Green group asks city to give aircon the flick
Following the success of the World Wide Fund for Nature's Earth Hour campaign, another environmental group is going one step further by asking the city to turn off air conditioning for a night.
Green Sense has enlisted the support of eight tertiary educational institutions and 10 corporations in their campaign to encourage students and staff to turn off their air conditioners for 12 hours from 7pm on September 29.
The tertiary institutions are the University of Hong Kong, Chinese University, University of Science and Technology, Polytechnic University, Baptist University, City University, Lingnan University and the Hong Kong Institute of Education. The corporations supporting the campaign include the Hong Kong and China Gas Company and Henderson Land Development.
Green Sense project manager Gabrielle Ho Ka-po said she expected about 600,000 residents from some 200,000 families as well as 5,000 university students would participate. Ho estimated that each family and student could save 5.6 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions by switching off their air conditioners for just eight hours.
She said the Hong Kong government had for years urged people to set air-conditioning thermostats at 25.5 degrees Celsius, but not all companies were following the recommendation.
'It is rather ridiculous in Hong Kong that we need to carry jackets during summer to prepare for the air-conditioning, which is set at a very low temperature,' she said.
Green Sense says air conditioning accounts for about 60 per cent of the city's electricity use during summer, or about 40 per cent for the whole year.
During a campaign at East Point City in Tseung Kwan O to promote a 'no conditioning' lifestyle, the environmental group appealed to people to use electrical fans instead of air conditioners and to keep cooler at night in the warmer months by sleeping on bamboo mattresses.
Those who insist on using air conditioners should buy energy-efficient ones to cut down on emissions, Ho said.