CUHK Holds the ‘Energy Conservation Incentive Scheme’ Recognition Ceremony and Launches the Sustainable Development Goals Action Fund

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) held a recognition ceremony for the Energy Conservation Incentive Scheme today (3 December) to acknowledge the achievement of the 27 participating units in reducing electricity consumption.  Mr Eric S.P. Ng, Vice-President and Chairman of the Committee on Campus Sustainability of CUHK, officiated at the ceremony.

CUHK has a larger campus area than any other local tertiary institution.  Its campus covers an area of 137 hectares and contains nearly 170 buildings, which provide a wide range of facilities for over 30,000 faculty members, staff and students.  The energy consumption in day-to-day operation is high.  In 2014, CUHK introduced a pioneering Energy Conservation Incentive Scheme to reduce its impact on the environment.  The scheme aims at raising the energy awareness of university members and further reducing the University’s energy consumption and carbon emissions.  With sustained efforts, the participating units have jointly accomplished a significant reduction in electricity consumption over the past four years.

In his welcome address, Mr Ng said, “The Scheme covers two groups of buildings; Groups A and B.  Twenty Group A buildings collectively achieved a remarkable reduction in electricity consumption of about 16,000,000 kWh, compared to the consumption level four years ago, before the implementation of the Scheme.  Based on the average local household electricity consumption of 4,800 kWh per year, the energy that CUHK has conserved can sustain 3,333 Hong Kong households for a whole year.  With the sterling effort and continuous support of our colleagues, together we will build a more sustainable campus.”

On this occasion, CUHK also launched the Sustainable Development Goals Action Fund (SDG Action Fund), which was presided over by Mr Eric S.P. Ng.  Achieving sustainable development is one of the greatest quests of our time.  Mitigating climate change via energy conservation and carbon reduction is just one area of a larger domain.  To encourage CUHK staff and students to focus on sustainability issues and take part in related initiatives, CUHK launched the SDG Action Fund to subsidise self-initiated projects related to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations.

The SDG Action Fund went into operation with two pilot projects by CUHK students, one of which was an upcycling education project for the underprivileged children in Sham Shui Po by “Dozen Design” from the School of Architecture, and the other a project by the Wu Yee Sun College 11th Anniversary Celebration Organising Committee which practised waste reduction at source and discouraged the use of disposable plastic products in large scale student events on campus.  The Fund will subsidise more SDGs-related initiatives of different kinds in the future, contributing to the sustainable development of Hong Kong.

Energy Conservation Incentive Scheme

In 2014, CUHK introduced the Energy Conservation Incentive Scheme.  The Scheme covers two groups of buildings (Groups A and B), and each group’s electricity consumption is reviewed in two phases.  In the first phase, if the energy consumption reduction target of 4% is achieved, the participating units will enjoy an 80% rebate on the electricity fees they have saved.  In the second phase, the energy saving goal was raised to 8%.  A penalty mechanism was also introduced, where the participating units have to bear half of the excess electricity bill if they fail to meet the reduction target.  The participating units have shown great commitment in implementing various energy saving measures, including upgrading the lighting to an LED system, adjusting the air-conditioning according to the number of occupants, suspending lift services on weekends and holidays, and sharing laboratory freezers among research teams.  The energy consumption audit for Group A was successfully completed in 2017 while that for Group B has begun.  The University will actively complement the participating units’ measures to save energy, by providing professional advice and resources.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

In 2015, all United Nations Member States adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  To promote these goals, CUHK and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust have co-hosted the Hong Kong chapter of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN Hong Kong), which seeks to mobilise expertise, information and resources from different sectors to address the most pressing environmental, social and economic issues in Hong Kong and advance sustainable development.  The Network intends to identify further means of collaboration on research and to pursue sustainability solutions with local and international researchers and leaders in sustainable development.