As HKU continues to grow into its second century, the University has made sustainable design a priority, building structures to last into its third century—or beyond.
The Centennial Campus, opened in September 2012, has been awarded Platinum certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Hong Kong’s Building Environmental Assessment Method (BEAM) for new buildings. Incorporating sustainability goals into campus planning was a priority for the new University extension, the opening of which marked 100 years since HKU was first founded in 1911. These measures include optimising the capture of natural light, airflow and storm water runoff, and the installation of renewable energy devices and efficient building systems.
Across the Centennial Campus, you can find wind turbines on the third-floor garden that generate about 100,000 Kwh of electricity a year, as well as solar panels on the roof and building-integrated photovoltaic panels on the south-façade that also contribute power. Other features adopted throughout Centennial Campus include greywater and rainwater recycling systems, night air purging, displaced AC design, dual flush sensors for all lavatories, lift regenerative power, and sustainable buildings materials like FSC wood.
Buildings and open spaces are all strategically sited and oriented to capture the sunlight and breezes to reduce energy consumption. The Chi Wah Learning Commons, a three-storey space for students, teachers and others to come together and participate in various learning activities, showcases these green design principles. External shading was built into the windows to reduce energy consumption, and escalators operate slowly when there is nobody using them. Inside, an interactive display panel shows real-time information about energy and water consumption, waste generation and recycling in the Centennial Campus.
The University is also working to retrofit older buildings by replacing thousands of fluorescent tubes to energy-saving, mercury-free LED ones, and installing new window films that reject heat, reduce UV rays and reflectivity, and provide energy savings. Air-cooled chillers have also been converted into more efficient water-cooled chillers and a green roof was installed on the roof of the Chow Yei Ching Building to provide better roof insulation.
All around both the Main and Centennial campuses, landscaped and natural features are reinforced while the layout of access points has created a virtually car-free environment.