About John A. Herbert, BEAM Professional, BEAM Interiors, FCIPHE, MASHRAE, REA, GGP

John Herbert is a career engineer, he is a Director at Kelcroft an engineering firm, director at energyLAB energy saving consultants, director of HAESCO and BEAM Society Limited. He is also a BEAM Professional, Green Globes Professional, and Registered Energy Assessor (REA).

Sustainability….where to start?

Do one thing….

Trying to do the “right thing” can seem somewhat overwhelming, sustainability has countless facets, we face too many issues where to start? You can’t change the whole world overnight right! One approach that works, pick ONE thing.

Focus on that single issue, overtime it will become second nature, once the habit is formed, then you can tackle the next topic. For me switching from canned shaving foam means the metal can, and propellent gas impacts are averted. Pick one thing!

deadleg, the hot water type

hot water dead leg dead leg, John A Herbert

Reducing Waste Water

by John A. Herbert

The first time you open the hot tap or your shower you have to wait some time for hot water to arrive, during that waiting time the unwanted cold or tepid water is lost to the drain, obviously this occurs because the water inside the water pipe, between the water heater and tap is cold (the deadleg).

To reduce that waste water, the length of dead leg (green) should be as short as possible, for a 22 mm pipe, every linear metre of pipe contains about 0.32 litres of cold water.

In extreme cases the dead leg could be 10 metres in length, that equates to approx. 3.2 litres of waste water every day, or 1168 litres per year wasted.

Now that might not seem to be huge amount of water, but if you multiply that by 3,000,000 households in Hong Kong, you get the idea.

In Hong Kong apartments the length of hot water dead leg pipe is typically quite short because individual water heaters are mainly used, but not always. Presently there is no legislation in Hong Kong governing the maximum length of the hot water dead leg, whereas overseas in United kingdom for example, it is specified.

BSRIA Legionella Guidance 2015

BSRIA legionella guide cover 2015

BSRIA legionella guide 2015

BSRIA has published a FREE Legionella topic guide in PDF format here is the (LINK) to download from the BSRIA website.

In fact I had the pleasure of meeting BSRIA’s Tom Jones during his recent trip to Hong Kong in October 2015.

John A. Herbert

Mr John A. Herbert (left) and Tom Jones at Eco Expo Asia Hong Kong 2015

BSRIA has also published a topic guide for building air tightness (LINK) to download from the BSRIA website.

by John A. Herbert

 

Sustainability and Sustainable building means making use of existing resources

MADE IN HONG KONG

The most sustainable option for our buildings would be to make use of existing building stock, we find (thanks to the Hong Kong audit department) a gift – Hong Kong has schools which have been vacated, some vacated for many years, that have not been returned to Government, idle they serve not purpose, but they are an invaluable resource. the work has been done they have been built, they have infrastructure (water/drainage/power) and often very good links to public transport links.

app-lab-600w

Sustainable Thinking Today

These vacant idle buildings can immediately be opened and put to good use, I can imagine several solutions, that meet society needs today:

  1. Small Business Incubator, think PMQ++ there countless classrooms available, offer low rent office/workshops (lower density than classrooms). Common rooms to be used as collaboration space, think tanks spaces, like the common areas at Google. If the school has metal workshop, craftsmen can create, or teach. Learning from PMQ businesses that merely sell imported products add no value, and would be excluded.
  2. The Hong Kong Government has created an Innovation fund, but there is little affordable space to innovate, launch appLAB – a building provide low rent space for firms creating software applications (apps), games, etc. a real innovation laboratory for Hong Kong residents. Firms surely face common problems, whether it is business administration, HR, accounting, finance, etc. collaboration areas help and allow sharing ideas and finding solutions to common problems.
  3. Schools are often located far from the CBD, and community space is rare, these building can be used with little alteration for yoga, dance, creating a truly community space for drama, the arts, these are necessary.
  4. If a building has been abandoned for so long that it needs repair use it as training ground ground have CITA trainees, giving them real world experience.

These would short term plans, no long leases, this does not need to be lifetime commitment, these existing buildings can be used today! and contribute to society sustainability, over in short term, because Government will need time to figure out how to deal the land in the long term. Of course, Government being government they will immediately say No, I can imagine the countless excuses, but they might, just might, say Yes.

 

E-Bus for Hong Kong? Not soon Enough

Hong Kong may have a new electric bus, sooner than you think. The new vehicle was spotted around town last week, outside HKPC in Kowloon Tong, and at the Eco Asia Expo 2015 exhibition.

Left to Right: Simon Cheung (China Dynamics), Lyndia Hui (Green Council) and John A. Herbert (HAESCO)

Left to Right: Mr Simon Cheung (China Dynamics), Ms Linda Ho (Green Council CEO) and John A. Herbert

Considering Hong Kong’s small area, this E-Bus must be killer app for Hong Kong’s urban pollution problems. I understand that many argue against EV’s because the rational is that EV’s merely move the pollution problem from our lungs to the distant electricity generating stations, and they claim that is a problem?

Repeated studies have shown the pollution at street level is often intolerable with excess PM2.5 PM10 and NOX. (nitrogen oxides). However, these power generating stations already have pollution control measures in place, and are discharged far from the lungs of busy pedestrians presently dodging the fumes in Central.

Burning diesel at street level should be a crime nowadays! Now we know, the diesel combustion (petroleum diesel not bio diesel) process the combustion is incomplete, and creates tiny microscopic soot particles, they are so small they are easily inhaled, hence the grave concern over particulates in the PM2.5-10 range. Hong Kong’s EPD in fact publish the monitoring data:
http://www.epd.gov.hk/epd/english/environmentinhk/air/data/air_data.html

Screenshot - EPD Pollution Monitoring Data

Screenshot – EPD Pollution Monitoring Data

And the source of those PM2.5 and PM10 particulates? the overwhelming majority are created by diesel engine discharged at lung (street) level. Furthermore, I understand that the E-Bus creators (designed in Hong Kong!) have useful applications in mind for the ‘used’ batteries, to avoid creating another waste problem dealing with spent batteries. I had a tour, inside it looks like every other Hong Kong bus, in fact you would find it hard to distinguish between the diesel  version, except for the tailpipe.

Another sustainability perspective to consider, beside being conceived and designed in Hong Kong, it is manufactured close to home, avoiding the related emissions caused from importing buses from Europe which I understand is the usual practice.

Let us hope it is on the road, here in Hong Kong, sooner rather than later. One of Hong Kong’s key selling points must be the fantastic low cost, public transport system, but can it be improved? Of course, there is always room for improvement, as Paul Zimmerman points out, there are water taxi’s and ferries that would improve connectivity across the harbour, however the Hong Kong public transport system is one that many cities envy.

Hong Kong’s E-Bus was also featured by RTHK 

e-bus hong kong hkpc by RTHK

credit: RTHK

short link: bit.ly/hongkong-ebus

by John A. Herbert

Solar Powered Copper Mining Australia

Sandfire a copper mining operation in Australia is leading the way with a new $40 million solar farm to power its distant mining operations, far from the grid.

Presently the DeGrussa Copper-Gold Mine, located 900km north-east of Perth in Western Australia, uses diesel for power generation, and the company reports outstanding energy and environmental savings will be achieved using the solar farm to generate power, Carbon dioxide emissions are estimated to be reduced by 12,000 tonnes a year.

The project will comprise 34,080 solar panels covering 20 hectares , combined with 6MW of short-term battery storage to provide peak power for the mining operation by being integrated with existing base-load 19MW diesel-fired power station.

  1. www.sandfire.com.au
  2. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/sandfire-resources-to-build-40m-solar-plant-at-wa-copper-mine/story-e6frg9df-1227442418507
  3. http://www.mining-technology.com/news/newssandfire-resources-build-solar-plant-support-degrussa-copper-mine-operation-australia-4623549

 

Productivity where are thou

Improving productivity is one of those subjective areas that rarely attracts much attention, studies show that comfort conditions are critical, is it a key part of the goals for a green building, for productively.

Where the people feel their work environment is too hot, too cold, too dry or too wet, productivity drops, and in Hong Kong it is a real issue since most buildings have no winter heating.

A recent survey, by a software company, supports the notion that your workers are dissatisfaction with environmental conditions, and that in turn impacts the productivity of your business.

More detailed than other studies, this survey covers different genders, and different seasons. One finding is stands out immediately the report states 10% of staff are totally dissatisfied.

Whilst this will not be surprising to Building Services engineers who are taught that engineering systems can only satisfy 80% of the occupants in room, It is time to challenge those empirical tests, when we have better options, underfloor distribution, and smart phone computers in our pockets.

However, visit any modern building and you will still find the room sensors in odd positions, often outside the occupied zone, this strategy only provides the general/average room condition (often near the ceiling) not the conditions where the people are working.

sensors-2

Hotel function rooms have sensors located 6m above the occupants, so the HVAC system is working hard to main the conditions for the ceiling zone not the people zone. Also lighting fittings, hand dryers, etc. which act as localized heaters, installed beneath sensors influencing the room conditions.

by John. A. Herbert

Efficiency Vs Death

Everyday in China approx. 4,000 people die as a result of air pollution [1,2,3] – that is staggering!

The report suggests the link with pollution discharged from Coal fired power plants the predominant means for power generation, although the number of vehicles on the roads is also growing rapidly that in turn creates increased roadside pollution.

Improving energy efficiency reduces energy consumption, energy costs, and will save lives! It is a no brainer, yet many firms will not consider improving energy efficiency.

Links:

  1. http://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1205026-20150814.htm
  2. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/14/air-pollution-in-china-is-killing-4000-people-every-day-a-new-study-finds
  3. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-13/china-air-pollution-kills-4-000-people-a-day-researchers