Smarter air-con use urged as poll shows one in three Hongkongers wakes up at night because of cold

Also, 40 per cent unaware of city’s energy efficiency scheme launched in 2009

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 September, 2017, 7:31pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 September, 2017, 9:53pm

Hongkongers are being urged to use their air conditioners more wisely after a survey revealed a third of respondents woke up in the middle of the night because the temperature was set too low and even more were unaware of an energy efficiency scheme launched nearly a decade ago.

The poll conducted last month by environmental group Green Sense involved 507 respondents in Central, Mong Kok, Sha Tin, Tai Po and Tuen Mun. It found almost half set their air-conditioning temperature below 24 degrees Celsius, despite years of government appeals that readings be maintained at 25.5 degrees to cut carbon emissions.

Gabrielle Ho Ka-Po, the group’s senior project manager, said more than 73 per cent of respondents turned on their air conditioner every day during summer and that 35 per cent claimed to have awakened in the middle of the night because the temperature was too cold.

“Their heat tolerance seems to be reduced as many heavily rely on air conditioners to cool down instead of seeking other low-carbon alternatives like electric fans,” she said.

Their heat tolerance seems to be reduced as many heavily rely on air conditioners
Gabrielle Ho, Green Sense

In 2009, the government introduced the Mandatory Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme, requiring electrical appliances to be labelled with an energy efficiency performance level. However, more than 40 per cent of the poll’s respondents claimed to have no knowledge of the levels of the air conditioners they used at home.

Green Sense senior project officer Szeto Pok-man called on officials to “encourage the public to buy air conditioners with level one energy efficiency”.

“It is key to saving energy, conserving the environment and lowering electricity bill costs.”

Ho added that the matter was “not just about money”.

“Even if air-conditioning bills were not expensive, the public should feel a social responsibility to protect the Earth of which they are a part,” she said.

Ho believed the public should learn to use air conditioners more wisely by wearing lighter clothing and adjusting temperatures to appropriate levels.

To raise public awareness about energy conservation, Green Sense plans to hold No Air-Con Night, for the eighth time, on September 29. Some 210 local primary and secondary schools and 187 companies and organisations are set to participate.