We are proud to have established a campus that embraces green concepts and promotes resource efficiency. We review our environmental performance and feedback from our stakeholders periodically, and make annual plans for environmental awareness promotion, works and facilities, such as those regarding waste disposal, emission treatment, and remediation measures. The associated annual budget exceeded HK$1 million in the past few years. During the reporting period, we set out a series of Campus Sustainability Policies to reinforce our commitment to environmental excellence on campus, with detailed implementation guides on environmental measures in areas related to campus operation, such as energy and carbon emission, waste reduction, water conservation, infrastructure development, and material consumption.
PolyU fully supports carbon management in combating global climate change. Since 2008, the University has steadfastly adhered to the Carbon Reduction Charter from the Environmental Protection Department (EPD). The University also introduced an Energy and Greenhouse Gas Policy in late 2014, outlining our commitment and approach to energy and carbon reduction. It specifies that information on the carbon footprint of our campus, including electricity and town gas consumption and other operational data, will be collected regularly for our annual management review to help identify areas for improvement.
Our determination and ability to reduce campus carbon footprint lies in limiting environmental impacts throughout our operations and activities. In 2014/15, carbon emissions per capita due to major direct (Scope 1) and indirect (Scope 2) sources on Main Campus were 1.9 tonnes CO2 equivalent.
[Infographic]: 1.9 Tonnes CO2 equivalent per capita of Carbon Emissions
Our assessment revealed electricity use as the main source (>96%) of carbon emissions at PolyU’s main campus. We control electricity use on campus prudently by properly maintaining our facilities, implementing the latest environmental technologies, as well as monitoring and auditing campus operations and practices. PolyU signed the Government’s Energy Saving Charter on Indoor Temperature in 2015 to use even less energy and raise awareness by pledging to maintain average indoor temperatures between 24-26°C from June to September each year, while integrating energy-saving considerations into the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of all campus facilities and services.
[Photo]: PolyU pledges to support Energy Saving Charter on Indoor Temperature
Thanks to ongoing energy-saving efforts on campus, we are glad to report a downward trend of electricity use on Main Campus over the past decade, which was 19% lower per capita in 2014/15 than it was in 2005/06.
[Infographic]: 19% Decrease in annual Electricity Consumption per capita
We require all drivers to switch off idling engines on campus to cut fuel usage and traffic emissions. The University is well connected with the neighborhood through extended walkways, allowing easy access to public transport. We also encourage visitors to use public transport during campus activities and events.
PolyU is a microcosm of society, and our campus is like any busy community during term time. All kinds of municipal waste are generated from day-to-day activities by students and staff and from campus facility operations, which makes waste reduction and management a major priority for us.
PolyU responded in late 2014 by formulating a Waste Management Policy which involves careful waste disposal and encourages waste reduction and recycling. During the year under review, we generated an estimated amount of 1,183 tonnes of waste that were landfilled; our performance in reusing and recycling waste is summarized below.
As a pioneer in food waste reduction among local institutions, PolyU signed the Food Wise Charter in 2013. PolyU’s distinctive food waste reduction program features on-site awareness promotion, surplus food donation, and food waste recycling. We value the benefits of vegetarian dining and our campus caterers present great opportunities to foster green dining and lifestyles. We have launched a food waste collection service on campus and produced a series of promotional materials for catering outlets, some broadcast via social media, to enlist support from students and staff.
The University encourages sustainable measures at the outlets by engaging the caterers themselves. Customers who bring their own takeaway food and beverage containers at the outlets enjoy special Bring Your Own (BYO) discounts. Along with food waste reduction from source, we have commissioned a food waste collection and recycling contractor for all food waste from our catering outlets. In 2014/15, we successfully collected and recycled 144.2 tonnes of food waste on Main Campus.
[Infographic]: 144.2 Tonnes of Food Waste collected and recycled
PolyU spares no effort in improving water resource efficiency to set a role model for the University community in recognition of this valuable natural resource. In late 2014, we established a formal Water Conservation Policy to enhance monitoring and management of water use on campus.
We managed to maintain our water consumption at a fairly stable level of 21.2 m3 per capita in 2014/15, 18% lower per capita than what it was in 2005/06 despite opening new phases of our campus in the past few years. We continue to improve water efficiency at our facilities, such as by installing dual-flush toilets and touchless faucets, recycling condenser water as makeup water for cooling towers and in turn using their bleed-off to flush toilet, and collecting rainwater for irrigation. We also affix reminders at water-using area to raise water conservation awareness.
[Infographic]: 18% Reduction in annual Water Consumption per capita
PolyU may sit at Kowloon’s urban core, but we still put together a comfortable environment on campus through careful planning and landscaping. As we gradually expand the PolyU campus and improve its infrastructure, we keep a close eye on the environmental performance of new buildings, requiring that new and renovation works on campus make reference to the Building Environmental Assessment Method (BEAM) criteria.
Officially opened in 2014 with a total net floor area of ~15,000 m2, the Jockey Club Innovation Tower (JCIT) exemplifies the best of structural design in Hong Kong and offers a magnificent environment for multi-disciplinary education, research and development. Boasting an exceptional and metropolitan design, the building garnered multiple awards for its performance in engineering approach, integration, innovation, sustainability and other outstanding features. Focus and attention are put on addressing environmental performance in material aspects, energy use, water use, indoor environmental quality, innovations and other areas.
For the sake of the environment, we use materials with green features on campus whenever feasible. As stipulated by our Green Procurement Policy, PolyU incorporates green purchasing principles into all specifications, designs, planning, operations and maintenance activities on campus. We have gradually increased the use of paper with recycled content since 2008/09, with the cumulative weight of recycled paper reaching 16.7 tonnes by 2014/15. By the end of the reporting period, around 3% of all A4 paper consumed was made from recycled content.
Apart from purchasing materials that are recyclable, biodegradable, or contain recycled content, we also encourage the use of energy-efficient equipment and avoid single-use disposable items wherever possible.