Striving towards carbon neutrality on campus and beyond
Climate change and high carbon emissions are among the world’s most pressing problems. To help achieve carbon neutrality on campus and support Hong Kong’s goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, PolyU has established a Task Force on Campus Carbon Neutrality.
The Task Force is under the chairmanship of Professor Christopher Chao, Vice President (Research and Innovation), with expert members from different Faculties of PolyU as well as from various Research Institutes and Centres under the PolyU Academy for Interdisciplinary Research (PAIR). The Campus Facilities and Sustainability Office and the Campus Development Office are also key players. The Task Force will work out a roadmap in fostering a greener and more sustainable campus. PolyU is also the Convenor of the Hong Kong Sustainable Campus Consortium this year.
Interdisciplinary efforts – from carbon-related research to applications
PolyU researchers, leveraging their multidisciplinary expertise, have been engaged in path-breaking research projects geared towards achieving carbon neutrality. There are a number of Research Institutes and Centres under PAIR that aim to strengthen the University’s leading role in the research of sustainable urban development, smart energy and waste management.
For example, the Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development has been developing innovative solutions for sustainable high-density cities by capitalising on the living laboratory of Hong Kong's urban environment. The strategic focus areas related to carbon neutrality include offshore wind power generation, smart energy efficient and grid responsive buildings, smart utilities, urban air pollution and health, urban ecology, and urban water management.
The Otto Poon Charitable Foundation Research Institute for Smart Energy is dedicated to developing innovative and sustainable energy technologies and solutions. Its research focus areas include district energy systems and smart grid, smart buildings and smart energy systems, advanced energy storage technologies, advanced and renewable energy conversion technologies, and advanced energy materials.
The Research Centre for Resources Engineering towards Carbon Neutrality is an interdisciplinary solid waste recycling research centre. It focuses on advanced technology and policy research in solid waste recycling issues which is a critical area in achieving carbon neutrality to tackle climate change.
Meanwhile, the Otto Poon Charitable Foundation Smart Cities Research Institute has proposed a carbon neutrality analysis and visualisation system for PolyU using a smart city platform, while the Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence of Things plans to develop an AI-empowered digital twin system to provide a digital replica of the actual campus environment and a command centre with a visualisation interface for simulations and decision-making.
These projects, among others, can lead to powerful applications in moving towards carbon neutrality.
Implementing green initiatives
PolyU has implemented various green initiatives on campus in many areas, including carbon emissions, energy consumption and waste management. These include the implementation of a pilot scheme to install smart energy meters to enable the University to apply big data analytics for future energy optimisation; and installation of solar photovoltaic systems at various locations across the main campus to generate clean energy. The University has also replaced and optimised HVAC equipment to improve efficiency and reduce electricity consumption associated with airconditioning. There are also incentive programmes and campaigns to raise awareness for sustainability across the University community.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are installed at various locations across campus to generate clean energy
PolyU will continue to strive hard in achieving carbon neutrality, aspiring to set a strong example for other universities and institutions to follow, by turning cutting-edge research into real-world solutions for the benefit of Hong Kong, the Nation and the world.
The Green Coin initiative encourages staff and students to engage in sustainable behaviours.
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