Five schools received funds from China Light & Power (CLP) last year to carry out research on environmental protection and install machines to help conserve energy on campus.
The CLP Energy Innovation Fund, which was launched in 2003, has provided more than HK$3 million for a total of 28 projects so far.
Primary and secondary schools, universities and local companies which have devised innovative ways to promote efficient energy use were among the beneficiaries.
St Bonaventure Catholic School in Kowloon, which received more than HK$97,000 last year, bought a compost-making machine from Japan.
Students collect orange peels, egg shells and leftovers which are put into the machine to be turned into compost.
In contrast to natural processes which can take from six months to a year, the machine accelerates the decomposition of the waste and the fertiliser can be ready for use in three months.
A keen advocate of organic farming, the school has set aside a large plot for students to grow organic vegetables and fruits. Sixty students from the school take turns tending to the plants.
'Our little farmers are enthusiastic about growing organic food. They mix the compost and till the land themselves, and they get great satisfaction from the project. They will harvest the crops and take
them home for their own consumption,' said Mok Pui-wai, the environmental co-ordinator at the school.
Good Counsel Catholic Primary school received HK$42,000 under the scheme. The students there used the money to improve indoor ventilation, installing 14 solar panels in the podium to power the fans. 'Solar power is also used as fuel to drive the water heater on campus. The hot water is used for keeping our greenhouse warm,' said Eric Cheung Cheong-ming, the school's solar project manager.
With the 2005 projects yielding spectacular results, HK$1 million has been earmarked for next year to help students pursue their environmental causes.
A total of 87 schools have submitted their proposals and the winners will be announced soon.