Fun in the sun:
Students enjoy their farming experience on the rooftop.
Hysan Place has a natural lighting system in its shopping mall.
Students see energy saving features at the Holiday Inn Express Hong Kong Soho Hotel.
The hotel's external wall is made of Starfon, which can be recycled.
Storage tanks in the hotel collect rainwater to irrigate its 18-metre green wall.
A new class in green living
September 15, 2013
Hong Kong students have begun lessons in farming and environmental awareness right in the heart of town.
The Green Building Council holds tours of environmentally-designed buildings, which have energy-saving and low-emission features, for secondary students.
Hysan Place in Causeway Bay has an urban farm on its rooftop, creating a green area above its shopping mall.
The Holiday Inn Express Hong Kong Soho Hotel in Sheung Wan is another green building, which can cut its electricity demand by half with its special features.
Tours of these buildings are enhancing students' environmental protection awareness.
recently joined 40 secondary students for a tour of 38-storey Hysan Place. Its 460-square-metre rooftop farm has been designed for organic farming.
Form Five student Yiu Kai-tung tried her hand at plowing, and the city girl enjoyed her half-day farming experience immensely.
“Hong Kong is a concrete jungle. It is hard to find a piece of farmland in this urban area. In the past, I could only listen to others talking about organic farming, but now I can experience it in the middle of Causeway Bay. I can really do something to save the environment myself,” she said.
Form Six student Lui Sze-wan said she has been to Causeway Bay many times, but farming was a new experience for her in this busy commercial district.
“I have been in Hysan Place many times before, but I just knew there were shops. I did not know there was an organic farm on the roof. I never imagined I could try farming above a shopping mall. I think we could even grow fruit here.”
Hysan Place also has a natural lighting system for the shopping mall, and a mixed mode ventilation system in its office area offering free natural cooling instead of air conditioning.
The system solves the common problem of inadequate natural ventilation in most commercial buildings.
At the Holiday Inn Express Hong Kong Soho Hotel, students inspected its environmentally-friendly hotel rooms.
When a guest withdraws the room-card when leaving, the air-conditioner shuts off, and the curtains automatically close to keep the room temperature down.
The rooms have a smart air-conditioning system. When the lights have been dimmed for an hour, a headboard cooler comes on automatically to lower the temperature around the bed by two to three degrees, and reduces energy output from other air-conditioners in the room.
Students found the building's walls have a special texture. The material looks like wood but is much harder. It is a newly developed building material known as Starfon, produced from recycled concrete as a substitute for wood, tiles or marbles. It reduces the use of natural materials and poses no threat to the natural environment.
A solar hot water system is on the rooftop, to reduce energy consumption. Huge storage tanks are built inside the building to collect rainwater, which is used for irrigation, and to water the hotel’s exterior 18-metre green wall.
These two buildings have achieved a BEAM Plus platinum rating, the highest rating conferred by the Green Building Council.
BEAM Plus is a comprehensive environmental assessment scheme which provides an overall assessment on five aspects - the building site, materials, energy use, water use, and indoor environmental quality.