Learning best practices for energy management and healthy workplace

As a part of the training under the Green PolyU Awards – Green Office programme, a workshop to examine energy management and healthy workplace was held on 14 November 2018.

Electricity consumed by buildings contributes to about 60% of Hong Kong’s greenhouse gas emissions, and the energy usage of office activity and equipment account for a big portion of the overall energy consumption of buildings. Air conditioning, lighting, computers, equipment and printing devices are the major end uses for energy in offices. Creating an energy efficient office will offer many benefits and the synergetic effect from these offices is immeasurable – not to mention the environment. Using less electricity directly translates into less carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere and possible increases in saving money on the energy bills. Mr. Tommy Szeto from the Business Environment Council Limited suggested that offices could consider performing a carbon audit to measure and record sources of energy usage and carbon emissions in the workplace. Results obtained will be helpful in formulating guidelines and energy efficiency practices. He also emphasized that the most important part of creating an energy efficient office is to motivate and change office behavior, and employees should be more mindful about reducing energy consumption.

Apart from creating an energy efficient office and desirable physical work environment, we must not neglect the importance of maintaining a healthy workplace and look at office safety and handling of work stress. Dr Veronica Chan from the Business Environment Council Limited invited the participants to review what are the factors affecting their physical and mental health, safety and well-being, and name the measures already in place in the University to help them address these issues. 

Discussion held on ways to reduce energy consumption in office   Examining the factors affecting physical and mental health

Following the two theme-based discussions, participants were invited to a fun-filled hands-on activity – to work on their glass bottle garden. Under the guidance of a professional horticultural trainer, participants learned to make their unique bottle garden and bring a little greenery into their offices. In addition to its decorative purpose, such greenery may help in reducing stress and anxiety, and can probably result in a positive change in the psychosocial working environment. 

Working on glass bottle garden   Participants learned to put greenery into their workplace