The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has won the 2016 Energy Project of the Year Award for the Asia Pacific Region, conferred by the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) in recognition of its project to upgrade the University’s central chiller plant into a district cooling system, which saves millions of dollars in costs and energy consumption.
Seawater-cooled central chilling was a pioneering technology which HKUST adopted since its early days to provide air-conditioning for its Academic Building. When the new eight-story Cheng Yu Tung Building (CYT) was under planning in 2012, the University decided to expand the capacity of the original plant, instead of building a new air cooling system, to maximize efficiency and reduce carbon footprint.
HKUST Vice-President for Administration and Business Mr Mark Hodgson is delighted about AEE’s recognition of the project - which has proven to significantly increase efficiency and is more environmentally friendly. “It is a testament to the University’s commitment to be a global leader in sustainability education and to put this vision into practice,” he said. “I am thankful to our colleagues and students for their concerted efforts in making HKUST a living laboratory demonstrating cutting-edge sustainability research and sustainable operations. The University will strive to meet the goals in reduction of energy, waste and greenhouse gases as pledged in the HKUST 2020 Sustainability Challenge.”
The remodeling is expected to save between 20 and 35 per cent of annual energy consumption at CYT and HK$1.5 million in operation and maintenance costs as no extra staff, spare parts, chemical treatment and contractor service are required. The upgrade, began since 2013 and completed in 2015, replaced three of the nine old chillers with new models that are 18 per cent more efficient. It helps save HK$7 million in capital cost which would have been needed in building a separate chiller plant for CYT. Waste heat from the plant’s condensing water is also reused for providing campus facilities with hot water.
The expanded system will also serve the new Multi-purpose Auditorium – which construction is due to complete in late 2018.
HKUST is the first institute to introduce energy-saving performance contract in Southeast Asia. Launched in 1997, the brand new concept at the time allows the University to share with the contractor any proceed from electricity tariff that the latter managed to cut. HKUST is also committed to reducing energy consumption by 10 per cent in 2020 over the base year of 2013/14.
About The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) (www.ust.hk) is a world-class research university that focuses on science, technology and business as well as humanities and social science. HKUST offers an international campus, and a holistic and interdisciplinary pedagogy to nurture well-rounded graduates with global vision, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking. HKUST attained the highest proportion of internationally excellent research work in the Research Assessment Exercise 2014 of Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee, and is the world’s second in the latest QS’ Top 50 under 50 ranking. Its graduates were ranked 13th worldwide and top in Greater China in Global Employability University Survey 2016.
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