Doing our part to reduce pollution – Clear The Air project plan for
The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong
AmCham Energy Audit program
Do you want results – now?
Turning the thermostat up one degree will save 3% on your energy bill and reduce the need to generate power from burning coal. Three more simple solutions are 1. Caulk, 2. Weatherstripping and 3. Demand Management.
Let’s start by doing our part to reduce pollution from electricity. Then take our experience and our new found education to our subsidiaries and suppliers in China.
Below are the steps following the best US management techniques to make sure the program is a success in both the short and long term – and is self sustaining.
Define the problem:
Do an energy audit with an internationally approved system like LEED Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (appendix A)
Make sure everyone involved is educated, from top management and the building facilities manager down to and including your subcontracted cleaning service.
Address staff psychological needs e.g. “cooler is healthier” – “wearing short sleeved shirts is immodest”.
Have the project team install the hardware, or just turn on the control systems that already exist. Show how the control systems work, move the office furniture for optimum air flow and work flow.
Show how the energy bill has changed. Show the changes in indoor air quality. Solicit feedback from the staff.
Display the savings real time in the office if possible. Report the results to top management, put it in the annual report, and send out a press release.
Did you get the result you expected? Start again at Define the Problem
Have a party – this is supposed to be fun !
Where to start:
1. The AmCham offices – an example of a – typical Grade A office space
2. The American Club – where so many AmCham members hold debentures and it is currently planning unaudited renovations – typical leisure facility with multiple retail functions like Food and Beverage.
Don’t overlook the psychological barriers to change
Getting staff buy-in is a fundamental US management principle. They can be your greatest ally or your biggest obstacle. Find out what worries them, solve their problem, address their concerns and you have a better chance at success.
Some common psychological barriers in Hong Kong
• Colder is healthier.
• I want to wear my nice winter clothes.
• I don’t like short sleeved shirts, they make me look skinny.
• I don’t like looking at men’s hairy arms in short sleeved shirts.
• I refuse to sweat.
• I need to set the thermostat to low so it will cool down faster.
• I need to cool off fast when I come indoors.
• I’ll get into trouble if I don’t leave the machine on.
• I don’t want to wait for the computer to boot up.
• Leaving just one machine on does not use that much energy
Ideally, setting your control systems correctly will actually improve the indoor climate and work environment for your employees so they will not notice any change. Instead they will feel better and breathe more easily at work.
All of these are real obstacles that need to be addressed to succeed. The way you do it can make or break your energy saving campaign.
Shave the Peak
At Hongkong Electric as soon as we use over 1,300 megawatts of energy they turn on their oldest, dirtiest coal turbines (see the graph below). The old ones pump out up to ten times the pollution because they have no pollution control equipment at all.
The goal is to “shave the peak” i.e. change habits to use electricity at non peak times – and keep those turbine turned off.
Do an Energy Audit to define the problem and find solutions. Use the best practices of a certification system like LEED to direct the project and ensure success. Educate the staff on any operational changes and get their buy-in. Implement the changes, measure the results and report them – to the staff, to top brass here and in the US. Have a beer bust. Give out “green stars”.
Clear The Air will – at no cost – help co-ordinate and advocate the process, and help you keep it on track.
Charirperson – Clear The Air
Can we do better, and if so, how?
All certification schemes tell you how well or how badly you are doing against a benchmark that is widely accepted. Some things you may not even know are even possible, let alone crucial. Others you would chalk up to common sense. The certification is to educate you on what is possible, and how well you are achieving it. LEED is the most widely recognized system in the US.
Here is an example of the checklist.
Frequently Asked Questions
LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System® is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings.
What is LEED for Commercial Interiors?
LEED for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI) addresses tenant improvement of spaces primarily in office, retail and institutional buildings. It is part of a comprehensive suite of LEED assessment tools under development by the USGBC to promote green design, construction, and operations practices in buildings nationwide. A companion rating system for Core & Shell developments (LEED-CS) is currently under development. Together, LEED-CI and LEED-CS will establish green building criteria for commercial office real estate for use by both developers and tenants.
I am trained as an interior designer and don’t have the training to handle the energy- and HVAC-related credits. What do I do?
Successful LEED projects begin with a fully integrated design team in which all the professional disciplines work together toward the project goals. While each needs to be aware of the other’s contributions and participate in the decision making, none can or will have the knowledge and experience to complete a project unassisted.
Can interior designers become LEED Accredited Professionals?
Yes. Anyone wishing to seek accreditation can sit for the exam.
What kind of things are analyzed?
Do you know that carbon monoxide monitoring to see what your air quality is like is important? Does your space, or your building even conform to the minimum energy performance benchmark? Have you ever heard of “thermal comfort”?
Here are two key categories of the LEED checklist