Campus Development and Academic Research
It is one of PolyU’s missions to develop an attractive, high quality and sustainable campus for our students and staff. The Campus Development Office (CDO) of PolyU endeavors to incorporate state-of-the-art technology in developing capital projects with healthy and energy efficient buildings. Inputs from our academics have been playing an important role in the sustainable campus development in the past years.
How the Story Began
The involvement of academics in campus development can be traced back to mid 1990s when the ‘Eco-block’, a recycled aggregate paving block as developed by Prof. C.S. Poon, was employed in our capital projects. Another collaboration project was the formation of the Indoor Air Quality Research Study Group in 1999. Aiming at studying the health impact of indoor air quality on the premises of PolyU, the then Estates Office invited academics from relevant departments to carry out surveys and provide expertise advices. Then, it came to the planning of PolyU’s capital projects some ten years ago. Prof. Jan-ming Ko, acting as Chairman of the Capital Projects Steering Sub-committee (CPSS), hit upon the idea of integrating PolyU’s academic intelligence into our campus development in particular the infrastructural design of premises. CPSS invited academics from the then Faculty of Construction and Land Use (FCLU) to propose sustainability related research projects potentially applicable to the on-going capital projects. Positive responses from many leading experts in these fields were received from the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, and the Department of Building Services Engineering. Before the redevelopment of Pak Sui Yuen began, CDO even openly recruited for green initiatives from all staff members of PolyU. Since then, CDO established a close collaborative relationship with certain academic departments with respect to the design and construction of green buildings.
Under the leadership of our current President, Prof. Timothy W. Tong, sustainability has been included as a priority strategic focus for the development of the University. As the elements of sustainability also become more important and are recognized by local and international standards such as the Hong Kong Building Environmental Assessment Method (HK-BEAM), CDO has a growing need to seek academics’ advices in pursuing a high quality for PolyU buildings. It seizes every communication channel including its regular “Users’ Get-together” meetings, newsletter, exhibitions and seminars, etc. to advocate its mission and collect feedbacks and comments for continuous improvement. Up till now, many sustainability related research projects have already been applied to our capital projects. Some of them are listed in Table 1.
Table 1. Sustainability Related Research Projects Applied/To Be Applied To Capital Projects
What are the Benefits
Taking a closer look at these research projects, most of them are associated with the conservation of energy and resources as well as enhancement of the health conditions of the campus environment. This is surely a win-win situation between the researchers and PolyU in such a way that the researchers find the necessary environment and accessories for pilot testing their research products while PolyU may benefit directly from resources saving and enjoy a more healthy campus.
For example, Prof. C. S. Poon of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering invented the Eco-block using some recycled materials. CDO enjoyed applying his new research product as paving blocks in certain areas of the campus and now Eco-block is already widely used in Hong Kong as an environmentally friendly building material. Another example is the BIPV panel installation on building roof that was proposed by Prof. H. X. Yang of the Department of Building Services Engineering. This project not only provides the hardware on energy efficient building research but also enables the saving of electricity to the PolyU premises.
Mr S. K. Chan, Director of Campus Development stated that our efforts have also been recognized by the community and PolyU has won many awards in connection with green buildings and energy efficient buildings over the years as listed in Table 2. PolyU is proud to have a strong team of academics who are elites of the field of construction and environment. Their contribution to sustainable campus development is crucial for such achievement. Ir Kenny Chan, Associate Director of CDO (Building Services Division) also mentioned that most of the research projects, once introduced by our academics and accepted to be applied to the capital projects, are integrated into the relevant building management facilities leading to the long term benefit of the University.
Table 2. Sustainability Related Awards Achieved for PolyU Buildings
The Way Forward
As PolyU continues fostering sustainable development, CDO welcomes advices from our professional staff on all aspects of campus sustainability. CDO will further collaborate with academics on research projects which are cost effective and will contribute to the well-being of all PolyU members.
Learning from the past experience of campus development and academic researches, the lack of funding seems to be a stumbling block to certain researchers in sustaining their projects. Even with certain funding obtainable from the University Grants Committee (UGC), their amount may not be sufficient to continuously support the projects in terms of maintenance of equipment and salaries for research personnel. The allocation of additional budgets for campus sustainable development would certainly encourage more involvement of academic staff in the future.
Activities and Development on Campus
PolyU supported Hong Kong No Air-Con Night 2012
The “Hong Kong No Air Con Night 2012” organized by Green Sense was held from 7:00 pm on 27 September 2012 to 7:00 am the next morning. PolyU actively supported this event by encouraging our staff and students to switch off air conditioners at home or in the Student Halls that night.
Besides, two environmental student groups, i.e. the Green Green Hall Community and The Green Society, set up a notice board at the entrance of Student Halls of Residence and a counter on the PolyU campus respectively to promote this event. About 400 students on campus and 120 hall residents signed up to support this event heartily.
This is the third year that the Green Sense organized this territory-wide energy-saving event in Hong Kong. More than 70,000 families and university students, 13 universities/higher education institutions, 222 schools and over 180 companies/organizations pledged to switch off their air conditioners for one night with an aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“RecycleBANK Fun Fair 2012” at PolyU
“RecycleBANK Fun Fair” is an annual event first organized by J.P. Morgan in 2010 to promote green concept. This year, PolyU and J.P. Morgan jointly organized this event on 18 August on the PolyU campus to promote the importance of green living and recycling to the wider local community. More than 1,000 participants including children, youngsters, parents and the elderly joined the various activities such as educational games, workshops, performances and exhibition, etc. This event was also supported by many non-profit organizations and over 150 volunteers.
Launch of a Student’s Environmental Society
In this new semester at PolyU, a group of students having the same mission in protecting the environment came together and launched a new organization, “The Green Society”, under the management of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Students’ Union. This society currently has eight committee members and is dedicated to promoting local eco-tourism and green living on the PolyU campus. The main theme this year is “Waste Reduction” and they will review the problem of food waste and students’ eating habits.
PolyU Supported the ECOLITY2012 International Conference
ECOLITY2012 – Global Youth Program on Environmental Sustainability was held from 21 to 24 June 2012 in Hong Kong. This international conference was organized by AIESEC in PolyU and AIESEC in HKUST to engage global youth to take the lead of making a better future by understanding and exchanging green perspectives from different countries. To support active student involvement in green and sustainability activities, the Campus Sustainability Committee of PolyU generously sponsored this event.
At the same time, a “SMAD” Flea Show was held at PolyU to showcase the latest upcycling products. “SMAD” (Sustainable, MAKE, ACT, DO) is a concept that promotes sustainable lifestyle and consumption.
Green Activities for PolyU Alumni
As the problem of global warming becomes more serious, adopting a green life style is currently a very hot topic in Hong Kong. In order to promote green living amongst PolyU alumni, our Alumni Affairs and Development Office (AADO) organized many green activities in the past few months. A Green Talk on Community Gardening and a Low Carbon Diet Workshop (both presented by Ms May Cheng, Sustainable Living Officer of Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden) were held on 11 July and 4 August 2012 respectively as part of the Health Life Series. Moreover, green topics were also selected for the Quarterly Gathering with Star Speakers held on 12 September 2012. During this gathering, Mr David Yeung Chun Yip (Co-Founder of Green Monday) and Dr Agnes Kwong (Founder of Good Food Watch) were invited to present short talks on “做個健康地球人” and “如何實踐健康綠色生活” respectively. All these events were well received.
Recycling Vending Machines: a new means of plastic beverage bottles recycling on campus
You may have come across a new fancy machine on the PolyU campus recently as shown in the pictures. This is the Recycling Vending Machine provided by a recycling technology company for recycling plastic beverage bottles in tertiary institutions. Upon dropping a used plastic beverage bottle into the opening of this machine, you will be rewarded with a coupon. This coupon has cash value and can be used for purchasing certain products from the sponsoring companies. There are altogether three such machines located at the podium of Li Ka Shing Tower, Lee Shau Kee Building and Shaw Amenities Building.
These machines provide an alternative means apart from the brown-colored recycling bins for plastic bottles recycling on campus. With such incentives, students and staff may enjoy their practice of recycling.
Recycling of Glass Bottles at PolyU
Recycling of glass bottles is not yet a common practice due to the very limited recycling facilities in Hong Kong. To encourage and facilitate our staff and students to practice glass recycling, glass bottle recycling bins are now available on the PolyU campus. They are located at the podium of Core P, Core F, and the Communal Building.
Recycled glass bottles in these bins will be collected by Hong Chi Association periodically and delivered to a local plant and crushed for the manufacture of construction material such as pavement bricks.
With the exception of glass mirrors, lamp bulbs and glass bottles for perfumes or chemicals, glass bottles once used for containing wine, beer, water and soft drinks are acceptable for recycling.
Recycling of Rechargeable Batteries at PolyU
Since 2006, collection boxes for collecting unwanted rechargeable batteries had been placed at convenient locations on campus to facilitate recycling of such batteries. Last month, more collection boxes at more locations were added for this purpose. All locations with these collection boxes are shown in the photos.
It should be noted that only RECHARGEABLE batteries are to be put into the boxes. These include Lithium Ion (Li-ion), Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) and Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) batteries as they are more economically viable than disposable batteries for recycling.
Before putting the rechargeable batteries into the boxes, they should be checked for any leakage or corrosion for safety reasons. Then the conducting terminals should be covered with adhesive tape to prevent short circuiting for safety reasons, too.
PolyU Joined the Power Smart Energy Saving Contest 2012
To demonstrate our efforts in energy saving and environmental protection, PolyU actively joined the Power Smart Energy Saving Contest 2012 organized by Friends of the Earth (HK).
Power Smart Energy Saving Contest aims at encouraging Hong Kong people to establish good habits of conserving energy in order to reduce the environmental impacts arising from wasteful use of energy. Since its first launch in 2006, this contest had conserved over 60 million kWh units of electricity.
Shortly after we joined this contest in early June 2012, our Facilities Management Office (FMO) had reminded our staff and students of some energy saving tips. To compete for a prize, PolyU needed to reduce at least 2% of electricity consumption during the period from 1 June 2012 to 31 August 2012 (92 consecutive days) compared to that in the corresponding period in 2011. We hope that all PolyU members have already adopted good energy saving practices and we may have a good result for this contest.
News and Tips
PolyU Micro Fund
PolyU Micro Fund Scheme was launched in 2011. It is a knowledge transfer initiative aiming to (1) cultivate innovative and entrepreneurial ambiance in the PolyU community; (2) nuture socially responsible youngsters with “Do Well Do Good” entrepreneurship through actual entrepreneurial endeavours; and (3) facilitate knowledge transfer of PolyU’s innovations and technologies. One of the stream of this Scheme, i.e. the Innovation Scheme, rewards students’ innovative ideas that could be readily adopted for community benefit. The theme for 2012 is “Innovation for Sustainable Community” covering cultural sustainability, environmental and ecological sustainability, and communal sustainability. For more information, please visit http://www.polyu.edu.hk/ife/polyumfund/.
InnoAsia Conference is an annual event of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTPC), supported by the Hong Kong government. This year, InnoAsia 2012 has an overall focus on “environmentally sustainable development” for green and healthy living. It provides a unique thought leadership platform in Hong Kong for the best minds in industry, business and academia to come together and exchange the latest insights on sustainable development and generate synergies that promote the adoption of innovative technologies. It will be held from 13 to 16 November 2012 at Hong Kong Science Park. As our university is one of the co-organizers, PolyU staff members are encouraged to join and can enjoy 10% discount of the registration fee. For more information, please contact the Institute for Entrepreneurship (IfE) of PolyU or visit www.innoasia.net.