The Supreme SaverHow CUHK did it
CUHK triumphed in the inaugural ‘Energy Saving Championship Scheme 2016’ organized by the Environment Bureau and the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department by scooping three awards:
- the ‘Hanson Supreme Grand Award’ (overall champion among all 270 participating organizations),
- the ‘Hanson Grand Award’ (top award in the post-secondary education institution category),
- the ‘Most Innovative Energy Saving Measures Award’ across all categories.
Prof. Fung Tung (4th from left in top photo), Associate Vice-President and Chairman of the Committee on Campus Sustainability, received the award on behalf of CUHK.
Prof. Joseph J. Y. Sung, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK, feels proud of the achievements. ‘CUHK spares no effort in implementing energy saving policies, adopting new technologies, and engaging students and staff in energy conservation and significant progress has been made. Over the past three years, our electricity consumption has been continuously dropping. Total electricity consumption in 2015–16 was reduced by 9.9% as compared to the base year figure in 2012–13, which means over 90 million MJ of energy was saved in three years, which is equivalent to an electricity charge of around HK$30 million. The awards represent a great recognition of the University’s long-term efforts in promoting sustainable development.’
Innovative Energy Saving Technologies
As early as 2010, CUHK pledged in its Campus Master Plan to reduce electricity consumption (per capita) by 25% by 2025 (with 2005 as the base year). In 2012, a five-year mid-term target was set to reduce electricity consumption (per capita) by 8% by 2017. Prof. Fung remarked, ‘We fulfilled our mid-term target ahead of time in 2015, thanks to the efforts of the Campus Development Office and Estates Management Office in attempting various innovative energy saving technologies on campus which has become a “living laboratory”.’
Since 2012, the University has been reducing energy consumption in campus buildings. Currently, 13 new buildings on campus have received ‘Platinum’ or ‘Gold’ BEAM (Building Environmental Assessment Method) or BEAM Plus ratings for the environmental-friendly designs. The University also carried out major refurbishment of campus buildings over the past years by replacing the air-cooled chillers with energy-saving water-cooled chiller systems, and progressively switching to more energy-efficient oil-free chillers. The University is now working on installing district cooling air-conditioning systems for suitable building clusters, as well as adopting solar water heaters and photovoltaic panels more extensively in student hostels and buildings.
Engaging the Entire Campus Community
Ms. Vivian Ho (3rd from right in top photo), Director of Campus Planning and Sustainability, said, ‘Our strategy is to mobilize over 30,000 students and staff members to participate in various energy conservation programmes. The “Energy Saving Championship Scheme” has offered a great opportunity for us to exchange ideas and experience with other participating organizations. We look forward to encouraging more people to join the campaign, to gather our efforts in reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions, and help promote a green culture and eco-friendly lifestyle.’
The University requires each office to appoint at least one staff member as the ‘Energy Warden’ to identify energy conservation measures for their own office. Statistics of energy consumption are also shared with all offices regularly so that they are aware of their progress and achievements. In 2014, CUHK rolled out the ‘Energy Conservation Incentive Scheme’, the first programme of its kind in the local post-secondary education sector, to set energy conservation targets for over 100 academic and administrative units. Most of the participating units succeeded in meeting the targets and one office even saved over 20% in energy consumption.
CUHK actively organizes various programmes and competitions to encourage students and staff to change their energy use habits, raise awareness on energy conservation, and promote sustainable low-carbon lifestyle and office practices. These activities include the ‘Green Office Programme (GO!)’, ‘Green Student Society Scheme (SO Green!)’, ‘Green O’Camp Sponsorship’, ‘Greenest O’Camp Award’ and the ‘CU Green Buddies Scheme’. The quarterly online Sustainable Campus reaches out to over 160,000 students, staff and alumni.