The management of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) on PolyU campus
Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a term referring to the air quality within and around buildings and structures, especially as it relates to the health and comfort of building occupants. Nowadays people spend more than 70% of their time at homes, in offices and other indoor environments. Since poor IAQ may lead to discomfort or even ill health, people are inclined to be more concerned about this issue.
PolyU is situated in a busy urban area next to the Hung Hom Cross Harbour Tunnel with very heavy traffic load. As a result, high levels of pollutants are likely to be present in our ambient air. Nevertheless, PolyU endeavors to maintain good IAQ in its buildings by means of facility design and maintenance procedures. This article summaries the management of IAQ on PolyU campus.
How is IAQ managed in PolyU?
As a well-designed and efficient ventilation system is the prerequisite for good IAQ, our Facilities Management Office (FMO) is committed to assuring good IAQ in our campus buildings via the following means:
All the above-mentioned measures not only guarantee the normal operation of the ventilation systems and thus provide a good and comfortable indoor environment, but also enhance energy saving on campus.
In addition, FMO is responsible for handling IAQ problems such as identifying obvious sources and reasons for unacceptable IAQ, making recommendations and implementing remedial actions for further improving IAQ. Users of PolyU premises are welcome to approach the Help Desk of FMO at 2766-7777 for such service. For special IAQ issues (e.g. occurrence of unpleasant smells that are not directly related to the MVAC system), FMO collaborates with the Health, Safety & Environment Office (HSEO) in conducting the necessary investigations.
In-house IAQ Research Study Group
PolyU has its first IAQ Research Study Group back in 1999. The group was formed by members from the then Health and Safety Office, the then Estates Office, Department of Building Services Engineering and Department of Civil and Structural Engineering. The objectives of the study group were to :
This study group contributed a lot to the establishment of IAQ management in PolyU till its function discontinued in 2009.
PolyU joined the IAQ Certification Scheme
To promote public awareness of the importance of IAQ, the Environmental Protection Department of the HKSAR Government has launched a voluntary IAQ Certification Scheme for Offices and Public Places since 2003. This scheme aims at recognizing good IAQ management practices and providing incentives for owners of premises/buildings or property management companies to attain the best level of IAQ.
There are two levels of IAQ objectives under this scheme, i.e. the Good Class and the Excellent Class. Buildings that participate in this scheme are assessed by competent examiners with respect to twelve IAQ parameters. They include the following thermal comfort factors and common indoor air pollutants:
If the assessment results meet the certification requirements, the buildings may be certified as either Good or Excellent Class. Each certificate is valid for 12 months and can be renewed annually in the following four years through confirming the re-measured results of carbon dioxide and respirable suspended particulates are in compliance with the certification requirements.
PolyU first participated in this scheme in 2008 and all its classrooms and offices were certified to be of Good-Class IAQ. However, certification was not renewed due to financial constraints. In late 2010, a Certificate Issuing Body (CIP) was again appointed by PolyU for IAQ assessment. Assessment has just been completed and our application for certification is still under processing. Hopefully, offices and classrooms of PolyU will attain at least Good-Class IAQ certification.
Activities and Development on Campus
PolyU Engineering Summer Camp promotes green living
"Engineering Goes Green, Brings a Better Life" is the theme of this camp with about 300 secondary students from 13 secondary schools as participants. This camp was held by the Faculty of Engineering of PolyU from 5 to 7 July 2011. The students stayed in the Student Halls of Residence and enjoyed various programmes such as innovative projects, High Table Dinner and field visits to leading corporations in town. The projects taken up by students included wearable computing and robotics, environmentally friendly CD player, 3D object modelling and animation, electric motor, energy-saving light, logistics simulation and solar amphibious vehicle. The purpose of this camp is to promote students' learning of engineering knowledge and stimulate their imagination and creativity in order that they can gain better insights on their planning for future studies and careers.
PolyU supported the Hong Kong No Air Con Night 2011
Contribution to promoting solar energy on the road
Trial use of new water flushing devices to save water
Modification of the chilled water system to save energy
In a chilled-water system, the air conditioner cools water down to about 4 to 7°C. The chilled water is distributed throughout the building in a piping system and connected to air-conditioning cooling units if necessary. Recently, FMO has installed differential pressure controllers with water balancing valves in chilled-water systems at certain buildings on campus to enable uniform distribution of chilled water supply to the user end. This arrangement minimizes waste of energy in certain areas with a lower demand for chilled water.
PolyU actively supports printer cartridge recycling
Printer cartridges, from laser printers, ink jet printers, or fax machines, can be recycled. However, only some of the proprietary suppliers have their schemes of collection and recycling.
To facilitate recycling of all printer cartridges, PolyU, in collaboration with the Greeners Action, has provided recycling bins on campus since April 2011. These bins are located at or near cores A, F, M, P, Q, R and Y. Any printer cartridges, including ink cartridges, can be deposited into the bins. The cartridges will be collected from time to time by the facilitator, and will either be refilled, if feasible, or dismantled to retrieve the recyclable materials. PolyU members actively support this scheme. About 240 cartridges had been collected up to the end of September 2011.
New legislation on clinical waste disposal
Implementation progress of the Motor Vehicle Idling (Fixed Penalty) Ordinance
According to the Motor Vehicle Idling (Fixed Penalty) Ordinance (Commencement) Notice (L.N. 134 of 2011) published in the Government of the HKSAR Gazette, the Motor Vehicle Idling (Fixed Penalty) Ordinance (Cap. 611, Laws of HKSAR) will be effective on 15 December 2011. This legislation requires drivers to switch off the engines while their vehicles are stationary in order to reduce air pollution at the road side. Except under certain exemption conditions, a driver who contravenes the legislation is liable to a fixed penalty of $320.
News and Tips
Green products for stationery