Nearly 200 schools have joined the Sixth Hong Kong Green School Award, pledging their support for energy conservation and waste reduction. Sponsored by Bank of China (Hong Kong) (BOCHK) and the government's Environment and Conservation Fund, the award enlists local schools to formulate conservation policies and foster a sense of caring for the environment among teachers and students. During last week's award ceremony, St Paul's Convent School, winner of last year's Fifth Green Award, was praised for its creative initiatives in energy conservation. Solar panels were installed in the Wan Chai school to generate electricity for classrooms. Students of the school also collected food leftovers which were made into organic compost. The school's tuck shop also stopped using styrofoam lunch boxes and gave out reusable plastic cutlery for students. Miss Cheng Hiu-man, the teacher in charge of the Environmental Society of the school, appreciated her students' green efforts. 'Three years ago, we required all students to set the temperature of air-conditioners at 25.5 degrees Celsius,' she said. 'At first, many students complained about the heat. Now, they switch off one of the two conditioners in classrooms of their own accord.' Mr Raymond Lee, chief financial officer of BOCHK, highlighted the important role played by local schools in conserving the environment. 'Future generations are entitled to enjoy earth resources comparable to what we have today. We sincerely hope that by instilling a love for nature in youngsters, the green message can be relayed from schools to families, communities and the society as a whole,' said Mr Lee. The theme of this year's award is 'Avoiding / Reducing Waste and Saving Energy'. A host of activities have been planned for participating schools, including 'Power Saving Action for Schools Campaign', a 'Green Lunch Campaign' and an 'Environmental Shopping Bag Design Competition'. Dr Sarah Liao Sau-tung, one of the officiating guests at the launching ceremony, said the green initiatives could prod environmentally-conscious students into action. 'For the power-saving campaign, those schools who consume the least electricity will be awarded a prize. Through the green lunch campaign and shopping bag design competition, we hope we can encourage local students to use recyclable lunch boxes and bags,' said Dr Liao.