Kai Ching Estate has Quality Water Certification

The Kai Ching estate, in the middle of the Lead (Pb) ‘scandal’ and the Legionella case associated with Mun Ching House achieved the WSD (http://www.wsd.gov.hk) Quality Water Recognition Scheme for Buildings certification! (see image below). Lead (Pb) is not one of water quality parameters tested.

kai ching estate, lead, legionella, hong kong, water quality certificate

In the past I highlighted Hong Kong’s building water quality issues (here) but my office building is not listed above, I am certain that WSD will revise the criteria after this incident. So far Lead (Pb) contamination of the residents water has been detected in the following sites:

  1. Kai Ching Estate, Kowloon City
  2. Kwai Luen Estate, Kwai Chung
  3. Shui Chuen O Estate, Sha Tin

updated: 17 July 2015

Late yesterday (16 July 2015) WSD published a circular letter no. 1/2015 (Chinese only) online, dated 13 July 2015, it now requires Flats (subject to interpretation) to provide a declaration letter for No Lead in solder, and additional water quality testing parameters in the laboratory report, including:

Lead (Pb)  ≤10 μg/l
Cadmium (Cd)  ≤3 μg/l
Chromium (Cr)  ≤50 μg/l
Nickel (Ni)  ≤70 μg/l

Needless to add that these new requirements only apply to new water meter applications. However, the estimated to be 50,000 renovation projects per year, are not required to conduct any type of water quality test!


Plumbing System Lead (Pb) contaminated Kai Ching Estate Hong Kong (updated)

Lead (Pb) was a common plumbing material, 30 years ago it was used for plumbing piping, after lead piping was banned, it was used in the solder needed to join copper pipework until it was also banned from solder. Lead was also commonly used as flashing for roof construction and constituent in paint.

For Hong Kong buildings opened before 1995, the standard for water piping was GI (Galvanised Iron) piping with mechanical screw type GI fittings. GI piping comprises a normal steel tube dipped in Zinc to provide a corrosion resistant coating. However, overtime the Zinc coating inside the pipe deteriorates, exposing the underlying steel pipework giving rise to corrosion and poor water quality.

legionella, lead, water, hong kong, Kai Ching estate, public housing

RTHK has been reporting the discovery of LEAD in the water service in the new Kai Ching estate, this has sparked a city wide alert and residents in other housing estates are petitioning government to test their water supplies. In the news HA neatly passed the ownership to the Contractor, but obviously their quality management is under scrutiny.

public housing lead legionella, lead, water, hong kong, Kai Ching estate

In this Housing Authority (HA) estate the bathrooms were prefabricated, including the plumbing, in China, and the completed pre-fab units shipped and installed within the building and connected to the core plumbing system installed by the local plumbing contractor.

RTHK reported (link) that water in several residences contained up to 2.3 times the safe amount of Lead recommended by the World Health Organisation (10 µg/l). The Government struggling to handle the case said that all the plumbing systems may be replaced.

Also CHP are investigating a case of Legionnaires Disease (#Legionella) from the same Kai Ching estate (link) with legionella levels of 0.3-300 cfu/ml reported.

Update: SCMP (http://www.scmp.com) it covered the story too (link) unlinkable, the content in case you can’t access it:

First it was lead, now legionella bacteria found in Kowloon City estate’s water supply

Bacteria that can cause legionnaires’ disease found in Kowloon City estate

The water scare at a Kowloon City public housing estate deepened yesterday after officials said apart from the excessive lead discovered in tap water, legionella bacteria were also traced at several locations in one of the six blocks.

But a health official said it was premature to conclude that the two incidents were connected, and the Housing Department would be disinfecting all blocks in Kai Ching Estate to put residents’ minds at ease. The latest development emerged as the government announced it would set up a task force to investigate why the poisonous metal was found in tap water. Its source remains unknown.

A plumber at the centre of the tainted water scare, Lam Tak-sum, yesterday also said he could not be held fully responsible for what had happened, as he was not in charge of the materials pre-fabricated outside Hong Kong. It was revealed at a government press conference yesterday that a man, 72, was admitted to Prince of Wales Hospital in late May with respiratory problems. He was later diagnosed with what was thought to be legionnaires’ disease. The bacteria were found in his kitchen and bathroom in Mun Ching House. “We immediately arranged to have the pipes replaced, and normally the problem would have been solved,” said Dr Regina Ching Cheuk-tuen from the Centre for Health Protection. “But samples taken later from his flat still contain legionella. We also found the bacteria in another unit as well as another water supply point on the first floor.” Ching said residents in Mun Ching House should use boiled water for showering and brushing their teeth and avoid using shower heads that generate aerosols to help prevent the spread of the bacteria. In severe cases, the disease can cause respiratory failure or even death. Residents in the block criticised the government for failing to ensure their safety since they moved in two years ago. “We used to feel safe living here, but now it’s becoming really chaotic,” a woman said.

Meanwhile, the government is setting up a task force comprising officials from several departments to get to the bottom of the lead scare and put forward recommendations to prevent similar incidents from happening again. Director of Water Supplies Enoch Lam Tin-sing said his colleagues met with the plumber responsible for the Kai Ching Estate project yesterday, and records showed that he did all the water pipe work for the estate – contrary to Lam Tak-sum’s comment to the Oriental Daily newspaper that he was only responsible for the pipes connecting the water mains to the blocks’ water tanks. “The government should make clear who is responsible for what,” Lam said from a wheelchair. “My responsibilities only lie within Hong Kong’s borders. I can’t sign for things that happen outside Hong Kong and I can’t be held responsible for the [pre-made units].”

However, Director of Housing Stanley Ying Yiu-hong said only a “small amount” of pre-fabricated pipes were installed in kitchens and bathrooms in the estate. He did not give any numbers. He would only say that the two unused flats, where lead was found in soldering materials at pipe joints, did not have preinstalled piping. But in a statement issued last night, the government said the bathrooms in all six blocks of Kai Ching Estate were basically pre-fabricated ones, with the pipes of about half of them being fitted on the mainland.

It said the kitchens of only two blocks were pre-fabricated ones, with the pipes of about half of them fitted on the mainland. The two kitchens from where lead in soldering materials was found earlier were not pre-fabricated ones.

Also, of the seven water samples found earlier to have lead content exceeding the World Health Organization standard, only one was taken from the pipe of a pre-fabricated kitchen fitted on the mainland, the government said in the statement. He also said that the department required contractors to provide certification to prove that the materials used were up to standard. The department was now discussing the replacement of pipes at Kai Ching Estate with the contractor, Ying added. Authorities will also take water samples from a Chinese University student dormitory and the Kowloon City Government Offices to check for lead, because the two projects were also handled by Lam. China State Construction International, the main construction contractor of the Kai Ching Estate, declined to comment on its role in the tainted fresh water supplies.

Additional reporting by Shirley Zhao

(published by SCMP)

Update: 14 July 2015

RTHK has reported that the Government said on Tuesday 14 July 2015 that lead content has been found in water samples taken from five units at from the Kwai Luen Estate at Kwai Chung. (link).

Update: 15 July 2015

The incident has now been promoted to scandal in the local media, the Hong Kong Standard reports that Transport and Housing chief issued apology for mis-stating the number of pre-fab units installed in the Kai Ching Estate (link) it seems now that most of the bathrooms were pre-fabricated.

Also in the Hong Kong Standard (link) reports today (15-7-2015) that:

Lead contamination has been detected in the water supply at two more public housing estates – Kai Luen Estate in Kwai Shing Circuit and Shui Chuen O Estate in Sha Tin. Test samples showed lead levels exceeding WHO recommendations.

We have two issues to consider (1) The quality of materials used in the pre-fab units manufactured in China, and the inter-connection to the plumbing system installed by the local plumber, and (2) For Lead contamination in other HA projects, without pre-cast fabrication, past renovation works could be the culprit.



Updated: 16 July 2015

hong kong scmp lead contamination

SCMP reported on the frontpage that the Government vows to carry out Lead (Pb) testing of the water in ten (10) more public housing estates.


Updated: 17 July 2015

RTHK ( link ) reported that the Government testing of the piping joint at Kai Ching Housing Estate Hong Kong had 50% Lead (Pb) content  (by mass or volume not reported) in the solder.

Kai Ching soldering material has 50% lead


Two samples of solder used in water pipes at a public housing estate in Kowloon City have been found to contain 50 percent lead. That was revealed by the Housing Director Stanley Ying following a Housing Authority’s meeting to discuss the water contamination scare. The Housing Secretary, Anthony Cheung, said the government will hold the chief contractor of Kai Ching estate accountable for the latest discovery. Professor Cheung has also announced the set-up of a 10-member committee to thoroughly review the work of the authority.


updated: 17 July 2015

The Hong Kong Standard reported on 17 July 2015 that the plumbing contractor at the centre of the Lead (Pb) scandal also recently completed a hospital project in Hong Kong (link).

However, in the report the plumber stated he was not responsible for the material, indeed this is common practice for large projects, the Main Contractor will purchase all materials (thereby avoiding the admin, handling, and profit earned by the sub-contractors) and then engaging sub-contractor(s) to provide the labour only.

Same material likely used in hospital

Amy Nip

Friday, July 17, 2015


The plumber singled out by officials in connection with the lead-contaminated water at two estates says the same materials have been used elsewhere including St Paul’s Hospital. Lam Tak-sum, the self-claimed employee of Ho Biu Kee Construction Engineering responsible for plumbing works at Kai Ching and Kwai Luen estates, said he is “90 percent sure” the same materials have been used on other projects. St Paul’s Hospital confirmed Ho Biu Kee was responsible for installing pipes in Block B, which is under construction. Pipes and soldering samples will be collected for checks, a spokesman said, and the builder will test water samples for lead. Hospital services are not affected.

Hong Kong Plumbing and Sanitary Ware Trade Association head Wong Kwok-keung said they have been unable to reach Ho Biu Kee bosses. According to the company registry, Ho Man-piu is the biggest shareholder of the firm. His registered address is in Jiangmen city, Guangdong.


As a licensed plumber, Lam said his primary responsibility is to guide the company through procedures set by the government on water works. He filled in all the forms and provided certificates to the authorities. Water samples from the estates were tested and he was given certificates by the authorities to prove work was in accordance with regulations. “I have done what I should. It [the presence of lead in pipe soldering] indicated there may be loopholes in the existing procedures, or that there is a problem with the supplier,” he said. “I am not responsible for the purchase of materials.” He felt wronged to be named by government officials. “The court has yet to rule I am guilty, but they have already made the ruling,” he said. Ho Biu Kee management refused to assist him, he said.

updated: 21 July 2015


The Government has reported excessive lead (Pb) found in one sample from the seven additional estates undergoing testing, and that now Housing estates completed after 2011 will now be included in the testing plan, RTHK reports (link):

The government has expanded its water testing for lead contamination to cover all public housing estates built after 2011. Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung said it will involve a total of 26,000 units from 12 estates. Checks at some public estates earlier this month had shown excessive lead in some drinking water, leading to hundreds of people having blood tests over fears they have been poisoned.


Meanwhile, authorities have finished testing samples from seven estates completed in 2013 or afterwards. It found one of the 370 samples contained an excessive amount of lead. The sample comes from a unit from Wing Cheong Estate in Shum Shui Po.

Updated: 21 July 2015

In the Hong Kong Standard (below) the report provides more detail, the sample from Wing Cheong Estate in Shum Shui Po was a Housing Authority area, with 14 microgram/litre reported.

20150721 hong kong standard lead water contamination

Interestingly, from the health perspective this scandal has revealed that Asia’s World City has limited a very capacity to conduct blood tests, only 300 per week, so thousands of worried residents may have to wait many weeks.

update: 22 July 2015

RTHK reports today (22 July 2015) that the Hong Kong government has released information about the Kai Ching estate residents, forty (40) people, including 27 children, have been identified with excessive levels of Lead (Pb) in their blood (link).

Forty residents of the Kai Ching Estate in Kowloon City have been found to have excessive amounts of lead in their blood.


The Health Secretary, Ko Wing-man, said 27 of them are children, and they will be taken to child assessment centres to gauge the impact on their health. The rest of them are lactating mothers.


They were among scores of people tested after lead was found to have contaminated some of the estate’s water supplies. Dr Ko stressed the lead levels were not very high, but said the Hospital Authority will adopt a range of follow-up actions.


These include expanding blood tests to include children who were under the age of six when they moved into either Kai Ching Estate, Phase 2 of Kwai Chung’s Kwai Luen Estate, or Wing Cheong Estate in Sham Shui Po. Dr Ko said the Hospital Authority will also increase the number of blood taking sessions and will consider buying more blood testing equipment or sending samples to laboratories abroad.

Whether this was caused by water piping, the fittings, the solder, the pre-fab work in China, the faucets, the culprit, is still unclear. Perhap residents should offer (just offer) Kai Ching water to the Government officials, Erin Brockovich style.

Updated: 29 July 2015

Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate is the next Hong Kong housing project to be identified with Lead (Pb) solder [link]. Earlier RTHK reported that Lead (Pb) was stopped in 2005.

Lead found in water pipes of one more estate


Lead has been found in the soldering material binding joints in water pipes at Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate, officials said. This brings the total number of public housing estates involved in the tainted tap water scare to four.

Latest tests also show that 23 residents from Kai Ching Estate have higher-than-normal levels of blood in their blood. They include 17 children, four breastfeeding mothers, a pregnant woman and a teenager. That’s in addition to the 40 residents that were earlier found to have the same problem.


The issue of lead-contaminated water emerged in June, after the Democratic Party showed that tap water samples from Kai Ching Estate in Kai Tak contained amounts of lead that exceeded World Health Organisation standards.

Samples from Kwai Luen Estate in Kwai Chung and Wing Cheong Estate in Sham Shui Po have also been tested and found to contain excessive levels of the heavy metal.

The government has continued investigating to see if more public estates are affected by the problem, and has arranged free blood tests for residents from the affected estates.


Updated: 3 August 2015

RTHK (link) the Lead (Pb) saga rumbles on, it now covers seven housing estates with excessive Lead (Pb) including:

  1. Kai Ching Estate, Kowloon City
  2. Kwai Luen Estate, Kwai Chung
  3. Wing Cheong Estate, Sham Shui Po
  4. Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate
  5. Tung Wui Estate, Wong Tai Sin
  6. Hung Hom Estate, Phase Two
  7. Shek Kip Mei Estate, Phase Two

Lead-tainted water found in three more [Hong Kong Housing] estates


The government has found that tap-water samples from three more public housing estates contain excessive levels of lead, taking the total number of affected estates to seven.

Twenty-five out of 183 tap water samples from Tung Wui Estate in Wong Tai Sin, Hung Hom Estate Phase Two, and Phase Two of Shek Kip Mei Estate contained excessive lead. The government also said the heavy metal was also found in some soldering material in the plumbing systems of the affected estates.


The Housing Secretary, Anthony Cheung, said contingency measures will be put in place to make sure residents have access to safe drinking water. He also said blood tests will also be conducted for high-risk individuals, such as children or pregnant women, who live in the affected estates.

Construction of the three estates was completed between 2011 and 2012. Cheung said the government is still awaiting results on tests for five more estates completed within the same period. He said the authorities will also collect water samples from all public estates built between 2005 and 2010, and hope to finish the testing process within two months.


unintended consequences

We are all hindered by unintended consequences, Sweden one might argue a global leader for harvesting leftover heat was hamstrung by the law which prevented other suppliers accessing the district heating grid, but that changed when a law was passed last year that allows outside suppliers to deliver heat through the district heating grid. Now the town of Kiruna in northern Sweden can use waste heat from their local industry to cheaply heat homes, a neat solution when the mercury hits -30 Deg C in winter. Details are scare in the Guardian article [1] however using waste heat whether from industry or power generation are cost effective when the distance (which equates to heat lost) between the source and end-user is not great. Less commonly known is that waste heat can be used in the tropics to drive cooling. Low grade waste heat energy, often dumped in rivers or the sea, can be used to change concentration of liquids with salt, e.g. lithium bromide causing cooling, which in turn maybe used to create chilled water for comfort cooling.

Image credit: http://cipco.apogee.net/ces/library/graphic/c00093.gif

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/may/01/leftover-industrial-heat-to-warm-swedens-chilly-northern-city

Hong Kong Baptist Hospital Legionella Discovered April 2015

Legionella Risk assessment Hong Kong

A 60 year male patient attending Hong Kong Baptist Hospital (HKBH) contracted a nosocomial infection, the potentially fatal Legionnaires Disease (LD). After the patient was diagnosed, EMSD sampled from both his home and the hospital. His home was negative, but the hospital water supply tested positive, four samples with Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 (Lp1) with 0.3 to 2.3 colony-forming units per millilitre (cfu/ml) reported. {1}.

Remember the infectious dose for LD is still unknown, but could be as little as 1 cfu based on a case where Legionella was contracted 6 km away from the source.

The HKBH fresh (potable) water tank was reported negative for Lp1. Since the fresh water tank in an ‘occupied’ hospital would typically have a high turnover, a negative result would be expected because there is little risk of stagnant water. Therefore, in this case the root cause must be within the water distribution piping.

Interestedly, three environment swabs, collected from HKBH, also tested positive for Lp1, but as usual no details were reported. We can only speculate these could be swabs from surfaces in and around the shower and toilets areas.

Approximately month after first exposure, around 4 April 2015, it is reported that the EMSD visited the site today, presumably the date of the government press release 5 May 2015 {1} , recommending I quote ‘….disinfection of the relevant water system.’ amongst other measures. The number of patients who may have been exposed to the risk of contracting Legionella during that month is unknown, and attempting to disinfect the water system in a working hospital full of patients will be a challenge. In the report there is no mention of any earlier risk assessment.

This case is particularly troubling because Legionnaires Disease (LD) was contracted in the hospital environment, and it seems from the report that approx. one month lapsed between infection and disinfection.

[1] http://www.chp.gov.hk/en/view_content/39502.html

New York City, USA has banned styrofoam


The administration of New York City, USA has provided environmental leadership banning single use Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) also known as Styrofoam, including loose fill   ‘peanuts’ used for packing, beginning on 1 July 2015, but a concession, a six month grace period, will be granted so the law and fines will be effective from 1 January 2016.

It will save about 30,000 tonnes, normally sent to landfill, which is a staggering saving. Here is the link: http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/016-15/de-blasio-administration-bans-single-use-styrofoam-products-new-york-city-beginning-july-1-2015

Will Hong Kong follow the NYC lead?

Building Water Quality Issues

hong kong quality water

Considering the water quality delivered to the tap, it is no wonder that Hong Kong people prefer bottled water, and boil water everyday.

Whilst the quality of our drinking water provided by our water utility (WSD) may reach world class standards, what comes out of the tap is a different matter. In my office the water (see photo above) is very poor indeed, would you drink it? And boiling all that water demands a lot energy, we are looking at approx. 9.28 MW everyday just to boil water. Improved plumbing systems, piping, tanks, coupled with mandatory maintenance are required to rebuild the confidence to use the potable water provided.

Typically one main water storage water tank is provided in high rise buildings with thousands of residents. The building owner or operator may opt for a voluntary scheme, operated by WSD, known as the Quality Water Recognition Scheme for Buildings (QWRSB). Of course, that requires interrupting the occupants water service to conduct the necessary maintenance and tank cleansing work.

BEAM Interiors Assessment Fee waived for NGO’s

Good news for NGO’s, the BEAM Plus Interiors assessment fee can be waived! The special offer is valid for a limited time (until 31 Dec. 2014) for upto five NGO’s projects, first-come-first-served, dont delay! gb_ideas


BEAM Plus Interiors, known locally as BI is the local rating tool for non-domestic, occupied spaces, specifically designed for office and retail premises, hotel rooms and function rooms, restaurants, and educational facilities. The tool has best practice criteria, and upto 100 points can be awarded for compliance.

Points & Awards

BI is a points based system, achieving the specific goals set out in the BI Manual earns more points, it is that easy. Earn 75 points to achieve the top award Platinum!

Free Manual

The BI manual is FREE, visit the BSL website to download your own copy today!


The BEAM BI manual is sub-divided into different sections known as categories for convenience,  grouping credits with a common theme together, the categories include:

  1. Green Building Attributes (GBA)
  2. Management (MAN)
  3. Materials Aspects (MA)
  4. Energy Use (EU)
  5. Water Use (WU)
  6. Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)
  7. Innovations (IV)


Built on local consensus, indeed a lot has changed since the first BI draft, thanks to the contributions of the local community. The draft BI was examined and scrutinised  by 100+ Hong Kong building Professionals from the local institutions, through two workshops, and then followed with a three month long PUBLIC consultation period (April 2013-July 2013). Indeed the process is really one of built-in continuous refinement, the BI manual has a page designed to submit your comments.


For projects upto 999 sqm (internal floor area) Applicants should fulfil the following three conditions which are simultaneously met:

(a) the building owner is a charitable organisation/Non-government organisations/Non-profit organisations; (b) the building owner does not receive other sources of fund to cover the expense of that assessment fee; and (c) the building is not built for generating commercial income;

Meanwhile, applicants should demonstrate the following criteria:

  1. Help deliver and project a symbolic image and word of mouth of BI.

  2. Demonstrate their strong commitment in pursuing green.

  3. Have good and established reputation in the market.

  4. Go in line with BSL’s mission and vision.

  5. Wish to pursue green but suffering and limited to a stringent budget.

  6. The project is of high profile capable of attracting the attention of the public

visit www.beamsociety.org.hk for more information

In the event of any dispute, the decision of BSL is final. Don’t delay, contact the BEAM office directly to obtain the application form, apply for BI Fee waiver!

Maintenance Green Wall or Green Wash

by John Herbert
Hong Kong’s urban landscape is harsh, concrete won that battle long ago. However to increase the greenery area the vertical green wall concept is often used to supplement the missing green lawn, but as this video clip shows, your green wall might be burning more diesel fuel than you thought….

We need to spend more time, and money, not less, to properly designing our buildings and landscaping areas. Of course this idea is not limited to green walls, continuous honing and refining is required for buildings too. Here is an example, the BMS (Building Management System) often touted as the saviour for building managers, set and forget.

Yet after the BMS installation in a Hong Kong commercial building, the energy consumption and energy bills actually increased! Yes, it demonstrates that the system was not commissioned correctly, and after the BMS provided the solution, nobody was minding the store, nobody monitored the energy consumption. Often People assume that because the computer is handling it, it must be ok. However, in reality the data shows the operating cost and carbon emissions increased. I don’t need to visit this building to know there are problems, the data shows the problem.


BEAM Project Boundary

by John A. Herbert

Under BEAM new building, as the building developer you choose the BEAM project boundary, normally it is automatic, the project boundary will be the lot (site) boundary under your control. However, where the new building is located on a larger site, for example on an existing campus, extreme care is required, because the project boundary is fixed and cannot be changed in the future. The building developer needs to plan and designate a realistic project boundary, again, based on the area under 100% control of that project. Randomly shaped project boundaries that don’t follow the lot boundary, or follow the natural terrain, and natural site features, might be problematic. Plan ahead.

Airing your clean laundry

by John A. Herbert

It was beautiful weather today, it was hot, so hot in fact that the Hong Kong Observatory promulgated the Very Hot Weather warning, a glorious day indeed for drying your laundry in the sunshine, alas not in Hong Kong. Building and estate managers, for reasons unknown, actively prohibit carbon free laundry drying, stainless prohibition signs litter the site, proclaiming no drying. Perhaps they deem it to be ugly? but enterprising hongkongers hang their duvets, sheets, and bedding just outside the estate officers influence and control. This walkway (photo below) is a good example, just beyond the estate boundary, it doubles as a carbon free clothes drying area, beating the often lousy provisions provided at home and without burning fossil fuel. Is it time for a change of policy?


It is said, you’ll never find an architect visiting their finished project, but sustainable living, demands more time and energy devoted for more thoughtful design not less. Carbon free clothes drying isnt going to spark the revolution, but its a small step in the right direction.

diesel powered irrigation II

by John A. Herbert
Hong Kong, a diesel truck coasts along the fast lane of the highway (near MegaBox) to water the plants. It was a hot day, so spraying (misting) water into the air helps it evaporate easily wasting water.

At the same time the opportunity to use rainwater from the highway directly above is loss because it is piped and needlessly dumped into the common sewer system (Hong Kong has a single sewer and storm water sewerage system), there is a better way!

how public spaces make cities work – TED 2014 talk

Everyday we are bombarded with new advice to create smarter cities, mainly claiming some type of utopian solution, scaremongers point to the extra billion people that will live in the future cities and everybody is getting on the bandwagon. A recent presentation by an electrical switchgear company for claimed they would make your city smart! However, the common thread is that people are often missing from these tech solutions, no amount of software or hardware will enrich city living when there is no usable open space left.

This is a short TED inspiring talk, planners across Asia need to grasp and embrace before every square metre is covered by a bland concrete desert, compare your typical Hong Kong sitting out area (aka park) which is more like a prison yard surrounded by high fencing, with the new park in Manhattan, NY where the railing is wide enough for your work/lunch space, or the New York hi-line project, and you’ll get the picture.

sitting out area



Air Conditioning Leakage

by John A. Herbert

Spring has arrived, the humidity is increasing and air conditioning and their power consumption start in earnest.

Air conditioning systems rely upon converting electrical energy at the central chiller to chilled water, yet these veins, the chilled pipes are often hidden from view, deep inside the building behind locked plant room doors. The chilled water piping should deliver cold water from the chiller at approximately 7 deg. C to the AHU’s.

However, the photo above is a big problem, the chilled water piping is insulated, covered with vapour barrier, and finished with aluminium cladding. However, condensation is clearly visual and that equates to lost energy. If it not repaired the water wicks along the piping and thermal insulation, causing more condensation, increasingly wasting more energy.

To rectify the wet and damaged thermal insulation needs to be cut back and removed, piping cleaned and insulation replaced, and wrapped with a new vapour barrier, and re-clad. the new vapour barrier is key!! to prevent moist air contacting any surface, including the insulation, having a lower dew point temperature.

micro climate

micro climate

Trees can provide excellent solar shading, they are master eco-climate controllers. The natural shading is clearly seen on the exterior wall in the above photo, lowered the direct solar gain, but not diffuse solar gain. Plan ahead. Creating a beneficial micro-climate for a building, particularly near the entrance and or air intakes helping lower the building ventilation cooling load.