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Issue 59 - September 2015


Table of Contents

Quality of FCE Freshmen on the Rise

In the latest round of admission for 2015/16, the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) attracted better quality students to its undergraduate degree programmes, three of which have admitted students with scores from the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) that averaged higher than the University’s mean of 23.9*. The average HKDSE scores of the intake cohort for the BSc (Hons) in Surveying, the BEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering, and the Broad Discipline of Construction and Environment were 27.1*, 26.0*, and 24.3* respectively. A similar trend in rising scores could also be seen in the admission data for 2014/15.

Moreover, students admitted to the Broad Discipline of Construction and Environment in 2015/16 had the highest admission scores compared to those who were admitted to other broad disciplines of the University. With such promising talents to work with, FCE has much to look forward to in the near future.
*Figures are calculated from the total points of any best 5 subjects and exclude offers under the Non-academic Achievements Scheme

Relationship Between Ideal Indoor Temperature and Cooling Energy Consumption in Air-conditioned Offices Identified by BSE Scholars

Buildings account for 90% of total electricity consumption in Hong Kong and contribute more than 60% of the greenhouse gas emissions, one-third of which are caused by air-conditioning systems. Since the Environment Bureau of the Hong Kong government launched the Energy Saving Charter on Indoor Temperature in 2012, it has suggested maintaining an average indoor temperature between 24 and 26 degrees Celsius. Nearly 2,800 businesses, offices, and residences in Hong Kong have agreed to do that during the summer months. However, the suggested temperature differs from the actual needs of office workers for air-conditioning environments.

A user-friendly computer programme to calculate the ideal indoor temperature for office workers has recently been developed by Dr Horace Mui and Dr Ling-tim Wong of the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE). They began collecting data related to air-conditioned office temperatures ten years ago in their on-site research. Based on the concepts of adaptive comfort temperature (indoor temperature linked with outdoor temperature) and demand control ventilation system (reducing the amount of fresh air in an unoccupied period), the computer programme can help designers, engineers, building owners, and users determine the most appropriate temperature for an office environment, which can save energy and provide the best environment for people to work in at the same time.

“It is not just about saving energy. As a sub-tropical place, the summer humidity in Hong Kong is relatively high. The sensory feelings of the workers are not the same as those in other countries and we couldn't eliminate this factor. Only the most suitable environment will prevent some people from wearing their windbreakers at work, while others have to turn on their portable fans to cool off,” said Dr Mui.

Dr Mui and Dr Wong point out that their computerized system is designed for the masses. Without the need for too much background information, people could just press a few buttons to find out how much energy is consumed at different temperatures. For example, in two offices of the same size of 14,000 square feet with workers wearing the same amount of clothing and working for the same periods of time under varying indoor temperatures of 24 and 22 degrees, the preferences of workers with respect to the ideal indoor temperature and the amount of cooling energy consumption could be identified. The computer programme can be downloaded via the following link:

Dr Horace Mui

Dr Ling-tim Wong

Forum Addresses HK’s Housing Problem

On 12 September 2015, about 120 people attended a forum on city planning at PolyU’s Innovation Tower to discuss Hong Kong’s housing problem and its orientation to city planning. The forum was hosted/chaired by Prof. Albert Chan, Head of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE). The panel of speakers included Sir Gordon Wu, Chairman of Hopewell Holdings Ltd., Prof. Eddie Hui and Prof. Edwin Chan, both from BRE, as well as Prof. Edward Yiu of The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Department of Geography and Resource Management.

With a rising population in Hong Kong, home prices have remained high due to an inadequate supply of land. To alleviate the shortage of land, land reclamation and developing some country parks were suggested as viable solutions. Prof. Hui cited as an example of increasing the land supply the proposed development of the north-eastern New Territories by the government nearly two decades back, which went through a long period of public consultation. Prof. Edwin Chan added the government could consider using brown field sites and city infrastructure renewal plans to address the problem of land shortage. “Hong Kong currently has 331 square kilometers of available land, most of which is located in the western New Territories and surrounding areas of new towns. However, some of the land is high above sea level, or located on steep slopes. Half of it is used for farming, while the rest is filled with shrubs and meadows, making it difficult to use the land for housing.” Suitability of these lands could be scientifically assessed through modeling research. He also suggested the government to consider building roads above the ground such as the proposed Green Deck at the Hung Hom tunnel toll plaza, and underground like in Brisbane, Australia, to increase the supply of land for housing.

The panel of speakers with the President of PolyU (third from left)

HKHS Re-elects PolyU’s Outstanding Alumnus as Chairman

Mr Marco Wu, one of the recipients of PolyU’s Outstanding Alumni Award in 2007, has been re-elected as Chairman of the Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS) at its 63rd Annual General Meeting on 8 September 2015. Mr Wu will continue to chair HKHS for three more years. New members of its Supervisory Board were also elected, including Prof. Eddie Hui of the Department of the Building and Real Estate (BRE) and two of its alumni, Mr Au Choi Kai and Mr Wong Bay, who graduated in 1974 and 1972 respectively. Mr Au is a former Director of the Buildings Department, while Mr Wong is a former Assistant Director of the government’s Housing Department.

NSFC Research Grants for Young Scientists

Two scholars from the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) have recently been approved for research funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). They will work on their projects for three years, from 1 January 2016 to 31 December 2018. Following are the details:

Principal Investigator Dept

Project Title

Amount Awarded (RMB)
Dr Tao Ma BSE Study on thermal and electrical performance of building-integrated
photovoltaic system with phase change materials
Dr Zhe Wang CEE The roles of atmospheric aqueous reactions in secondary organic
aerosol formation: a field and modeling study in Pearl River delta region

The EASTS Best Paper Award 2015

Four staff members from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) were honoured with a Best Paper Award at the 11th Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies (EASTS) international conference held on 11-14 September 2015 in Cebu, Philippines. They were Ms Qiong Tang (Research Assistant), Dr Xingang Li (Postdoctoral Fellow), Prof. William Lam (Head of CEE), and Dr Julio Ho (Teaching Fellow), who co-authored the award-winning paper entitled “Dynamic Journey Time Estimation in Stochastic Road Networks with Uncertainty.” The Best Paper Award was for methodological development that contributed to better mobility in Eastern Asia and the world.

Prof. Lam (right) receiving the award

Best Student Paper Awards for CEE PhD Students

At the 6th Cross-Strait Workshop on Structural Monitoring and Vibration Control in Civil Engineering in Xiamen, China, on 13-16 August 2015, four PhD students from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) were honoured with Best Student Paper Awards. They were Mr Wei-li Luo, Mr Ping-he Ni, Mr Can-xing Qiu, and Mr Xiang Shi. The first two are under the supervision of Dr Yong Xia, while the others are under the supervision of Dr Songye Zhu.

(left to right) Mr Ni, Mr Shi, Mr Luo, and Mr Qiu

Best Paper Award for Joint PhD Student from BRE

At the 75th annual meeting of the Academy of Management (AOM) conference in Vancouver, Canada, on 7-11 August 2015, a joint PhD student from the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE) and Tongji University was given a Best Paper Award in the division of Technology and Innovation Management. Mr Xuhua Chang is currently supervised by Dr Patrick Fong, Associate Head of BRE, and Prof. Qiang Chen of Tongji University’s School of Economics and Management. His award-winning paper was entitled “University Invention Disclosure: Balancing the Right Stage and Type.”

Mr Chang (middle) with his supervisors at the conference

CEE PhD Students Featured on Local TV Series

A weekly series featuring the underground infrastructure of Hong Kong was aired on Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) from late July to early September 2015. Two PhD students from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) were invited to serve as student hosts for part of the series. Entitled “Beneath,” the series shone the spotlight on practitioners in the construction industry who toil tirelessly underground to keep the city safe. In the first episode on underground tunnels, Miss Season Chen talked about the effective design of drainage systems as well as the flood storage tanks beneath the busy streets of Hong Kong. Another episode on a network of mains featured Miss Iris Yu, who visited various construction sites of the Water Supplies Department (WSD) to investigate the water distribution network and the difficulties encountered during the construction process. Both Miss Chen and Miss Yu are under the supervision of Dr Dan Tsang.

Miss Chen Miss Yu

PolyU Student Ambassadors 2015/16

At an Inauguration Ceremony for the PolyU Student Ambassador Scheme 2015/16 on 4 September 2015, the following four students from the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) were appointed as Student Ambassadors (SA) to promote PolyU to secondary students and members of the public through various outreach activities.


Year of

Programme of Studies
Vivian Cheng (Reappointed SA) Year 4 BSc(Hons) in Property Management
Meka Chu Year 3 BSc(Hons) in Surveying
Jason Fung (Reappointed SA) Year 4 BSc(Hons) in Surveying
Alex Fung Year 3 BEng(Hons) in Building Services Engineering
Dr Patrick Fong (second from left) and Dr Lin Lu (second from right) with the four FCE student ambassadors

Trainings/briefing sessions are provided for Student Ambassadors, who can strengthen their sense of belonging towards PolyU as well as enhance their communication, presentation, and social skills.

Life-changing Experience for Former Exchange Student to BRE

On 24 September 2015, Dr Patrick Fong of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE) met up with a former exchange student at a function organized by the British Council for its current scholarship recipients. One of its past recipients of a Scholarship for Excellence, Mr Warren Mitty, was invited to share his experience with the latest cohort of scholarship winners. He is a BSc (Hons) graduate of Loughborough University in Construction Engineering Management who spent the first semester in 2011 at BRE. Speaking about his exchange experience at PolyU, Mr Mitty reminisced fondly about the weekly trainings with the PolyU rugby team and the friendships he made with the local students, many of whom he still keeps in contact with to this day. After his exchange, he did a year-long internship at Gammon Construction Limited in Hong Kong for the MTR Express Rail Link to West Kowloon before graduating from Loughborough. Since then, he has done extensive voluntary work in Africa and worked in Shanghai, China, for CBRE, one of the world’s premier, full-service real estate services company. Mr Mitty is currently a Senior Project Coordinator for Venetian Sands and Hsin Chong Engineering in Macau.

Dr Fong and Mr Mitty (on right)

Faculty Public Lecture

The Faculty of Construction and Environment was honoured to have the following speaker giving lecture at FCE:

Prof. Giovanni Solari

FCE Public Lecture
"Advances in Wind Engineering: from the Safe Management of Ports to the Thunderstorm Loading of Structures"

Date: 25 September 2015 (Fri) (Details)


Prof. Giovanni Solari
Professor of Structural Engineering and Wind Engineering
Department of Civil, Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Polytechnic School, University of Genoa

Forthcoming Events

21st Congregation and Faculty Prize Presentation Ceremony
Date: 3-4 November 2015
Venue: Jockey Club Auditorium, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

HKIS and AIQS Joint Conference
Topic: How QS will succeed in Tomorrow’s World (Poster)
Date: 14 November 2015 (Saturday)
Time: 9:00 am – 5:00pm
Venue: VTC Auditorium, Hong Kong Design Institute, Tseung Kwan O

2nd International Conference on Performance-based and Lifecycle Structural Engineering (PLSE 2015)
Date: 9-11 December 2015
Venue: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Australia

Academic Vacancies - FCE Subscription   hongkongpolyufce
Faculty of Construction and EnvironmentDepartment of Building and Real EstateDepartment of Building Services EngineeringDepartment of Civil and Environmental EngineeringDepartment of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics

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