Cover Story

Green Features of the Innovation Tower and Block Z

You may have been attracted by the two new buildings on the PolyU main campus, Block V and Block Z. Block V or the Innovation Tower is located at the previous Keith Legg Sports Pavilion and basketball court. It has a very spectacular appearance and is the home of the School of Design. Block Z or the Phase 8 Building is situated just opposite to Lee Shau Kee Building (Block Y) across Chatham Road North in the “former livestock depot”.

Innovation Tower

Designed by world-renowned architect Ms. Zaha Hadid, the Innovation Tower dissolves classic typology of the Tower and the podium to create a seamlessly fluid new structure – establishing a vision of future achievements and referencing the University's rich tradition (Zaha Hadid Architects).

The Innovation Tower provides accommodation of approximately 15,000 m2 net operational floor area, with general teaching facilities including lecture theatres and classrooms, studios, teaching and research laboratories, workspace, resource centre, exhibition and design gallery, re-provision of sports field changing facilities, and office accommodation. It also provides additional space to facilitate inter-disciplinary research and education in the field of design.

Other than the spectacular architectural features, the building aims at achieving the HKBEAM Gold certification. There are three green decks on its 1/F, 12/F and 13/F providing with greeneries. To reduce heat gain, Innovation Tower has positioned its major facade on north-south orientation and is also lined with reflective window coating. The stylish external horizontal and vertical architectural fins are actually sun shading which blocks direct sunlight from entering the building.

To reduce energy usage, Innovation Tower is equipped with high efficiency water-cooled chiller system, evaporative cooling towers, heat recovery system, energy efficient light fixtures, occupancy sensors for the control of lighting and air-conditioning as well as daylight sensors for the control of perimeter lighting near the windows in offices, classrooms and studios. Besides, the lift cars are programmed to automatically switch-off lighting and become idled during off-peak hours. There are also a few solar-powered street lights sitting near the jogging trail. The building is also installed with Electronic Operation and Maintenance (eO&M) System for better energy and maintenance management.

To further reduce energy loss in air-conditioning and save resources, cooled air from upper floors will be transferred to ground floor workshops as make-up air. In this way, less energy will be needed to cool the supplied air to these workshops. In addition, with the green innovative design by the Campus Development Office (CDO), Innovation Tower is reusing bleed off water from cooling towers in the flushing system and is also recycling air conditioning condensate as cooling tower make-up water.

Other than all the aforesaid green features, CDO exercised tree conservation in that 17 trees were transplanted from the building site to other areas and no trees were felled during the whole development process.

Block Z

To meet the challenge of our new four-year undergraduate program and to continue providing ideal environment and adequate space for learning, teaching, research and other academic activities, Block Z was planned and constructed in the "former livestock depot", north-west of the main campus. This new building intends to provide accommodation of approximately 26,000 m2 net operational floor area with facilities including lecture theatres and classrooms; teaching and research laboratories; office accommodation; conference facilities and amenities facilities such as cafeteria, studio lounge and activities rooms.

Since early 2013, quite a number of academic departments as well as administrative and supporting offices including FCE, RISUD, FMO, CDO, ITS and HSEO, etc. have already moved in.

Adjacent to the entrance to this building, there are a few Chinese Banyan trees (Ficus microcarpa). In fact, they have been preserved and protected during the whole course of campus development. Besides, there is a 180 m2 vertical green wall at the facade of the South Wing. Block Z is also featured with sky gardens having self-contained type PV cell landscape lights on various floors to provide open space with greeneries. Vehicular access on the ground level is also paved with eco glass paver blocks. Careful consideration has been taken into the design of Block Z to allow better natural ventilation across the building and thus reducing "wall effect".

Similar to other green buildings, Block Z is equipped with water saving devices such as sensor water faucets with flow reduction devices and dual flushing toilets. Energy saving installations such as occupancy sensors; energy efficient light fixtures; carbon dioxide sensors to assist in adjusting fresh air supply inside classrooms/lecture theatres; Central Control and Monitoring System (CCMS) to control, monitor and manage all the equipment are also installed.

Staff and students may use the staircases or escalators instead of elevators to access to the canteen, classrooms, lecture theatres or offices at the upper floors of the building. These environmentally friendly escalators are programmed in a way that they will enter energy saving mode and slow down when no one is using them for a certain period of time. Similar energy saving feature is also provided to elevators in which lighting and ventilation fan inside lift cars will be automatically switched off when they are idled.

In addition, Block Z is equipped with high efficiency water-cooled and evaporative cooling towers as well as heat recovery systems. The air-conditioning condensed water will be recycled for A/C make-up water. These installations save a lot more energy and water than that of the conventional air-conditioning system.

With the establishment of these two new buildings, PolyU shows its commitment and a big step towards developing a green campus.


Activities and Development on Campus

RecycleBANK Fun Fair 2013

The "RecycleBANK Fun Fair" has been an annual event organized by J.P. Morgan to raise environmental awareness since 2010. This year, PolyU and J.P. Morgan joined hands again in staging "RecycleBANK Fun Fair 2013" on the PolyU campus on 3 August 2013 to roll out the importance of green living and recycling to the wider local community.

The fun fair featured a wide range of educational games, workshops, performances and exhibition; and was attended by more than 1,000 participants including children, youngsters, parents and the elderly.

PolyU Micro Fund 2013

PolyU Micro Fund Scheme, a knowledge transfer initiative launched in 2011, aims at cultivating innovative and entrepreneurial ambience within the PolyU community and nurturing socially responsible young entrepreneurs with the "Do Well Do Good" entrepreneurial spirit. For the past few years, the Micro Fund Scheme has provided opportunities for these entrepreneurial ventures to explore business ideas in relation to environmental protection and upcycling.

This year, the 2013 "PolyU Micro Fund" awards presentation ceremony was held on 9 August 2013 at Hotel ICON. We have awarded projects relating to:

  • Upcycling auto parts from abandoned vehicles into high-end artistic furniture and accessories;
  • Re-designing and upcycling used or old items into valuable and uniquely designed products; and
  • Raising social and cultural awareness for preserving our own culture and heritage.

Sincerest congratulations to the winners and we are looking forward to seeing more creative and innovative winning projects in the coming years to promote environmental protection.

Sustainability related talks, workshops and conference

Within this summer, various sustainability related talks, workshops and conference were held on the PolyU campus:

  • Talk on "A Greener China: Is it possible?" ( 綠色中國:可能嗎?)

    Date : 5 July 2013
    Speaker : Dr Tai Chan (陳大綸博士)
    Organizer : Dean of Students Office of PolyU
    Content : In this talk, the speaker explained the status of China in the 21th century with respect to major environmental issues and explored the prospects for a greener and healthier China. This talk attracted about 60 participants.
  • Workshop on "Low Carbon Logistics: Good Practice and Guideline for SMEs (III)"

    Date : 5 July 2013
    Organizer : CY Tung International Centre for Maritime Studies (ICMS)
    Content : This workshop covered different topics of ISO14064 and introduced the latest concepts and practices of low carbon logistics. There were approximately 50 participants.
  • Public Lecture on "Effect of Outdoor Particulate Matter (PM) on Indoor Air Quality and its Control"

    Date : 24 July 2013
    Speaker : Dr Zhao Bin
    Organizers : Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) and Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development (RISUD) of PolyU
    Content : This lecture contributed to the understanding of the outdoor particles impact on indoor environment as well as the engineering control of the entry of outdoor particles. It was well received by around 80 participants.
  • iRobot Summer Camp

    Date : 12 – 15 August 2013
    Organizers : Department of Computing of PolyU and IBM China/Hong Kong Limited
    Content : Participants (more than 60 secondary three to five students) were guided through a well-tailored learning process to acquire basic robotic programming skills and mechanics knowledge. All participants were required to design and assemble programmable robots in an "interactive virtual village" setting which simulated the natural environment in a robotic competition on the last day of the camp.
  • 12th International Conference on Sustainable Energy Technologies (SET2013)

    Date : 26 – 29 August 2013
    Organizers : Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) and the Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development (RISUD) of PolyU
    Content : SET2013 is a multi–disciplinary international conference on the sustainable energy sources and technologies, and provides a forum for the exchange of latest technical information, dissemination of the high-quality research results on the issues, presentation of the new developments in the area of sustainable energy, debate and shaping of future directions and priorities for better environment, sustainable development and energy security.
  • Public Lecture on Sustainable Buildings - Dream or Trend

    Date : 6 September 2013
    Speaker : Prof. Thomas Lützkendorf
    Organizers : Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) and Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development (RISUD) of PolyU
    Content : This lecture explained the relationship between buildings' sustainability performance and their economic value; and current state of the respective scientific discussion, of standardization activities as well as of professional practice in the real estate sector. Around 90 staff and students joined the lecture and the feedback was satisfactory.


Resources Conservation

Solar powered lights on campus

Solar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity. Solar powered lights become more popular nowadays as the use of solar power is a sustainability measure to save energy. In PolyU, some solar powered lights have already been used as pathway lights at the lawn next to Li Ka Shing Tower since 2010. The installation of these lights was contributed by the Department of Electrical Engineering and Power Electronics Research Centre. Recently more solar powered lights have been used on the PolyU campus. They are self-contained type PV cell pathway lights installed on the jogging trail next to the Innovation Tower and landscape lights at the sky garden of Block Z. It is anticipated that more green features can be seen around us on the campus in the foreseeable future.

Collecting Food Waste

Food waste accounts for about 40 percent of municipal solid waste in Hong Kong. Over 3,500 tonnes of food waste are disposed of in the landfill sites everyday. As a Food Wise Partner of the Food Wise Charter, PolyU is committed to reducing food waste. We are planning to hire a contractor to collect food waste initially at all catering outlets on the main campus, Hong Kong Community College (Hung Hom Bay campus), and Student Halls of Residence at Homantin everyday. The collected food waste will be used for making fertilizers, etc. by composing.

You may also contribute to reducing food waste by simply adopting a thoughtful dining habit.

Sustainable Food Choice

On 13 September 2013, the HKSAR Government announced an internal ban on shark fin for official entertainment functions in response to the local and international concerns over unsustainable way of food harvesting.

Back to early 2009 in PolyU, its Senior Management had already issued an internal document that no shark fin soups should be served in university events in order to protect the environment and marine ecosystems. You are welcome to join hands with PolyU members to say No to shark fins and enjoy a sustainable lifestyle.

Pollution Control

Remedial measures in response to pollutants generated in construction areas on campus

Recently there has been a lot of construction or renovation works on the PolyU campus. Staff and students whose offices or classrooms are situated close to these areas may have a concern about pollutants generated from construction works. In general, there is a project manager from the Campus Development Office (CDO) to oversee the implementation of each project by the respective contractor. The construction areas are required to be enclosed with proper material to avoid the spreading of dust and unpleasant smell to the nearby areas. Major noisy works or works that may produce nuisances are required to be carried out during lunch time or after office hours.

In case PolyU members still find irritations arising from the construction works, they are advised to seek help from the Health, Safety and Environment Office (HSEO) or contact the responsible project manager at CDO (or the CDO hotline at 27667766). Upon receipt of complaint, HSEO will coordinate with CDO and the Facilities Management Office (FMO) to investigate the problems and figure out possible remedial measures which may include the followings:

  • Tighten the control on contractor's precautionary works to minimize the spreading of pollutants from construction site to nearby areas
  • Ensure the extraction of pollutants working properly from the construction site to the outside atmosphere without affecting the nearby occupied areas
  • Assess the air quality of the affected areas by taking certain on-site measurements
  • Purge the affected areas by allowing more fresh air intake or prolonging operation of the extraction system whenever necessary
  • Examine the concerned air handling unit(s) and change the filters whenever necessary
  • Provide air cleaners temporarily at the affected areas whenever necessary
  • Provide cleaning service at the affected areas whenever necessary


News and Tips

The Government's Task Force on External Lighting invites comments and recommendations

In view of the increased public concern about light nuisance and energy wastage caused by external lighting in Hong Kong, the Government has taken a series of actions to address the problems. These include setting up the Task Force on External Lighting in August 2011 to advise on appropriate strategies and measures, and the promulgation of the Guidelines on Industry Best Practices for External Lighting in January 2012 to encourage early action to minimize light nuisance and energy wastage.

On 19 August 2013, the Task Force on External Lighting published the Document for Engaging Stakeholders and the Public, which aims to invite comments on the Task Force's proposal requiring lighting installations with decorative, promotional or advertising purposes that affect the outdoor environment to be switched off after a preset time. The engagement document has been posted on the Environment Bureau's website ( Members of the public are invited to submit their views by email to, by fax to 31874534 or by mail (Environmental Management Division, 3/F, Hong Kong Productivity Council Building, 78 Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon) on or before 18 October 2013. The Task Force would give careful consideration to the views collected before drawing up specific recommendations to the Government on the appropriate ways to regulate external lighting.

Air Pollution Control (Amendment) Ordinance 2013: implementing new air quality objectives

The Air Pollution Control (Amendment) Ordinance 2013 was passed by the Legislative Council on 10 July 2013 and will come into operation on 1 January 2014. The Ordinance seeks to implement the new air quality objectives (AQOs)(concentration limits of certain air pollutants) which are benchmarked against a combination of interim and ultimate targets under the World Health Organization's Air Quality Guidelines. These new AQOs will be used as the basis for air quality impact assessment of projects or processes under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance and the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO). According to the new Ordinance, the AQOs must be reviewed at least once every five years.

The Government has accorded top priority to improving air quality and the goal is to broadly achieve the new AQOs by 2020. The Government will also continue to expedite the implementation of various air quality improvement measures outlined in "A Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong" (retrievable from released in March this year.

Public consultation on municipal solid waste charging

The Council for Sustainable Development launched a public engagement process entitled "Waste Reduction by Waste Charging • How to Implement?" on 25 September 2013. This process aims to encourage stakeholders and the general public to participate in the development of feasible mechanism to implement municipal solid waste charging and promoting sustainable development of Hong Kong. The Council issued the Invitation for Response (IR) Document which provides background information on waste and related issues for discussion in the public engagement process. There are more than 90 supporting organizations, including PolyU and other tertiary institutes, that have been engaged to help disseminate information about this public engagement process, as well as to create synergy and social cohesion to enhance publicity and participation.

The IR Document can be downloaded from the Council's dedicated website ( Members of the public are encouraged to send views to the Council Secretariat (email: ; mail: Sustainable Development Division, Environment Bureau, 46/F, Revenue Tower, 5 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong) on or before 24 January 2014.