5 January 2019

CUHK’s response to the air quality and move-in arrangements for JCPGH 2 and 3



The construction of new hostels, Jockey Club Postgraduate Hall two and three (JCPGH 2 and 3), at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), has been completed and inspected by the Fire Services Department and Buildings Authority to their satisfaction, with an Occupation Permit issued last November. The architects and consultants team has also inspected the buildings and tested the systems before certifying Practical Completion.

The Indoor Air Quality Objectives set by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) (261 ppb as Good Class IAQ Objectives for Total Volatile Organic Compound, TVOC) is only applied to offices and public places with central air conditioning, and not applicable to domestic buildings served by window/split type air-conditioners. According to a related literature, TVOC will cause minor symptoms such as minor irritation and headache only if its level reaches 1,305ppb, and may establish toxic effect when the level reaches 10,000ppb. The University has conducted TVOC monitoring at different locations inside JCPGH 2 and 3 (under closed window condition) and findings revealed that the levels were consistently lower than the level that symptoms may develop.

In addition to inspection done by the University, a professional expert and unit accredited with The Hong Kong Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (HOKLAS) have also conducted random checks under the BEAM Plus New Buildings standard. Initial results showed that the TVOC levels were lower than 261ppb, which is well within the satisfactory level.

To address the students’ concern, the personnel of the Environmental Protection Department inspected JCPGH 2 and 3 on 31 December 2018 with no adverse comments.

JCPGH 2 and 3 project has been awarded the BEAM Plus New Building Provisional Platinum by the Hong Kong Green Building Council. Windows and ceiling fans inside rooms and in public spaces were designed to promote natural ventilation. Most paints, flooring, and furniture are made by low / no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) materials.

The safety of hostel residents has always been the University’s top priority. The University has been discussing the issues of air quality and check-in arrangements with the students. Students were informed about the move-in arrangements last December. They were scheduled to move in to JCPGH 2 and 3 from 7-14 January.

The University understands students’ concerns about the indoor air quality of the new hostels and will continue to step up the cleaning measures in JCPGH 2 and 3. For any student who is unable to move-in according to the schedule, he/she may apply for a postponement. For a student with a medical certificate that proves that it is not suitable for him/her to live in the new hostel, the University will try to arrange them to move in to other existing hostels.

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