The University of Hong Kong's new campus expansion has won the world's highest rating for energy efficiency and environmental sustainability in building design and operation - becoming one of only three universities worldwide to achieve the feat.
The HK$3.3 billion Centennial Campus expansion was built partly to make room for the higher number of students due to the revised four-year university curriculum. It boasts features such as vertical wind turbines, miniature solar panels and other renewable energy generators.
Its buildings use 30 per cent less energy than typical buildings and saves as much water per year as would fill 30 Olympic-sized swimming pools, earning it the platinum certification under the globally-recognised Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.
The two other universities with the same platinum rating are Wesleyan University and the University of Wyoming's Visual Arts Facility, both in the United States. In Hong Kong, only the Holiday Inn in SoHo has the same rating.
"When we had the opportunity to make use of the expertise among our faculty to develop innovative energy technologies, we took on the challenge.
" It's a university's role to take a leading role in dealing with a city's social responsibilities," said Professor John Malpas, the pro-vice-chancellor and vice-president (infrastructure), who led the Centennial Campus expansion.
But Malpas said the government also has a responsibility to support the use of smart energy technologies in the city.
"The government is willing to listen to good ideas, and gave us HK$1.8 million in funding for the project ... but it can go further. It should require that all public building works, including university and government buildings, must reach at least the silver rating in the LEED system," Malpas said.