CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia Holds ‘Energy Saving for All’ Forum
CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia (‘Gaia’) held a forum titled ‘Energy Saving for All’ at Wah Yan College, Kowloon, last Friday (28 October). The forum, which falls under the Environment and Climate Change Forum Series, gathered experts from different sectors to share their knowledge about, and insights into, the promotion of energy saving in Hong Kong. Attending at the event were about 150 participants from the public and private sectors, local schools and tertiary institutions.
As a key mitigation action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Environment Bureau and the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department jointly organized the 2016 ‘Energy Saving for All’ campaign to foster close partnerships for the promotion of energy saving in all sectors across Hong Kong. Gaia supported these efforts by holding the ‘Energy Saving for All’ forum to provide a platform to engage the public to learn from, and exchange ideas with, experts and practitioners to develop Hong Kong into a liveable and sustainable city.
Mr Vincent Liu, Deputy Secretary for the Environment of the HKSAR Government, was the keynote speaker. Other guest speakers included Mr Edwin Lau, Executive Director of The Green Earth, and Prof. Michael Leung, Associate Dean of the School of Energy and Environment of City University of Hong Kong. The experts and practitioners discussed different ways to tackle the environmental challenges and the impact of climate change. The forum was chaired by Prof. Yam Yeung, Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering of The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
In the forum, Mr Liu pointed out that Hong Kong’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions amounted to 43.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent in 2012. He added that electricity generation was the largest single source of local GHG emissions, and that buildings consumed about 90% of the city’s electricity usage and generated about 60% of total GHG emissions. Therefore, one of the keys to combating the negative effect of climate change is reducing GHG emissions from buildings. The Government took the initiative by setting new energy-reduction targets and developing energy-saving infrastructure for the non-government sectors to follow. Mr Liu said the strategy of promoting ‘Energy Saving for All’ included setting statutory requirements, such as The Energy Efficiency (Labelling of Products) Ordinance, which set a new grading standard for air-conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines, with the goal of reducing electricity use by 300 million kWh per year. The Government also offers tax deductions to encourage the purchase and installation of energy-efficient equipment. To encourage the participation of all Hong Kong citizens, the Government organises brainstorming meetings, in which energy-saving proposals are discussed among stakeholders from different sectors. The Government also has an ‘Energy Saving For All’ website, which is a one-stop resource hub for information on how to save energy. In addition, the Government promotes the Energy Saving Charter, inviting shopping malls and shops, office buildings, housing estates and other residential buildings, non-governmental organizations, primary and secondary schools, and tertiary institutions to join the Charter and take steps to decrease air-conditioning use and switch off electrical appliances when not in use. Mr Liu noted that every single person has the power to effect positive change in society by taking proactive steps to reduce GHG emissions, such as reducing electricity use.
During the question-and-answer session, participants asked about implementing energy-saving initiatives, resulting in a fruitful discussion with the speakers.
CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia
CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia is a five-year community engagement programme, launched in 2012 by CUHK, with a generous donation of HK$70 million from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. In support of Gaia’s commitment to paving the way to a sustainable future for Hong Kong, the programme’s aim is to promote environmental conservation and sustainability in local communities, through public education and carbon-reduction partnerships with schools and non-governmental organizations.
To draw on the collective wisdom in the community and to encourage active public participation in tackling various environmental issues, CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia has organized the Environment and Climate Change Forum Series. The forums invite experts and practitioners from different fields, as well as members of the public, to offer different perspectives on our environmental challenges and the impact of climate change, and to propose feasible solutions.
The first of its kind in the world, the Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change (MoCC), maintained by Gaia, is open to the public with free admission. The MoCC showcases the ‘Three Poles’ (the North Pole, the South Pole and Mount Everest) collection of renowned Hong Kong explorer Dr Rebecca Lee, innovative research on the environment, energy and sustainability initiated by CUHK, and the Jockey Club’s initiatives to promote green living in the community.
More details of the CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia can be found at www.cuhk.edu.hk/gaia.