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


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. It is that smart and that simple.

don’t take my word for it

I am constantly amazed, I recently witnessed an expert speaker presenting a wonderful array of professional photographs explaining green office concept. One problem, the perimeter row of lighting fittings, although it was a sunny day with plenty of daylight, and speaker praising use the of daylight, the perimeter zone lights were on, a common problem. In another office photo, the lighting fittings sometimes called light boxes here, were clearly too close the wall, they were illuminating the top of the wall, pretty is not green, don’t take my word for it, you need independent review like BEAM Interiors.