A Journey to Environmental Excellence
On 2 May 2014, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University has received a Certificate of Merit for the Public Organizations and Utilities Sector of the 2013 Hong Kong Awards for Environmental Excellence (HKAEE) to recognize the efforts paid by all PolyU members in building a sustainable campus. In addition, a joint project titled "An inline hydroelectric generating system in confined condition for urban water pipelines" developed by PolyU's Department of Building Services Engineering and Water Supplies Department also received a Certificate of Merit in the Green Innovations Award of the 2013 HKAEE.
Since 2008, HKAEE has been established to encourage and recognize organizations in eleven different industry sectors who have adopted green management and innovations. In 2013, there were a record number of 896 organizations joined the contest and each organization has to undergo stringent assessments before winning an award. PolyU was among these organizations to benchmark our environmental performance.
Commitments in Fostering Campus Sustainability
PolyU has long been committed to fostering campus sustainability. Over the years, the University had invested a lot of effort and resources in greening our campus buildings and student hostels. In 2011, PolyU has set up a Campus Sustainability Committee to promote sustainability in planning, development and operation of the campus environment, facilities, as well as develop sustainability-related initiatives in various aspects. The committee is currently devising new policies on campus sustainability, energy conservation, green procurement, waste management, water conservation and campus development. Soon after the establishment of new policies, the committee will start working on the corresponding guidelines, specifications and targets. In 2013, another Campus Sustainability Committee was also established under College of Professional and Continuing Education (CPCE) to look after campus sustainability matters for the two extended campuses of PolyU in Hung Hom and West Kowloon.
Green Campus Developments
PolyU is conscious and focuses on green building initiatives. Our Campus Development Office (CDO) and Facilities Management Office (FMO) are working hard in retrofitting existing building utilities with energy efficient systems and building new green campus buildings to improve the overall environmental performance of our campus. In light of these efforts, our extended campus in Hung Hom Bay had received Hong Kong BEAM Platinum award a few years ago and also the Homantin Hall of Residence was the first student hostel among local universities to receive Hong Kong BEAM Platinum award.
For new developments, a lot of environmentally friendly features have been included in the design, such as green decks, sun shades, evaporative cooling, heat recovery systems, energy efficient chiller systems and other energy saving facilities. You can find more descriptions of these green features for the new buildings in the Sep 2013 issue.
Healthy and Comfortable Indoor Environment
PolyU is also very cautious and endeavors to maintain good indoor air quality (IAQ) such that healthy and comfortable indoor environment is provided to our students and staff. Good or Excellent Class under the Indoor Air Quality Certification Scheme has been achieved in most areas of PolyU including but not limited to the library, auditorium, offices, classrooms and public areas. Besides, every time when you step into classrooms or lecture theatres, you will easily notice a green signage prepared by FMO providing all the green features that have been installed, including energy saving light fixtures, occupancy sensors, CO2 sensors.
Waste Collection & Recycling
PolyU is also keen to promote waste reduction, source separation and recycling. Collection bins for waste paper, plastic, metal, glass beverage bottles, rechargeable batteries, printer cartridge and food wastes are set up on main campus. At student hostels, apart from majority of the aforesaid, we also have collection arrangements for old clothes and usable items.
The Pursuit of Low-Carbon and Healthy Culture
Apart from the hardware, PolyU also encourages students and colleagues to pursue green and healthy lifestyle, e.g. saving energy, reducing carbon emission, cutting waste generation, enjoy walking and vegetarian food, etc. Every year, PolyU organizes the Campus Sustainability Weeks to highlight certain environmental issues and through a series of activities including forum, seminars, workshops and visits, etc., to raise awareness on environmental protection. Besides, different campaigns and promotional programs are organized throughout the year to remind and encourage everyone to pursue healthy and green lifestyle.
Besides, PolyU has about 70 Departmental Environmental Coordinators, who will be helping offices to look at their office environmental issues and provide feedbacks to the University.
Our students are also actively participated in promoting green culture. For example, we have students from The Green Society, HKPUSU; Green Green Hall Community, PolyU Student Halls of Residence (Hung Hom); and Green Hall, PolyU Student Halls of Residence (Homantin), who have contributed continuously in energy saving, waste reduction, etc. among their communities.
Sustainability-related Education and Knowledge Transfer
As part of the green education, PolyU has included lots of environment or sustainability related elements into the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculums and also general university requirements. Academic researches and knowledge transfer are providing us opportunities to contribute to the society. Our service learning subjects also provide valuable chances for students to personally experience how different sectors of our society are working towards a sustainable future.
In receiving the Certificate of Merit (Public Organizations and Utilities Sector) of the 2013 HKAEE, PolyU's commitment in green management practices and contribution in environmental protection has been recognized. PolyU understands pursuing campus sustainability is a continuous process and will take every opportunity to further improve the performance.
Activities and Development on Campus
PolyU Signed Energy Saving Charter on Indoor Temperature 2014
On 29 May 2014, PolyU signed the Energy Saving Charter on Indoor Temperature 2014, which is jointly organized by the Environment Bureau and the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department with an aim of reducing electricity consumption for air-conditioning, which accounted for 30% of total electricity consumption for Hong Kong in 2011 Reference. Participating offices from academic departments and administrative and supporting offices have pledged to maintain an average indoor temperature between 24-26°C during the months of June to September 2014 to support in combating climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.
Find out more about the Charter and useful energy saving tips from Environment Bureau's website at http://www.energyland.emsd.gov.hk/indoortemperature.
Student Halls of Residence (Hung Hom) Won Awards in FoE's Green Living Campus Contest 2013
Boyan Hall of Student Halls of Residence (Hung Hom) for research students (approximately 300 residents) has won the Champion and Creativity Award of the Green Living Campus Contest 2013 organized by Friends of the Earth (HK). The contest was aimed to promote green living lifestyles and environmentally sustainable behaviors in university communities.
Boyan Hall has proposed a Pilot Carbon Trade Scheme and Waste Recycling Campaign targeting to change hall residents' behavior and reduce the consumption of energy and water and also increase waste recycling rate.
The "Letter of Intent" for the Contest can be found at http://goo.gl/r48Zrk.
Meatless Monday Movement & Green Monday at Staff Club Restaurant
In 2003, Meatless Monday Movement was started by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health of Johns Hopkins University in US to promote meat-free meals on Monday. Nowadays, Meatless Monday is active in 34 countries, including Australia, Brazil, France and Hong Kong.
Skipping meat once a week is good for your health to reduce the risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It also helps to improve our planet's health by reducing the carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel. (Source: Meatless Monday)
Staff Club Restaurant of PolyU has also organized its own Green Monday and offered a special promotion in May-June 2014 to encourage vegetarian diet.
Sustainability-related Talks, Workshops and Conferences
During the period from April to June 2014, the following PolyU sustainability-related talks, workshops and conferences were held:
PolyU Plastic Bottle Recycling
Over the years, Facilities Management Office (FMO) has set up recycling bins on campus to promote waste source separation and recycling. Particularly for plastics, all collected plastics are handled by Yan Oi Tong EcoPark Plastic Resources Recycling Centre, which is funded by the Environment and Conservation Fund (ECF). ECF was set up under the Environment and Conservation Fund Ordinance (Cap. 450) in 1994 to support educational, research, and other projects and activities in relation to environmental and conservation matters. In which case, we can be sure our plastic bottles are recycled properly instead of going to landfills.
Each plastic bottle consists of different plastic parts. We could also help out the recycling process by following the four steps below:
More information about the locations of plastic collection bins on PolyU campus can be found from FMO's website at http://www.polyu.edu.hk/fmo/eMap/recycle_bin_locator.html.
PolyU Glass Bottle Recycling
Glass beverage bottles are also valuable resources. Currently, all waste glass beverage bottles on campus are collected by Hong Chi Association who has launched the Glass Bottle Recycling Campaign in 2010 with the funding support from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.
All glass bottles collected on campus will then be taken to a factory for the production of eco-blocks (eco-blocks are invented by PolyU). Other than relieving the pressure on landfills, certain generations of eco-blocks can help to remove pollutants from the air.
On 19 May 2014, Hong Chi Association has organized a road show on campus to introduce their Campaign to our students and staff. Details of the Glass Bottle Recycling Campaign can also be found in Hong Chi Association's website at http://www.hcfc.org.hk/gbrc.
Find out more about the locations of glass bottle collection bins on campus from http://www.polyu.edu.hk/fmo/eMap/recycle_bin_locator.html.
PolyU Food Waste Recycling
According to Environmental Protection Department's 2012 Waste Statistics, Hong Kong people have thrown away an average of 3,337 tonnes food waste per day to landfill, equivalent to the weight of about 67 hundred thousand bags of 5 kg rice.
Since December 2013, PolyU has commissioned a food waste collection and recycling contractor, the Hong Kong Organic Waste Recycling Centre (HKOWRC), to collect food waste at all catering facilities on the main campus, extended campus in Hung Hom Bay and Student Halls of Residence (Homantin). We are pleased to learn that Staff Club Restaurant and Hall Restaurant at Student Halls of Residence (Hung Hom) have also joined this program in this quarter. All food waste collected will then be recycled into composts and pig feeds. Colleagues from the Finance Office, Facilities Management Office and Health, Safety and Environment Office have paid a visit to HKOWRC at Sheung Shui on 23 April 2014.
Used Item Collection Campaign on 7-8 May 2014
The PolyU Staff Association (PUSA) and the Community Recycling Coop, a subsidiary of Industrial Relations Institute (IRI), have been jointly organizing the Used-item Collection Campaign since 2008. This year, the first round of collection was held from 7 to 8 May 2014 and colleagues were very supportive and brought different items from their home to the main campus. All collected items were then sold to the needies in Sham Shui Po at very low prices.
Online Thrift Shop (環保在線) Launched by Green Hall
The Green Hall, of the PolyU Student Halls of Residence (SHR) (Homantin) has launched an Online Thrift Shop (環保在線), http://www.polyugreenhall.com/ in March 2014 as their signature program for the collection and distribution of reusable items. On every Tuesday (7:30pm - 9:30 pm) and Thursday (8:30pm - 10:30pm), students and staff are welcome to bring along their donations and consigned items to Green Hall's communal area on the 10th floor of SHR (Homantin). Any income so generated will be used to fund scholarships to recognize Homantin Halls' residents who have made the best contributions to the environmental sustainability-related activities. In April, Green Hall has integrated the auction of reusable items into their "Easter Dream Party" to promote the Online Thrift Shop and by end of June, more than 500 items were collected and some of them were sold.
Resources Conservation Activities at Student Halls of Residence (Homantin)
The Recycling Committee (led and managed by the Green Hall) has continued in this quarter with their awareness programme to inform residents about the locations of collection bin on different floors of the building.
A reusable item collection program was also conducted during the mass check-out in the end of May. A set of four big boxes were arranged at the lounge of each hall. Residents were very supportive and donated their reusable items, including books, plastic products and cooking utensils, etc., to the program.
Recycling Competition of Student Halls of Residence (Homantin)
To encourage PolyU students to practice municipal solid waste (MSW) source separation, Student Halls of Residence (Homantin) has organized a recycling competition from 17 March to 25 May 2014 and also set up individual and group awards to reward those students who have actively participated in it. Altogether, we have over 80 winners being awarded.
You can find more information about the competition at http://goo.gl/akMqic
Banning of Asbestos under the Air Pollution Control (Amendment) Ordinance
The Air Pollution Control (Amendment) (No. 2) Ordinance 2013 (Amendment Ordinance) was passed by the Legislative Council on 22 January 2014 and came into effect on 4 April 2014. Under the Ordinance, the import, transhipment, supply and use of all forms of asbestos are prohibited to further protect public health.
You can more information from Environmental Protection Department (EPD)'s website at http://goo.gl/Q04t4c
Public Consultation on Future Fuel Mix for Electricity Generation
The existing coal-fired generating units for the electricity generation in Hong Kong will start to retire from 2017. In order to meet future electricity demand, the Government has launched a three-month public consultation from 19 March to 18 June 2014 on the two future fuel mix options for electricity generation for Hong Kong.
Existing Situation in 2012
Option 1 - Grid Purchase
Option 2 - Local Generation
You can find the consultation document and more details from Environment Bureau's website at http://goo.gl/w49ucb.
News and Tips
2011 Greenhouse Gas Inventory for Hong Kong
On 6 June 2014, The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) released the 2011 greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory for Hong Kong.
Hong Kong's total GHG emissions in 2011 went up 5% to 42.7 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent compared to 2010. The electricity generation was the major source of emission which accounted for 69.3% of the total emissions, 8% higher than that in 2010. You may find more information about GHG emissions in Hong Kong from EPD's website at http://www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/climate_change/resources.html
World-Wide Environmental & Sustainability-Related Dates
Over the years, various world-wide environmental and sustainability-related days have been established to raise public awareness on different environmental, social and ecological issues. During the period from April to June 2014, the following days were celebrated in Hong Kong and around the world:
You can find more sustainability-related dates from our PolyU Sustainability Website "Green Concepts" at http://goo.gl/WResQN.
World Environment Day (WED) 2014 in Hong Kong
Commemorated on 5 June, the World Environment Day (WED) (established in 1972) is the United Nations' principal vehicle since for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment.
Started from 2013, the Green Council has been organizing the Hong Kong Green Day (HKGD) as an annual event to inspire people to wear and display green in their clothing and/or accessories. You can find more details from HKGD's website at http://www.greenday.hk/en.
Also, this year, to mark the WED in Hong Kong, the Environmental Campaign Committee (ECC) has organized a roving exhibition from 5 June to 1 August 2014 with an aim of conveying the message of resource conservation and food waste reduction using display panels and interactive game booths. You can find more information from ECC's website at http://goo.gl/Wg4Ygz.
Extension of the Environmental Levy Scheme on Plastic Shopping Bags effective on 1 April 2015
The Legislative Council has passed the Product Eco-responsibility (Amendment) Bill 2013 implying the full extension of the Environmental Levy Scheme on Plastic Shopping Bags will be implemented on 1 April 2015. At least $0.5 for each plastic bag provided would be charged to customers by the sellers when conducting retail sales of goods.
The extended Levy Scheme will cover:
You can find details from the thematic website at http://www.epd.gov.hk/epd/psb_extension/en/.
Spring 2014 Issue of Greening Newsletter
Greening, Landscape and Tree Management Section (GLTM Section) of Development Bureau released the Spring 2014 issue of the newsletter "Greening Newsletter《綠化》期刊" in April 2014. The Greening Newsletter aims to promote greening, landscape and tree management in Hong Kong, provide updates on various projects/activities of GLTM Section and share information on these areas. You can find the full newsletter at http://goo.gl/N4pxOe or visit GLTM's Greening Website at http://www.greening.gov.hk/en.
2013 Beach Water Quality Report
On 1 April 2014, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) published the 2013 report on beach water quality. In 2013, 24 beaches or equivalent to 59% of the 41 gazetted beaches were ranked as "Good" and the remaining 17 beaches as "Fair". Since 2010, water quality of all Hong Kong's gazetted beaches has met the standards for bathing. The 2013 beach water quality report can be found from EPD's website at www.beachwq.gov.hk.
Environment Hong Kong 2013
The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) published the annual report named "Environment Hong Kong 2013" with an aim of providing an overview of the work of EPD and Environment Bureau (ENB) and introducing the progress of various programmes related to Hong Kong's environmental and sustainable development in 2012. The full report can be found at http://www.epd.gov.hk/epd/misc/ehk13.
Solar Powered Air Conditioning System for Vehicles Developed by PolyU
The Solar-powered Air-conditioning System for Vehicles (SAV) was first developed by Prof. Eric Ka-wai CHENG, Department of Electrical Engineering of PolyU and launched in 2009. The system derives power from solar photovoltaic and stores in a battery. SAV can be used in any vehicle to provide electricity for air conditioning even when the engine is switched off. In the 3rd generation, a six-hour sunlight exposure could provide around 6-hour air-conditioning during idling. In August this year, PolyU will launch the 4th generation, which will greatly reduce 70% of solar panels' thickness to 1.5 millimeter and increase energy conversion efficiency by more than one-third. You can find more information at http://goo.gl/ObE7BM.
Antarctica May Disappear in the Next 200 Years
Researchers at Utrecht University and the British Antarctic Survey published a new paper about the Antarctica on 30 January 2014 in the Journal of Glaciology. They found that the reduction of snow cover on ice shelves caused by global warming is posing a risk to other ice shelves which could disappear in the next 200 years.
"If we manage to keep global warming below the European Union target of 2oC, more than half of the ice shelves could be saved, compared to no action taken on emissions reductions," said Dr Peter Kuipers Munneke, the paper's lead author.
This tragedy could be avoided. It may not be too late for us to start the low-carbon lifestyle and do something to slow down the global warming.
(Reference: Ice2sea, a program of scientific research funded by the European Union's Framework 7 Programme: http://www.ice2sea.eu/news/pr2014_02/)