy-efficient building with respect to lighting installations via the Hong Kong Energy Efficiency Registration Scheme for Buildings launched by the EMSD of the HKSAR Government. This registration signifies PolyU's achievement in applying various energy-saving strategies on our campus buildings.