Producer Responsibility Schemes

by John Herbert

Efforts to hold producers responsible for plastic containers overlooks the big picture, and the use of plastic in the whole supply chain.

Focusing on the end product, the plastic bottle waste avoids the vast quantities of waste used in the supply chain.

For distribution plastic bottles are bundled in a package, containing say 12 bottes, and then wrapped in plastic. These packages are bundled and distributed on shipping pallets, and these pallets are also typically wrapped in plastic. And here in Hong Kong, the trolley’s used to deliver goods to the supermarkets are also wrapped in plastic.

Placing the focus and responsibility back on the producer for containers must be welcome, but don’t think that will solve plastic pollution, it is one part of the overall whole picture.

A recent video published by the BBC demonstrated that the innocent tea bag used by some companies also use plastic! Here is a link to the video: https://fb.watch/4ZWZyE3LJQ/

#plasticwaste #pollution #oceanpollution #plasticpollution #microplastic #hongkong

Sick Buildings means….

COVID19 has exposed another weakness, its buildings! Several buildings have INTERNAL path for infection of the buildings residents.

COVID19 cases associated with Richland Gardens Block 6

Since February 2020 COVID19 infection has been found to be spreading within buildings, to apartments on different floors of the same building. Frankly, it has reached epidemic proportions in the public housing sector, every CHP press conference implicates more and more buildings. tracking sick building link http://www.kelcroft.com.hk/sbs.htm

Body Shop Refils

The Body Shop (in the UK) originally started the idea for a store offering refills for customers’ containers. For example, if you need moisture, you take empty bottle/containers to Body Shop they refill it, avoiding excessive packaging, and the resulting negative impacts on the environmental.

If the Government had tightly regulated waste, more businesses would have embraced that model, and I am willing to bet that the Plastic Sea films and videos wouldn’t exist today. Alas its too late now.

Then The Body Shop dropped the whole eco-friendly model, it changed to selling products in single-use plastic containers, the same as every other store.

So what is the point, you’re thinking, it seems that the refillable container concept is making a comeback. We even have an ecostore in Hong Kong with refill station!

credit: ecostore facebook page

I also read that a new type of store opened in Birmingham (UK), the Cleankilo, it is taking the concept farther than cosmetics, it is an entire supermarket, with a range of products following the refillable concept, it is worth visiting their website https://www.thecleankilo.co.uk/

I have said it a million times, and it bears repeating Prevention is better than the cure.

Preventing companies from creating plastic waste, and preventing consumers (that’s you and me) from dumping plastic waste avoids bits of plastic in the ocean and in fish and chips supper will be plastic-free too.

It is far cheaper to prevent pollution than paying the environmental and social costs for cleaning up afterward.

Leaving cash on the energy efficiency table

Hong Kong Electric (HEC) and China Light & Power (CLP) will provide up to 50% of project cost for replacing communal services in buildings with energy efficient plant and equipment.

Yes, that’s right, they are willing to fund Capital investment in Hong Kong buildings, each fund is capped, depending on the exact project details.

http://www.kelcroft.com.hk/clp-energy-power-fund.htm

These funds can be used to replace or upgrade the existing lifts, escalators, water pumps, air conditioning, and lighting in the common areas of residential and commercial buildings.

It is a no brainer, a part of the capital cost is provided as a rebate to the building owner/management after the work is completed, then tenants enjoy a capital cost savings and lower energy bills going forward. You know that small business energy supply usave to create a more environment friendly workplace.

The scheme documentation is somewhat obtuse (HEC smart power fund) and (CLP Eco building fund) require the building owner/management to hire Registered Energy Assessor (REA) to submit the energy saving calculations for “committee” review, but there is no obvious energy-saving target, would 2% PA energy-saving qualify or do they require 10% energy saving? its unclear. In addition, the HEC website also offers opportunities to obtain a loan too!

http://www.kelcroft.com.hk/hke-energy-power-fund.htm

CLP Eco building fund

Greening Existing Buildings

Improving the energy efficiency of the existing building stock is a priority, excluding government buildings, there are approx. 42,000 buildings in Hong Kong that desperately need energy efficiency improvement.

These funds subsidise part of the capital cost (CapEx) and simultaneously lowering the long term energy bills and lower operating expenses (OPex) for tenant/owner of the building.

These funds do not subsidise the whole capital cost, only a part of it, but that’s better than no subsidy.

Protection for these newer forms of energy is essential. Let’s look at this for further details.

sponsored by :
http://www.kelcroft.com.hk/hke-energy-power-fund.htm

Energy and PPT 2019

the latest version of the EMSD building energy code BEC 2018 came into effect in May 2019 with margin improvements over the 2015 version, here is a summary comparison http://www.kelcroft.com.hk/energy-rea-bec-2015vs2018.htm

Yes, it does have tougher criteria but at the end of the day it’s still just a list of technical requirements, if you own the best chiller in the world, but operate it badly, it will still comply with the building energy code. read my latest energy audit PPT

sponsored by KCE

Bypassing Government

It is increasingly apparent that administrators across the globe have the same playbook, in the event of a potential crisis, the first step is denial denial denial, event’s in Flint Michigan and closer to home in Hong Kong Public Housing estates exposed us to water contaminated with Lead (Pb) , and both authorities denied it. Private citizens were forced to present laboratory reports to officials, and some still denied the obvious fact.

In Hong Kong, the conservative water authority (WSD) started issuing bulletin after bulletin, but ultimately missing the point I fear. After completion, WSD will never willingly step inside the estate, as they often remind us, their responsibility ends at the site boundary. And inside the boundary, yes the works must comply with the regulations, but its down to the developer. So back to Public Housing, the flat is handed over to the new tenant, with what can only be described as bog-standard fittings, and a visit to the local hardware store is in order, to buy new taps and fittings, and without any import restrictions, every type and model is on display whether certified or not.

With years of experience behind us, have we learnt from the past, not really, the difference is that even your kids know it. Young adults globally have been vocal expressing alarm unhappy with the administrator’s response to climate change. And recent warnings that we have 10-12 years left has not shaken the establishment.

Certainly, some countries are moving forward, but remember the hole in the ozone layer, it needed everyone to be involved, and fully committed, but here are, mid-2019, and there is still no plan. In the United Kingdom authorities are under pressure to recognize the issue and declare a state of emergency, but really that does not help, in a world where China and USA are not on-board. The people, it seems are seriously concerned about sustainability, but not their politicians. Therefore businesses react to the loudest consumers, with often token efforts. the Plastic tonnage in your oceans will not be impacted because a few plastic straws were taken off the counter, look at the scale of plastic pollution and it becomes apparent. Government inaction has also sparked communities to act, with city mayors trying to coordinate their efforts to tackle to climate change, and has that delivered deep carbon emission cuts required? Probably not.

In Hong Kong, the carbon emissions from buildings continue to increase, the latest EMSD data (latest data is 2016) reported building carbon emissions are still increasing, that was caused by us, you and me, using more energy, not the Government. Equally, it’s unsurprising, every year the number of buildings increases, using more energy.

Do nothing and wait is one strategy, waiting for the authorities to finally bite the bullet, create a plan, and implement it might be the ideal, but by then maybe too little too late.

sponsored by commissioning consultant

Hong Kong Energy Audit Data 2018

EMSD Energy Audit data from EMSD public website) mapped to google maps, any data errors call EMSD.

The Energy audit results provide a data set showing energy use for hong kong buildings, and the flaws in the system.

The data contains a mix of different building types, including commerial buildings, car park buildings, and combinations, which skews the results, and hiding the real EUI. 

sponsored by E&M consultant

we dont believe you

An online survey by SCMP tells the whole story, we don’t believe you, we don’t believe those flashy slogans corporations are selling. It’s part of the endless assault, trying to persuade us that corporations, particularly large corporations are great and green.

wasting energy lighting

82% (so far) believe corporate sustainability is just a slogan, that’s a shocking indictment of Hong Kong’s corporates in the sustainability stakes. But why? Perhaps there is a simple answer, the Hong Kong public are not so gullible, they do not believe the hype, or those glossy awards, from the trenches we see the real world every day.

We see and believe, and all the hype, is just hype.

#redefiningHK #sustainability #dontbelieveyou

sponsored by green building consultant

Hong Kong Renewable Energy Feed In Tariff

zero carbon building hong kong

Hong Kong utilities will be paying you for renewable energy (RE) electricity supplied to the grid, the a new feed-in tariff offers RE system owners HK$5 / kwh for small systems (upto 10 kw) , HK$4 / kwh for medium size systems (upto 200 kw) , and HK$3 / kwh for large installations (upto 1 Mw),

And could be attractive compared to the present electricity tariff , approx HK$ 1 / kwh on Kowloon side, and HK$ 1.3 / kwh on Hong Kong Island.

Under this scheme, ALL the power generated from the RE system must be fed into the grid, it’s not for self-use, that means the owner will have two utility accounts, a traditional account for paying electricity used, and this new RE account for the RE installation and any power generated fed into the grid.

It is a u-turn for CLP, its executive director Mr Chow stated in June 2015 ( read SCMP report ) that it was not worth connecting to the utility grid even with a feed in tariff.

 

sponsored by energy audit consultant

last large coal-fired power plant in Beijing closed by John Herbert

by John Herbert

Great news from Beijing, China, mark your diary, on 20 March 2017, RTHK (www.rthk.org.hk) reported that “….the last large coal-fired power plant in Beijing has suspended operations, with the city’s electricity now generated by natural gas” LINK: http://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1320043-20170319.htm Meanwhile here in Asia’s World city, burning coal for power generation continues.

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LPD exempt

The Hong Kong Building Energy Code version 2012 rev1 and 2015 Lighting Power Density (LPD) requirement does NOT apply where the room lighting load does not exceed 100 watt (2012 rev1 page 13) and 70 watt  (2015 page 14) respectively.

2015-lpd 2012-lpd

by implication the target is the TOTAL power (lighting and control gear).  So what does that mean? for BEC 2015, it means a store room with total power is less than 70w you are not required to comply with the 9w/sqm LPD or the lighting control requirement.

by John Herbert

sponsored by lighting consultant

autodesk autocad 2017 review

autodesk 2017

my screenshot — waiting for AutoCad to load

Testing Autodesk Autocad 2017

Autocad 2017 follows the now annoying and traditional model, frequent incremental updates to extract the most money from users as possible. This latest version, takes longer to load than I can bear, and adds little functionality over the 2000 version, it should be better but sadly it is not.

Sure there are some minor incremental improvements, but nothing to write home about. In my world which is essentially 2D drafting, useful features are now hidden, requiring time consuming research for the 2017 version.

If you are a CAD user you know that screen real estate is important for productivity, the more you can see on the screen, the more you can do without wasting time zooming, right! But the new 2017 out of the box, wastes that real estate with enormous icons across the top of the screen. those are valuable pixels we need for work! there must be some way to switch to text, but research is needed to fix it, and I don’t have the time to go hunting for solutions. To me it proves that Autodesk is not serious, beginners will find the huge icon useful I guess, but I have been using Autocad for more than 20 years, I have my own shortcuts, to suit my work and I bet other users have the same set up, But every time Autodesk issue a new version I have to track down and edit the .pgp file.

Soon 2018 version will be issued, an architect somewhere will use it, forcing the rest of the design team to follow suit. Perhaps it is time to add an extra clause in the fee agreement to cover the cost for these incessant and largely unnecessary upgrades. Autocad block handling has never caught up to users real needs, perhaps by version 2020 they will catch up and understand some BASIC drafting needs, but don’t hold your breath.

GHG inventory emissions rising by John A. Herbert

by John A. Herbert
wasting energy lighting

GHG inventory emissions rising

Since 2000 Hong Kong installed approximately 9000 (wet) cooling towers according to EMSD, these provide heat rejection for comfort air conditioning, it follows the HKSAR Government policy to reduce energy consumption by 1,360 million kWh, and resultant greenhouse gas emissions by 950,000 tonnes annually[1].

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reflective white roof more effective than lawn for greening existing buildings by John A. Herbert

Commonsense really…..

reflectA reflective white roof is more effective than lawn for greening existing buildings, here is a link to my article published on LinkedIn https://t.co/H8SyyavhHU

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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!

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

BEC Chairman Mr John Chai presents carbon certificate to John A. Herbert at enviroseries conference on 18 May 2015

John A. Herbert at enviroseries conference on 18 May 2015.

BEC Chairman Mr John Chai presents carbon certificate to John A. Herbert at enviroseries conference on 18 May 2015.