Cover Story

Plant preservation on the PolyU campus


You may not be aware that even though PolyU is situated in the town centre very close to public transport stations, there are ample green plants on our campus. The number of trees within the PolyU campus is about 550 and the number of tree species is around 60 to 70. In addition, there are a great number of shrubs on the planters throughout the campus. According to the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau Technical Circular (Works) No. 3/2006, a plant is considered as a “tree” if its trunk diameter measures 95 mm or more at a height of 1.3 m above the ground level. PolyU endeavors in preservation of plants on the campus through a regular maintenance programme and comprehensive strategic planning in campus development.

Regular maintenance of greeneries

The Facilities Management Office of PolyU is responsible for regular maintenance of greeneries on the campus. Contractors with experience and expertise in gardening are employed for the regular greeneries maintenance works. These include shrubs trimming, fertilizer application, observation and inspection, pest control, irrigation and shrubs fastening. Moreover, a specialist contractor will be employed for special works on trees including thinning and fastening, etc.

Preservation of trees in campus development

To meet the new four-year degree structure that will commence in 2012, there are many capital projects in campus development. In line with PolyU’s Strategic Plan in enhancing campus greening, our Campus Development Office considers tree preservation to be of prime importance in all campus development works. For the Innovation Tower development, 17 trees were transplanted and no trees were felled. All trees transplanted are not listed in the “Register of Old and Valuable Trees” maintained by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the Hong Kong SAR Government. Felling of registered trees is prohibited unless under exceptional circumstances and with prior agreement from both the Development Bureau and the Lands Department. Besides, efforts have been paid for protection of the preserved trees within the construction site with proper barricades throughout the entire construction period. There are also respective provisions included in the building contracts to ensure tree preservation within the construction site.

By following the above plant preservation measures, PolyU strives to maintain a green and sustainable campus in this busy urban area.

Activities and Development on Campus

PolyU signed the "Hong Kong Declaration" to cope with climate change

In response to the global climate change and related issues, the Hong Kong Sustainable Campus Consortium was formed last year with members from all local universities. This consortium prepared a declaration, with endorsement by all Heads of Institutions, to address the challenges of climate change and sustainable development. In a joint ceremony in the University Grants Committee/Heads of Institutions (UGC/HoI) meeting held a few months ago, our Acting President, Prof. Philip Chan, signed this “Hong Kong Declaration” with a commitment to providing students a thorough understanding of the nature of environmental, social and economic sustainability challenges; and reducing energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, water use and waste in the universities.

Technology Conference on Renewable Energy opened at PolyU

The Technology Conference on Renewable Energy 2010 was kicked off at PolyU on 25 June this year. The conference was jointly organized by PolyU, the Department of Engineering and Materials Sciences of National Natural Science Foundation of China, Beijing-Hong Kong Academic Exchange Centre, and Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation. With the mission to promote knowledge exchange and foster partnership building among academia, government and industrial leaders, the conference focused on the technological issues which energy and environmental professionals are most concerned about in promoting a low-carbon society. Prof. Ko Jan-ming, Vice President (Special Studies) of PolyU, was one of the honorable guests who officiated the opening ceremony with hundreds of participants.

Secretary for the Environment visited PolyU

Mr Edward Yau, Secretary for the Environment, visited PolyU on 3 September 2010 for a meaningful exchange with researchers of PolyU on the application of academic research to the promotion of green Hong Kong. Accompanied by PolyU President Prof. Timothy W. Tong, Mr Yau also took a ride on the electric vehicle “mycar” (jointly developed by PolyU and EuAuto Technology Limited) on the university campus.


Resource Conservation

Recycling program on print cartridges

PolyU has recently joined a recycling program for used print cartridges (粉墨再生計劃) launched by the Greeners Action. This program targets to recycle used toner cartridges and inkjet cartridges in all institutes and universities in Hong Kong. Collection boxes for this purpose will be placed at selected locations on the PolyU campus in the near future.

Currently used toner cartridges can be returned to the corresponding suppliers by individual user departments of PolyU. This new program launched by Greeners Action provides another convenient means for recycling used print cartridges on the campus.

PolyU actively supported the Hong Kong No Air-con Night


PolyU supported the Hong Kong No Air-con Night and encouraged our students and staff to switch off the air conditioners wherever appropriate from 7:00 pm on 29 September to 7:00 am the next morning. This event was organized by the Green Sense with its kick-off ceremony held at PolyU on the evening of 29 September 2010. The organizer received enthusiastic support from more than 50,000 families, 100 schools, 3,000 students from the university dormitories, 50 companies and many government departments.

The energy consumption of air-conditioning systems accounts for a great proportion of total energy consumption in Hong Kong. The purpose of this event is to promote energy saving and the green practice of reducing the use of air-conditioning with an aim to reducing the overall greenhouse gas emissions.

Use of renewable energy – Building Integrated Photovoltaic application in PolyU

A solar photovoltaic system was built recently on the roof of Block Y to provide renewable energy for the building and for research purpose. This project is developed by the Renewable Energy Research Group of the Building Services Engineering Department with support from the Campus Development Office and Facilities Management Office of PolyU. The system consists of 126 pieces of 175 Wp mono-crystalline silicon solar panels and 3kW grid tie inverters are used for grid-connected Building-Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) application at Block Y of the campus.

Apart from investigating the energy efficiency of various components of the BIPV system and validating simulation estimations, this project contributes to the university with respect to energy saving. The system can generate about 20,000 – 25,000 kWh of electricity per year depending on the solar radiation available, which translates to an energy saving of about HK$20,000 per year.


Pollution Control

PolyU aims to achieve Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Certification

Our University strives to achieve a high standard of indoor air quality in our building environment. Necessary measurements are now being arranged by the Facilities Management Office (FMO) with an aim to certifying our buildings under the voluntary IAQ Certification Scheme for Offices and Public Places.

This certification scheme is launched by the Environmental Protection Department in order to promote public awareness of the importance of IAQ. Under this scheme, premises and buildings can be certified as “Good Class” or “Excellent Class” depending on how they meet the required IAQ objectives.

News and Tips

C40 Conference and PolyU Environmental Week 2010

Hong Kong will host a four-day international conference on climate change from 3 November to 6 November 2010 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. This conference will include a C40 workshop to provide a platform for policy-makers and experts from cities around the world to share experience on policies and technologies to achieve low-carbon living. C40 is an organization formed by forty large cities from six continents to foster international collaboration over climate change using cities as a basis (for more information, please visit All local universities will actively participate in this conference where their experts and academics can share their views on specific topics related to climate change.

To make full use of this valuable opportunity when climate change will likely be a hot issue in the city, the PolyU Environmental Week 2010 will be scheduled from 5 November to 12 November 2010 to echo the international conference. Seminars and an exhibition will be held on the PolyU campus to enhance our students’ and staff’s awareness in taking good care of our planet.

Greening Hong Kong by PolyU Alumni 2010

This planting event will be held at North District Park, Sheung Shui on 7 November (Sunday) this year. Jointly organized by PolyU, the Federation of PolyU Alumni Associations and the Leisure & Cultural Services Department, this annual event aims to unite the efforts of all PolyU alumni to contribute towards the community and the betterment of our environment. Alumni as well as their family members and friends are welcome to join the event. Please visit'sNew/Greening/2010/index.htm for more information.

Public consultation on Hong Kong’s climate change strategy and action agenda

To combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Hong Kong, the Government proposes a series of GHG reduction measures and a voluntary carbon intensity reduction target. The Government has started a public consultation on Hong Kong's climate change strategy and action agenda, to chart the way forward for Hong Kong as a low-carbon city. The consultation period will end on 10th December 2010. Staff and students may forward their views and comments to EPD. For details, please visit EPD’s website at

Environmentally friendly products invented by PolyU Staff and Students

PolyU staff and students exhibited great talent in the invention of many environmentally friendly products. Prof. Niu Jianlei of the Department of Building Services Engineering won the gold medal at the 38th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva in Switzerland by his newly invented thermal energy storage material with a higher level of energy efficiency. Moreover, three students with the Department of Mechanical Engineering entered the final of the 2010 Student Design Competition organized by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. They designed and built an autonomous system capable of sorting common recyclable materials.

Green tips for offices

When you are leaving the office for a prolonged period of time, such as lunch time or after work:

  • Turn off computers and monitors. Computers and monitors in standby mode still consume considerable amount of energy.
  • Turn off lights and air-conditioning system.

When you are in the office:

  • Do not set the air-conditioning thermostat at an excessively low temperature. About 3% electricity charge is saved for every degree upward.
  • Use an electric fan. Together with the air-conditioning system, the fan could agitate stagnant air to improve thermal comfort.
  • Turn off part of the room lights if there is sufficient sunlight.
  • Manage your time well and reduce unnecessary overtime work.
  • No unnecessary printouts. Use web publishing and use e-mail for communication. Do not print out e-mails or electronic information resources unnecessarily.
  • Print duplex. Print on both sides of paper sheets. Keep single-sided sheets for printing draft copies at convenient locations.
  • Re-use envelopes. When opening an envelope, do not tear it apart or cut it open to facilitate re-sealing. Keep these envelopes at convenient locations to facilitate their re-use.
  • Use refillable stationery. Use refills for ball-point pen, fluorescent pen, marker, etc. Use rechargeable batteries and other reusable materials.
  • Recycle. Place recycle bins at conspicuous and convenient locations. Know what can be recycled. Use single-sided sheets for notes and memo pads.

Fans aid in air-conditioning

In modern indoor environment, air-conditioning is an inevitable facility to provide a comfortable environment for efficient work and production. However, the energy consumption and hence the carbon discharge are also enormous. The cooler the air temperature is, the higher the energy consumption.

In order to achieve a feeling of coolness, the thermostat control is very often adjusted to a quite low temperature by some staff. This causes more energy consumption. This may also create a cold area under the air outlet but a warmer area where air is relatively stagnant. In fact, apart from low temperature, a gentle air movement itself is able to create a feeling of coolness and comfort. Air movement is also needed to enhance air mixing and to give a more even distribution of cool air.

To facilitate the generation of air movement in some offices, a blanket order of portable electric fans is available under the purchasing system of the Finance Office. Departments could purchase portable electric fans, if the need arises, through the “Term Contracts” at the web site of the Finance Office.