With the mission to educate, nurture, and inspire over 10,000 students, the university carries an enormous weight of responsibility. HKUST's world class faculty are up to the challenge of preparing these students for the future, but the HKUST campus itself has an important role as well. Situated on one of the most striking and awe inspiring physical settings in the world, the university uses the available spaces to advance sustainability by using the campus as a learning tool.
While the University's operations comply with all applicable environmental regulatory requirements, HKUST is committed to going beyond the legal commitments to provide a space that it healthy, conducive to learning, and environmentally responsible.
Green Construction – Beyond those measures the university has adopted internal standards as well, such as requiring all new buildings to achieve the performance level of Gold through the HK-BEAM (Building Environmental Assessment Method) process. In this past year, the university received its first HK-BEAM Gold certification for Student Residential Halls VIII and IX.
Green features in these new halls include energy-efficient lifts and air-conditioning units, sensor-controlled corridor and staircase lighting, water-saving devices, green rooftops covered with a variety of plants to reduce incoming heat, and solar panels. To optimize a building's eco-friendliness, the Facilities Management Office (FMO) requires architects and builders to incorporate such requirements into the design, materials, methods of construction, and fitting out. In addition, HKUST adopted environmentally friendly construction measures, using recycled glass paving blocks for hard landscaped areas, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified wood with authentication certificates, and recycling construction materials. More than 50% of the construction waste is now typically recycled.
Attention to Energy –
As noted in the Performance section, over 95% of the energy consumed on campus comes in the form of electricity. It is not surprising that reducing electrical loads is one of the top priorities of the FMO staff. HKUST does have one exceptional advantage due to our proximity to Clear Water Bay; we have the opportunity to utilize seawater for central air-conditioning. HKUST's seawater cooling system is an inexpensive and energy-efficient method for cooling. It takes advantage of seawater to supplement energy-intensive central refrigeration systems to chill water and provide air conditioning on campus. This past year the system got a little more efficient with the replacement of one of the large "chillers," the machines that produce cold water used for air conditioning, with a new machine that is 20% more energy efficient. It may not sound like much, but the savings from this one machine alone is nearly eight times more than all of the other energy efficiency measures during the year combined.
Upgrading the lighting continues to be a high priority for energy reductions. The improvements in cost and performance of LED lights provide more options for lighting controls and the use of low energy lighting sources. Combined with occupancy sensors – which turn off lights automatically in unoccupied spaces – the lighting upgrades from last year are expected to save up to 190,000 kWh of electricity per year, equal to roughly 115 tons of CO2.