Schools give air-con campaign cold shoulder

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 June, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 June, 2005, 12:00am

A campaign to reduce the use of air conditioners has attracted a lukewarm response from schools because many are near main roads and need to close their windows to shut out the noise, according to a green group.

Green Sense yesterday reported the progress of a campaign called 'Reducing 50,000,000 electricity units' that it launched about a year ago. The campaign requires participating schools to switch on their air conditioners only when the temperature reaches 26 degrees Celsius or above and to set the temperature between 23 and 25 degrees.

But only 42 of the city's 1,800 kindergartens, primary and secondary schools have joined the campaign. 'We found that those 42 schools which took part in our campaign are all situated near small roads or parks, not major roads,' the president of Green Sense, Tam Hoi-pong, said.

He believed some schools had not joined the campaign because they were near main roads and had to close all their windows because of the noise.

The group estimated that if the number of participating schools reached 300, 50 million electricity units could be saved annually - preventing the emission of about 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Baptist Rainbow Primary School, which joined the campaign last year, has cut the use of air conditioners since 2000, resulting in savings of more than $10,000 a year.

The green group yesterday kicked off another campaign called 'Wanting classrooms, not snow rooms', which encourages students to report schools to the group if they set temperatures too low.

Daniel Chan Wai-tin associate professor of Polytechnic University's department of building services engineering, who helps promote the campaign, said: 'The campaign is not just for saving energy and money; a classroom with a temperature too low will make students get ill more easily.'